SHAKESPEARE Redditch Federation produced a scorching performance on a red-hot day as they captured the coveted Team title in the 62 team Embassy Division One National Angling Championship for the second time in four years. And snapping at their heels on a crayfish ridden Basingstoke Canal were team Daiwa Gordon League.
Shakespeare Redditch, known as the Shakespeare Superteam, also received a £3000 bonus from sponsors, Embassy, as a contribution towards their expenses when they represent
in next year’s World Club Championship.
And there was glory and £3025 from Pools money and a £5 each way bet for Mick Evans, a 45-year-old sheet metal worker from Ainsworth,
, who claimed the individual title with a carp and tench haul of 11.160 kg. His previous best pay day was a modest £100 from a local match!
As the temperature soared towards the 90F mark and the bright and sweltering conditions made fishing difficult in many areas, Shakespeare Redditch enjoyed a superb all-round performance as they also picked up £1722 from the Team pools. In a nail-biting finish they totalled 592 points – just three points clear of Daiwa Gordon League.
But it was a poor match overall, with 1lb a good weight and many of the anglers plagued with signal crayfish. Also there wre quite a few blanks – pretty unacceptable in a Division One match.

Shakespeare, who draw their squad from all over the Midlands, have a superb record in the Division One in recent years, finishing second in 1998 and claiming the title in 1999.
And they had to make a last-minute change to their line-up when, just 16 hours before the match started, they realised that Tony Keeling was cup-tied after fishing for another National team on the same venue last year. Mal Watson had to be drafted into the side.
 Watson proved to be one of their top scorers with 64 points as he finished third in G Section with 4.430 kg – a weight that earned him 20th spot in the Individual. Rob Quinn was also third in D Section with 4.980 kg to take 13th place overall.
“It was a fantastic team performance – to win the title twice and finish runners-up in the last five Nationals is a great achievement. We must thank Embassy for the £,000 donation and we will certainly be doing our very best in the World Clubs Championship next year,” said a delighted Shakespeare skipper Mick Hatchard, a 40-year-old contract manager from Walsall Wood, West Midlands.
Hatchard takes over from regular Shakespeare skipper, Jeff Perrin when they fish on a canal venue and the squad found just the right tactics to clinch their narrow victory. They fished squatt for roach and small bream and chopped worm on three pegs where big fish were known to be present.
Gordon League
Second placed Daiwa Gordon League are another side with an outstanding record in recent Embassy Division One Nationals as they landed the title in 2000 and came fourth last year. They just missed out on the medals in the World Clubs Championship in 2001 when they finished an excellent fourth.
Skipper John Curtis, a 40-year-old electrical technician from Bishop’s Cleeve,
, said: “We don’t have any superstars, but we have been together for a number of years and we are thrilled to bits to have such a good record at this event.
“We practised the weekend before the match and, to a man, we opted to fish squatt for the bread and butter fish and maybe pick up a bonus fish. We didn’t set a distance but looked for three feet of water and fished there.”

Daiwa Gordon League draw their anglers from in and around Gloucester and Cheltenham and their top points scorer was Cheltenham‘s Steve Hayes who won M Section with 1.570 kg. Rich Hoskins, from Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire, came home in 19th place after he claimed third place in A Section with 4.470 kg. The bronze medals went to a shell-shocked Wigan & District squad with 545 points after they went into the match with the main target of avoiding one of the four relegation places!
Wigan skipper Peter Lucas, a 45-year-old sales manager from Standish, Wigan, said: “We were absolutely amazed – we are not a star-studded side and, after getting promotion just three years ago, our first priority was to stay in Division One.
”Once we knew we had avoided relegation we were hoping for a top ten finish, but to win the bronze medals is the best thing that has happened to the club. In fact, none of the squad has ever won a National medal – Team or Individual – before. We will certainly be having a few drinks to celebrate.” To help those “celebrations”,
Wigan picked up £984!

Wigan didn’t practise but received some sound advice from Farnborough anglers Geoff Ball and Colin Dance. In the end, Wigan fished squatt over hemp and also red maggots six inches off the bottom.

Mick’s the champ
Individual champ Mick Evans (pictured below) was pegged at D49 on the noted Chequers stretch and was fishing only his third National. He started off on punched bread but switched over to chopped worm and caster on a size 14 hook and 5 lb line at 11.5 metres and three metres and landed his first tench after 30 minutes.

Another tench quickly followed and then Evans, who fishes for Bury & District AS, spent the next 20 minutes fighting a superb 6.600kg carp – his best-ever carp on a pole! He landed three more tench but, after just two hours, the bites stopped and Evans had to endure a frustrating final three hours.
“I can’t believe it – to win the Division One title is just incredible,” said a stunned Evens, “I had to work hard to land the carp – in fact, I had to stand up on my box to play it as it went in and out of the weeds. I was relieved to finally get the carp into the net.”
Evans didn’t get home until almost midnight and had to delay his celebrations though he said: “I was fishing a club match in Southport the next day and drew out No.1 – how’s that after what happened at the National?” He hasn’t decided how to spend the money though a “new pole” might soon be finding its way into his rod holdall! 
The silver medal and £1,713 went to Sergeant Graham Welton, an aircraft technician from RAF Brampton who lives in St. Ives, Cambs, who was flying high after landing 8.250 kg of bream, roach and perch from Peg A1 at Odiham. Welton fished on the weedline at nine metres with single red maggot or single caster on a size 18 hook.
Jimmy Byrne, a 57-year-old production supervisor from Woolston, Warrington, grabbed the bronze medal – his best performance in 30 Nationals – with 6.960 kg from Peg D54. Byrne (Lymm AC) went for big fish right from the start and landed a superb 5.5 kg carp and a near 1.5 kg pike to pocket £1,195.

TEAM: 1. Shakespeare Redditch 592 pts; 2. Daiwa Gordon League 589 pts; 3. Wigan & District 545 pts; 4. Tek-neek Trabucco Halifax 534 pts; 5. Oakwood NJC 528 pts; 6. Barnsley & District 523 pts; 7. Collins Green 513 pts; 8. Essex County Van Den Eynde 508pts; 9. CMA Team Daiwa Scotland 504 pts; 10. Starlets AS 504 pts (CMA Team Daiwa Scotland and Starlets AS level on points but CMA Team Daiwa Scotland take ninth place on superior Team weight – 12.870 kg to 11.710 kg).

INDIVIDUAL: 1. Mick Evans (Bury & District AS) 11.160 kg; 2. Graham Welton (RAF Tek-neek Trabucco) 8.250 kg; 3. Jimmy Byrne (Lymm AC) 6.960 kg; 4. Phil Leak (Abu Garcia Wigan) 6.860 kg; 5. Steve Welford (Browning Hotrods) 6.640 kg; 6. P Phillip (Loughborough Soar) 6.350 kg.