ANGLING magazine Midland Angler is throwing its weight behind the August bank holiday Evesham angling festival in a bid to bring back the glory days.

In a three-year deal, the Daventry based publication which is editited by Total-Fishing boss Gareth Purnell (Geepster), is putting up £7,500 per year plus a five figure promotional budget behind the prestigious team event, which will now be known as the Midland Angler Team Championships.

The big match will be fished on the bank holiday Monday – in the past the team event was fished on the Sunday – and to ensure great catches we have persuaded the powers that be to allow bloodworm and joker.

The individual championships will be fished on the Saturday with the Wychavon moved to the Sunday. The ban on bloodworm and joker remains in place for these two matches.

With the Midland Angler Team Champions guaranteed at least £3000 and with big cash prizes for second, third and fourth position, we have created one of the biggest payouts in the team match fishing calendar.

“We want it to be a real showpiece event for the sport of competitive angling,” commented Gareth.

“The plan is to create a fantastic spectacle by ensuring the very best teams in match fishing go head to head. We will only be inviting what we consider to be the very best teams in match fishing in a bid to make this the premier team event in the calendar.

“Top flight anglers will welcome the fact that bloodworm and joker will be allowed in the team match and we thank the controlling club for helping out there.”

The team list is currently being compiled but will include at least two international teams, including an England Select.

Also in the frame are the likes of Maver Barnsley, Daiwa Dorking, MAP Starlets, Shakespeare, Van den Eynde Essex, Browning Hotrods, Tipton, Saints, Leicester AS, Delcac and Drennan North West, plus other top performers from events such as the Angling Times Winter League final and the Drennan Superleague final. The winner of the NFA Division One National will also be invited to enter a team of five.

“Spectators will be able to watch anglers right at the top of match fishing,” added Gareth.

“The format raises the exciting prospect of watching the likes of Alan Scotthorne, Jean Desque, Darren Cox, Des Shipp, Jimmy Hines, Darren Davies, Denis White, Jeff Perrin and Dave Vincent all fishing their hearts out against each other in a line. It should be brilliant for spectators and we are just delighted to be involved.”

The sponsorship is fantastic news for the Evesham festival, which was in limbo following the withdrawal of long time sponsors John Smiths in 2002.

As reported in our October issue, tackle firm Shakespeare came to the rescue on the individual event to the tune of £7500. This will now be known at the Shakespeare Trophy.

The intention is to keep the format the same. Anglers will fish off through the year in a bid to qualify for the prestigious individual match, which will take place on the Saturday. The organisation of these qualifiers is being taken on by Dave Wright, following the retirement of Dick Derrington. The Monday match will still be known as the Wychavon and will be sponsored by the local council.

Dave plans to step up the number of winter qualifiers and then run one every Saturday from the start of the season until the week before the festival.

Midland Angler’s publishers will also be taking on the running of the huge tented village area, and the event will be heavily promoted through the David Hall Publishing magazines Match Fishing, Midland Angler and Tackle and Guns. David Hall will be the MC for the whole event, so if you have any skeletons in your closet, beware!

England man Sean Ashby, editor of Match Fishing, was delighted with the news: “It sounds fantastic. To get £15,000 in cash into the festival at a time when its future was uncertain is a massive boost for both the sport and the area.

“With all the promotion attached as well we are certainly looking at a spectacular and highly prestigious event, and I do not know a top flight match angler or team who won’t be excited with the news and the prospect of competing.”

• Follow Midland Angler for progress updates on 2004 Evesham Festival.


Midland Angler