Heavy rain in the 24 hours leading up to the final ruined any chance of consistent action and it was mainly the pegs benefitting from a southerly wind that provided anything like consistent sport and much of this only materialised in the later stages.
However there was to be no stopping Roger Hill who hammered out 163lb 9oz of carp fishing just over the marginal rushes of Peg 2. He had learned from practise sessions that it was important to present a large bait to avoid interference from the prolific head of small fish so he opted to hair rig an 11mm pellet.
The modest Hill, appearing in his first ever final explained ‘To be fair, I would have expected anyone in this match who drew my peg to have won. On the day it was unbeatable.’
Hill has qualified for 5 consecutive semi finals, even finishing in the frame on one occasion, but had never managed the section win that would give him a shot at the big one. That changed at Lodge Farm and the 46-year-old computer programmer from Hillsborough took his chance brilliantly.
It was a tough pill for Rob Burgin to swallow as the Houghton Main man finished runner-up for the second time in 3 years.
One of the more notable performances was put in by Steve Billups who, having drawn at the sheltered end of the lake where very few carp were showing, decided to fish for roach and small skimmers on chopped worm in the margins. He claimed a section win with 37lb 15oz of small fish. A brilliant performance from such an un-fancied area.
1. Roger Hill 163-9 (£700 tackle plus £300 cash);
2. Rob Burgin 85-11 (£550 tackle plus £200 cash);
3. Gary Brookes 69-10 (£500 tackle plus £150 cash);
4. Richard Ward 57-13(£450 tackle);
5. Richard Clement 50-10(£300 tackle).
Sections: Craig Parsissons; Greg Proffitt; Steve Billups; Neil Stones (£50 tackle).
Special thanks go to Daiwa Sports for supplying £3,000 worth of tackle sponsorship, to Ray Lane for allowing us the use of the fabulous Sykehouse Fisheries and to Pauline and Geoff Hurt who turned out for the 17th year in a row to organise and run the match.