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There was a nail-biting finish to the prestigious Shakespeare Championships. With the previous day’s heavy rain adding colour to this notoriously clear stretch of the Warwickshire Avon at Evesham, many competitors were hopeful of a few better skimmers, bream, tench and barbel. However, only a handful of better fish showed and those who’d stuck to the ‘safe’ small fish option came out on top.

Welsh International Andrew ‘Spud’ Murphy put in a sterling small fish performance from peg 49 to take top spot in this annual event. Fishing over a dark groundbait mix of Sensas Lake, Roach and soil that he’d potted at 13m, Andrew plugged away for the first three hours catching steadily. As the colour dropped from the water bites started to dry up, but he carried on doing what he could while feeding cautiously via a pole pot to finish with a total weight of 13lb 11oz. ‘Spud’s’ weight was made up of 88 fish, with just a handful of better stamp skimmers. The rest of his weight comprised small roach and gudgeon.

Andrew was overjoyed with the result, saying: “It’s a super event to win and I’m thrilled! This is one of a handful of matches that every match angler has to have as an ambition.”
When asked if he had any plans for the winner’s spoils Spud’s answer was simple: “A new kitchen!”

Second and third was a closely fought affair between regular Match Fishing columnist Lee Kerry and Garbolino-backed Ian Didcote – the verdict eventually going Ian’s way by just 6oz! Ian weighed in 12lb 10oz from peg 46 and, after catching 4lb on the pole in the first three hours, had switched to the waggler to find a run of small skimmers.

Lee Kerry (Preston Innovations/Sonu) from Leeds took another superb small fish catch of 12lb 4oz from fancied peg 64 – the first peg below Hampton Ferry rope. An early tench from Matt Maginnis on peg 67 had set the pace but ultimately it was no match for Lee’s all silver fish catch that saw him finish well clear of those around him in this deeper area of the match length.


·1st Andrew Murphy (Tredeger Angling Centre), Peg 49,            13lb 11oz 0dr
·2nd Ian Didcote (Garbolino, Bait-Tech, Daiwa Dorking), Peg 46,  12lb 10oz 0dr
·3rd Lee Kerry (Preston Innovations, Sonu Baits), Peg 64,           12lb 4oz 0dr
·4th Denis White (Maver Barnsley), Peg 79,                  10lb 9oz 0dr
·5th Mark Brush (Daiwa Gordon League, Peg 48,                9lb 7oz 0dr