The final round of the Preston Innovations backed UK Angling Championship saw a shock as Midlander Grant Albutt stole the prestigious UK Champs title from under the noses of long odds-on favourites Pete Bailey and Darren Cox.

The pair had a three and four point advantage respectively going into the last round at Barston Lakes. But both of them crashed out, allowing Halesowen rod Grant to take the second big match win of his match career, following his 2009 Parkdean Masters triumph.

In fact Grant only had to finish joint top of his section with Kieran Rich with 19.4 kilos to claim the title and £4000 winner’s cheque, with Paul Hillier coming through for second thanks to his highest total tournament weight 500lb. Darren Cox tied with Paul on 11 points, but finished third overall.

“I can’t believe it,” exclaimed an overjoyed Albutt. “It was a tough day and I fished hard but never thought I’d be in with a chance of a win. It’s a real honour to be on the list with all the previous champions. What a series!”

That sentiment was shared by the whole UKAC field, including event organiser Nigel Harrhy, who helped rescue the series two years ago.

“It’s been a brilliant year and the lads have been superb,” said Harrhy at the presentation. “I feel very sorry for Darren and Pete; it was a tough match for them. But Grant has fished hard all season and is a truly deserving champion.”

The top 40 from this year’s series (below) automatically qualify for entry in next year’s event. The remaining 40 places will be allocated through an eliminator which will take place next spring. There is already a waiting list in place which you can be joined via the UK Champs web site, .

The series, which has been filmed for, television, will be shown across the Sky Sports network from the 26th September.

The Top 40

1 Albutt, Grant 10
2 Hillier, Paul 11
3 Cox, Darren 11
4 Smith, Matt 12
5 Bailey, Pete 12
6 Wood, Gaz 12
7 Hall, John 12
8 Wooton, Rob 13
9 Bennett, Pete 13
10 Rich, Keiron 14
11 Vandervleit, Chris 14
12 Arthur, Jon 15
13 Wakelin, Adam 15
14 Robinson, Trevor 15
15 Goodman, Peter 15
16 May, Andy 16
17 Pickering, Tommy 16
18 LeBosquet, Jason 16
19 Speed, Nick 16
20 Barraclough, Steve 16
21 Hull, Richy 16
22 Scholey, Tom 16
23 Fry, Simon 17
24 Perkins, Rob 17
25 Ringer, Phil 17
26 Pollard, Mark 18
27 Vernon, Gavin 18
28 Swain, Dave 18
29 Yates, Paul 19
30 Richards, Adam 19
31 Holland, Paul 19
32 Roberts, Dave 19
33 Findlay, Andy 19
34 Harrhy, Nigel 19
35 Thornton, Lee 20
36 Jones, Mark 20
37 Neal, Andy 20
38 Ringer, Steve 20
39 Malham, Gareth 21
40 Dagnall, Mike 22