DICK Clegg Mark One Sensas completed a staggering rise to the to when they captured the Embassy Division
Two National Championship on the Boston Drains on Saturday (July 6).
And fireman Steve Bontoft blazed his way to a £2,827 payday when he won the coveted Individual title with 14.510 kg
from the Sibsey Trader at Stone Bridge. Unfortunately, Bontoft, a 34-year-old from Winterton, near Scunthorpe,
couldn’t enjoy a victory drink as he was “on call” at work from 10pm on the night of the match!
Dick Clegg Mark One Sensas were in Division Five four years ago but now, with two gold Team medals and a
silver and four successive promotions, they will be scrapping it out with the big boys of Division One in 2003!
Their outstanding record reads: 1999 – Division Five, gold medal; 2000 – Division Four, silver medal; 2001 – Division Two,
ninth; 2002 – Division Two, gold medal. In a demanding but even match, Mark One, who are based at nearby
Wisbech, even managed to overcome a dry net to claim victory with 501 points – 21 points clear of runners-up
Mark One skipper John Bates and his squad, who collected £1,134 from the Team pools, celebrated long into
the night with Bates, a 32-year-old from Walsoken, near Wisbech, saying: “To reach Division One in four years
is just unbelievable. We went into all four Nationals hoping to get promotion but to also win two gold medals
and a silver is fantastic. Now let’s see what we can do in Division One – we have got a really good squad and
we can’t wait to fish in the top flight next season.”
Bookmaker Billy Knott didn’t take any bets on the Team event because there were only 57 sides taking part but
he said: “Mark One would have been my favourites for the trophy.”
Skipper Bates added: “Our tactics were to go for small fish at five metres on the Hobhole Drain and at seven
metres on the Sibsey Trader and then to look for a bonus fish at six metres on the Drain and for bream and
tench at 14 metres on the Trader. Alistair Ogilvie has been a great signing for us – he joined us about 18
months ago and he really knows the Boston Drains well.”
And in Ray Malle, a 38-year-old coal merchant from Terrington St John, nr King’s Lynn, Mark One also had the third
Individual. Malle, who has only been with the club this year, landed four bream in the last 90 minutes to go
with the 1.4 kg of small fish that he took earlier in the match for a total weight of 8.900 kg.
Malle, who pocketed £1,732 from peg K6, five pegs away from the winner, said: “I was getting a lot of line
bites but the bream didn’t settle until the last 90 minutes and then I had four in four casts with worm on the
feeder. I have only just joined Mark One and to come third in the Individual and go up to Division One as
champions has been brilliant. I also took a few bob off bookmaker Billy Knott – that felt good after all the money I have given
him over the years.”
The other big points scorers for Mark One were skipper John Bates who was second in C Section, his brother
Bob Bates who was seventh in L Section and Hans Schunmann who came home fifth in A Section.
The man sweating it out for Mark One was Sean Wright who lost one small fish and finished with a dry net in E
Section on the Hobhole Drain. Wright said: “I thought I had cost us the title – I was so relieved when they
announced the results.”
The big weights that had been hoped for failed to materialise with local experts reckoning the Drains will really
start fishing well in the next few weeks. There were plenty of small fish but the big bream shoals failed to feed consistently.
The silver medals in the Team event went to Team Bawtry with 480 points after they put in four days solid
practice and received spot-on advice from local ace Mick Stamp (Harlequins). Bawtry skipper Dale Murten,
a 33-year-old from Finningley, near Doncaster, said: “Mick Stamp was a great help to us and he gave us some
tremendous tactics for the different drains. We fished squatt at five and seven metres on the pole and had a maggot
line at 11 metres.
“This has been my first year as captain and to get promotion to Division One is a brilliant result. We are not a
team of stars and this was just a great all-round performance. We have really worked hard and now we can’t wait
to fish in Division One.”
In third place were Walton GTI with 463 points with skipper John Ibbotson, a 35-year-old owner of an engineering
business from Netherton, Wakefield, saying: “We went for big fish on chopped worm for the first 30 minutes and
then fished squatt at eight metres. We practised for a week on the water and to win a medal and to get promotion
is reward for all that hard work.
“I am absolutely delighted because this was my first year as skipper and I must thank all the squad members for
the effort they have put in. Now we can’t wait to fish in Division One and, if the fish feed on the Stainforth & Keadby
Canal next year, then I reckon we could finish in the top five.” The top scorer for the Wakefield-based Walton
outfit was Wakefield’s Chris Allen who won L Section with two bream, three roach and some small fish for
So, with many sections reporting anglers with “three or four bream”, it looked like a tight finish until word came
through that overall champ Bontoft was landing bream up to 2.5 kg from a much fancied peg at K1.
In fact, Bontoft, who also gained promotion with his team, Winterton Working Men’s AC, taking the 10th and
final promotion spot, netted nine good bream to go with the 0.5 kg of skimmers that he took in the first 45 minutes.
Fishing a worm on a size 16 hook at 11.5 metres, Bontoft also lost two fish but that didn’t matter as he beat his
previous best performance in a National when he finished fourth on the Nene in the early 1990’s.
Bontoft, who was close to tears after his superb victory, said: “I can hardly believe I am an Embassy National
champion. I won £980 on the Nene, so this is easily my best pay day and my biggest victory. I will probably
take my family on holiday. I couldn’t celebrate as I was on call at work but I will have a few drinks on my day off.
It’s been a fantastic match and for the team to get promotion to Division One is just the perfect ending.”
Second place was snapped up by Liverpool’s John Easton with 9.980 kg from Peg M18 on the Trader. He won
£1,199 but missed out on cash from the bookie as he only backed himself with a £10 win bet. John, a 49-year-old
machine fitter who fishes for Liverpool AS, landed five good bream up to 2.25 kg plus eight skimmers at 10
metres, with red and white maggots on a size 18 hook with a No.11 elastic.
Yet, Easton enjoyed a frustrating time for the first 21/2 hours of the five hour match as he didn’t land a fish
even though he knew there were plenty of bream in the peg.
“It was really bizarre as I knew the bream were there but they wouldn’t get their heads down and feed. I foul-hooked a
bream but lost that one before, with half the match over, I started to catch,” said Easton, “They didn’t want any
other bait – they just wanted maggots – and I began to build up a good weight. In fact, I landed a decent bream
with my last cast and that one fish moved me up from third to second place. This is a brilliant result for me – my
best-ever in 15 Nationals.”
* Spare a thought for Alan Page, a 55-year-old fishing for Kennet Osprey AC, who arrived at Peg M38, started to set-up
and found thousands of bees coming out of a hole in the ground! “There were bees everywhere and although I
fancied the peg, I fancied living even more,” said Page who was moved to the end of M Section where he managed just one
EMBASSY DIVISION TWO NATIONAL ANGLING CHAMPIONSHIP (Boston Drains) (Top 10 teams promoted to Embassy Division One)
TEAM: 1. Dick Clegg Mark One Sensas 501 pts; 2. Team Bawtry 480 pts; 3. Walton GTI 463 pts; 4. Preston Innovations Delcac 462 pts;
5. Sun Inn (Tuxford) AC 456 pts; 6. Fishtoft Hooked MG 455 pts; 7. Wyche Anglers 449 pts; 8. Provincial AA 433 pts;
9. Farnborough & District AS 431 pts; 10. Winterton Working Men’s AC 427 pts.
INDIVIDUAL: 1. Steve Bontoft (Winterton Working Men’s AC) 14.510 kg; 2. John Easton (Liverpool AS) 9.980 kg;
3. Ray Malle (Dick Clegg Mark One Sensas) 8.900 kg; 4. John Daniels (Preston Innovations Delcac) 6.930 kg;
5. Mark Jones (Macclesfield Waltonians) 6.870 kg; 6. John Dunnill (Barnsley Blacks) 6.700 kg. (c)