The 2008 NFA Cadet, Junior and Intermediate National Angling Championships supported by Pentax UK took place this Saturday (5th July) on the Stainforth and Keadby Canal in Thorne near Doncaster. Over 200 young anglers aged between 10 and 20 years of age took to the bank looking to go home with the title of National Champion.

The big story of this year’s national supported by Pentax UK was Joel Whiteley. The Wakefield youngster did the double wining the individual Intermediate Championship this year, adding to his Junior individual gold back in 2007. It wasn’t all plain sailing for Joel, most notably because of the horrendous conditions in which the match was fished. With heavy rain at the beginning and finale of the match, there was also a thunderstorm making Joel’s fishing not the only storm the competitors had to endure.
Joel, who fishes for Wakefield AC won the match with 4.30kg, just ahead of his nearest rival and Mosella Farnborough Blue angler, Jason Goddard who finished with 4.20kg. Joel’s tactics on the day were to fish the long and short pole with squat, chopped worm and caster which proved successful catching five perch, five roach and then the remainder of his weight being made up of skimmers. When asked about his double winning year he commented, “I am really surprised; it is a very good feeling”. The bronze medal in this classification fell to G Ridge who ended with 4.14kg. The bronze medalist was from Wakefield AC thus completing a great day for the club who also took the team silver.
The team classification for the Intermediates was won by Tameside Fox Match A with 87 points and a weight of 13.31kg. Wakefield won the silver just one point behind with 86 points and 15.47kg, but will have made the short trip home from Thorne with the thought of just missing out on a second gold in the back of their minds. In the bronze medal position was another local team Barnsley & District, who showed that local knowledge can prove the edge in these championships ending with 80 points and a weight of 13.56kg.
The Cadet Championship was won by another local angler James Thirkill who has been a member of the Smartbait Leeds team for the last two years. The young anger finished the match with 2.48kg which was made up of perch, roach and skimmers. James’ nearest rival was Bradley Proctor of Mosella Farmborough who weighed in with 2.01kg to win silver. The bronze medal was won by another Mosella Farnborough angler Rocky Murley who finished the match with 1.29kg.
In the Cadet team classification, Smartbait Leeds did what Wakefield AC could not in the Intermediates adding to their individual win, with the team gold. Smartbait won by just one point ending with 20 points and a weight of 5.73kg. The runner up team was Mosella Farnborough who just missed out with 19 points and 5.54kg. The bronze medal team position was won by Worksop and District who ended some way behind the top two with 13 points and 1.84kg worth of fish.
The Junior Championship proved that the day belonged to the anglers from Yorkshire who took three of the possible six medal placing’s in this category. Individually, it was another Smartbait Leeds angler, Louis Huddleston who won it in convincing style with 3.54kg. Commenting after his medal presentation, “I caught mainly bream, roach, perch and skimmers and have fished for Smartbait for a year now. This is my first national so it is really good to win”.
Yorkshires dominance continued with J Reynolds of Wakefield AC winning silver with 3.30kg. Mosella Farnborough who have been the nearly team of this years national added another medal to their collection, this time a bronze for Daniel Twine who finished with 2.56kg. The team or its members won five medals across all the age categories but could not displace the on fire Yorkshire anglers from the top of the podium with a gold medal proving elusive.

In the team championship it was Worksop and District A Team who won gold with a fine display to finish with 90 points and a weight of 7.93kg. Silver medalists were Tameside Fox Match A Team who were not far behind ending with 88 points and a superior weight of 8.49kg. Bronze medal fell to Smartbait Leeds Gold who finished with 81 points and a weight of 8.70kg.
All in all, the match was fished in a great spirit and all the anglers did exceptionally well to catch so many fish with the conditions they were faced with. However, hats must be taken off to the teams from Yorkshire who used all of their local knowledge to win medal after medal and in particular Joel Whiteley who won gold for the second year in a row, a great achievement indeed.