WARWICKSHIRE Avon ace Rob Middleton is the 16/1 favourite with bookie Graham Bonnett for the Shakespeare Festival at Evesham on Saturday 27th August.

Avon regular Rob has a long list of victories on the river to his name and heads a star-studded list, which includes several internationals and former winners of the event.

The match is the start of a three-day angling extravaganza, which also includes the Wychavon Championships on the Sunday and the Midland Angler Team Champs on bank holiday Monday. The prize fund for the final is £10,000 and the winner will be guaranteed a prize of at least £5,000.

Last year’s winner was Pete Vasey, who landed 16lb 3oz of barbel and chub and collected a grand total of £6350, including bets. 

The Wychavon event carries a total prize fund of £6,000. Kieron Rich won last year’s final with 15lb 8oz, which included a barbel of nearly 11lb, landed in the last few minutes of the match on pole gear.

The final event of the bank holiday weekend is the Midland Angler Team Championship, which sees 14 of the best teams in the country go into battle, with bloodworm and joker allowed.

Each team comprises five anglers and the Essex Van Den Eynde team of Bob Nudd, Darren Davies, Chris Vandervleit, Mark Pollard and Ian Didcote will be defending the title they won in style last season.

The Crown Meadow, upstream of Abbey Bridge, will once again play host to a huge tented village featuring all the latest gear and many tackle bargains.

There will be running commentaries on all the competitions over the three days to keep spectators informed of what’s happening and bookmaker Graham Bonnett will also be present during the weekend for competitors and spectators to have a flutter.

The match length has been fishing quite well with bonus fish like tench and bream playing a big part. Local tackle dealer, Dave Packwood, won a recent open match with four tench for19lb, but with roach now responding to pole-fished hemp, the three days once again promise to be a fascinating battle between small and big fish. Big crowds are a certainty, so get there early!     



Shakespeare Festival Odds

16/1      Rob Middleton

18/1      Darren Cox; Brian Bennett; Jeff Perrin; Kieron Rich; Wayne Swinscoe; Dave Harrell

20/1      Steve Ashmore; Keith Hobson; Bob Nudd; Tom Pickering; Simon Roff; Tony Skinner; Denis White; Ian Shepherd; Steve Pierpoint

22/1      John Allerton; Ian Didcote; Pete Vasey; Brian Pollard

25/1      Sean Ashby; Leigh Gardner; Matt Hall; Pete Jayes; Dave Packwood; Colin Perry; Steve Williams; James Robbins; Jim Smith; Paul Wilson; Dave Kimber

28/1      Jason Buick

33/1      Steve Hemingray; Steve Pallett; Mike Pollard; Derek Willan


* Prices correct at time of going to press with attendance of England team members to be confirmed