From left to right, third placed Les Thompson, second placed Neil Machin,Sensas UK’s
Mark Downes and 2004 Midlands Matchman of the Year Paul Yates..

FRESH from winning a silver medal with England at the Six Nations Championships in France, Paul ‘Yanny’ Yates produced a consistent performance to take the prestigious Sensas Midlands Matchman of the Year crown at Solihull’s superb Barston Lakes complex.

This is an invitation-only event, with the anglers selected by producing the region’s best match performance of the month, as judged by the Midland Angler team over the last two years.

Back to defend the crown he won at Earlswood on Yachter and Engine Lake last year, was Neil Machin, who capped a fantastic 2003/2004 season by winning the coveted Kamasan Matchman of the Year.

Also in a star-studded line-up was Garbolino’s Darren Cox, also fresh from his silver medal in the Six Nations Championship in France plus several other high-profile anglers such as Andy Findlay, Steve Ringer, Pete Caton, Tony Barker, Lee Richards and last year’s UK Champion Jamie Masson.

The match was fished in two, three-hour sprints, with the anglers split into two sections, and the title decided on section points first and foremost, and in the event of a tie, total weight.

The first of the matches was a float-only event with pole fishing allowed, with ‘any method’ allowed in the second three-hour event, thus allowing anglers the option of going all out for a big carp.

Yates drew in the middle of the section in both heats, and although he didn’t take a section win, he was second in both matches and his four point score was enough to see of defending champion Neil Machin by a single point.

The venue fished exceptionally well, especially in the morning heat, with Neil Machin setting a new three-hour match record for the venue of 39-3-0, and impressive bag made up of small carp and skimmers in the main.

The hard-luck story came from Wayne Mellings who lost a 7lb carp at the net in the first heat that would have won him the section and ultimately the title. His top three paid the price as he thrashed the water in frustration and broke it in half! Just to add insult to injury, Wayne was stung by a wasp at the presentation at the lovely clubhouse.

“I’m absolutely delighted that the water has fished so well,” said owner Nigel Harrhy, who had stocked around 5,000 small carp into the venue just for the match. “We have had club anglers coming down here and just fishing the feeder for the big fish and struggling. Today’s matches showed what can be achieved if you fish the pole and the format worked perfectly. Neil’s 39lb bag is a fantastic three-hour weight!”

Mark Downes of sponsors Sensas was delighted with both the event and the venue saying: “This match is quickly growing into a major event in the Midlands and we’re delighted to be involved in it.

“I like to see anglers who can exhibit their all-round abilities on both silver fish and carp and I think the way the venue has fished, with skimmers being important as well as the carp, has done the match proud. You have to say hard luck to Wayne but Paul Yates has shown the value of consistency.”

The full picture report on the match is in October’s Midland Angler, out on the second week of September.

*Barston Lakes near Solihull is available for club bookings. For more information call Nigel Harrhy on 01675 444890 or e-mail:


Midlands Matchman of the Year Heat One

Section A: 1 Jon Arthur (Peg 4), 21-8-0; 2 Mark Parsons (11), 20-13-0; 3 Darren Cox (14), 18-7-0; 4 Wayne Mellings (6), 17-13-0; 5 Les Thompson, (13), 17-4-0; 6 Ant Rogers (5), 10-15-0; 7 Malcolm Brown (12), 10-1-0; 8 Tony Blackwell (8), 9-15-0; 9 Terry Girdlestone (9), 6-15-0; 10 Andy Findlay (10), 3-11-0; 11 Roger Tilley (15), 3-8-0.

Section B: 1 Neil Machin (26), 39-3-0; 2 Paul Yates (17), 31-10-0; 3 Jamie Masson (22), 30-13-0; 4 Steve Ringer (20), 24-7-0; 5 Alan Henry (23), 23-15-0; 6 Tony Barker (18), 22-15-0; 7 Bob Bates (27), 22-12-0; 8 Colin Harvey (25), 15-4-0; 9 Charlie Hague (24), 14-13-0; 10 Pete Caton (21), 14-8-0; 11 Lee Richards (19), 7-14-0; 12 Eric Mitchell (16), 5-11-0.


Midlands Matchman of the Year Heat Two

Section A: 1 Pete Caton (14), 21-11-0; 2 Paul Yates (11), 18-4-0; 3 Steve Ringer (6), 14-9-0; 4 Neil Machin (9), 12-11-0; 5 Alan Henry (12), 9-2-0; 6 Tony Barker (15), 9-0-0; jt 7 Jamie Masson (7) and Bob Bates (10), 8-3-0; 9 Lee Richards (8), 8-1-0; 10 Colin Harvey (5); 5-13-0; 11 Eric Mitchell (13), 3-7-0; 12 Charlie Hague (4), DNW.

Section B: 1 Les Thompson (24), 30-13-0; 2 Wayne Mellings (26), 26-12-0; 3 Darren Cox (17), 26-6-0; 4 Mark Parsons (27), 25-2-0; 5 Terry Girdlestone (18), 20-4-0; 6 Jon Arthur (20), 13-4-0; 7 Andy Findlay (25), 11-6-0; 8 Malcolm Brown (22), 9-3-0; 9 Tony Blackwell (23), 3-13-0; 10 Roger Tilley (16), 0-13-0; 11 Ant Rogers (21), DNW.


Midlands Matchman of the Year Overall Top 10

1 Paul Yates, 4pts, 49-14-0; 2 Neil Machin, 5pts, 51-14-0; 3 Les Thompson, 6pts, 48-1-0; 4 Mark Parsons, 6pts, 45-15-0; 5 Darren Cox, 6pts, 44-13-0; 6 Wayne Mellings, 6pts, 44-9-0; 7 Steve Ringer, 7pts, 39-0-0; 8 Jon Arthur, 7pts, 34-12-0; 9 Alan Henry, 10pts, 33-1-0; 10 Jamie Masson, 10.5pts, 39-0-0.