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The Final Round

Mark Poppleton recollects the crucial last round of the Landsend League. Can he hold on to pole position?

If you have been following these blogs you will know that I have been leading the league since the first round way back in November. It’s a precarious position to be in as you are under the spotlight and the expectation is immense! A poor draw in the 5th round meant my lead had been reduced to only 1 point with Jamie Parkhouse and Tony Rixon hot on my heels – so a decent draw in the final round was essential to take the winner’s purse. With this in mind I think it’s interesting that the money really isn’t the motivator, it’s the pride of winning for me. Is anyone else the same ?

Back to the match and I needed a good section placing, so when Tony asked if I wanted to draw for him I politely (well, not so politely) declined as every time I’ve ever drawn him a peg it’s been a right flyer! That was the first mistake of the day as he then asked Craig (Trig) Edmunds to draw for him instead and he was handed Peg 32, the boss peg on the lake and with Tony on it a guaranteed top 2 placing! 

I was next up and I wanted either 31, 33 or 34 to be sure of good points but, no, peg 37 stuck and I knew there and then it was game over in terms of winning the league. This peg has been one of the worst pegs on the lake all winter so all I could hope for was a day’s fishing as I knew that my points total of 14 coming into the match would be my final total, as today would be a dropper.

What was nice, though, is Trig had a call from Mark Downes during the match with his England call up, Mark had heard about Trigs prowess at the drawbag and wants him to be the official flyer puller for team England. Well done mate, you deserve it!

The match itself is hard to write about really. I tried every nook and cranny in the peg and had various lines in open water but all to very little effect. I started ok by catching skimmers at 9m on soft pellet but could see Tom Thick up on peg 34 landing his 5th carp as the 1st hour passed. I think I lost my way a little here as I went across for carp myself trying in vain to keep in contention on the lake, but after an hour of trying 17m either side of me and everywhere in between the carp on the better pegs had started to feed and the faint thought of working hard for a result had turned into me needing a miracle – a miracle that didn’t happen. 

After the 3rd hour, my peg had died completely and I couldn’t raise a bite on anything. Even scaling back to 0.09mm and a size 20 with maggot didn’t work so I sat out the remaining three hours of the match with only a further four roach to add to my already small net of fish. I ended with 8lb for 10th from 12 on the lake. A disaster!

As I expected, the form pegs produced and of those the top two anglers were Tony RIxon on 32 with over 80lb and then Tom Thick on 34 with a high 70, so well done guys. Good anglers, good pegs!

What was interesting was that in my little group of pegs, working right to left was Bob Gullick on peg 39, 9th on the lake, me, peg 37, 10th on the lake and Paul Homewood, peg 36, 11th on the lake, so definitely the wrong area!

I had a torrid six hours really sitting there unable to effect the outcome and just hoping my work in the earlier rounds would see me somewhere near the top and as it turned out that was the case. After some double checking on the results it turned out that I had hung to 3rd in the league (by weight) which, after the last two draws I had, was a decent result and one I’m happy enough with. 

Jamie had done a good job from the Match Lake and managed 4th in his section to take 2nd. With his lake win, Tony had come from mid table to win the league overall. A worthy winner for sure and after all the hard work he puts in even I can’t be too bitter about the way the final draw turned out.

Final Top 5

1st Tony Rixon, 11 points

2nd Jamie Parkhouse, 12

3rd Mark Poppleton, 14 (weight)

4th Craig (Trig) Edmunds, 14

5th Nick Merry, 15

Silvers League

1st Tom Thick, 7 points

2nd Nick Merry, 10

3rd Bob Gullick, 12

4th Mick Nichols, 13

5th John Bradford, 14

In summary, it’s been a fantastic league with some really good fishing and good competition but most importantly a really good laugh. We even got treated to birthday cake from Ken Rayners mum, which was welcome after six hours on the bank! Ken will be running the league next year so I reckon his mum should make us a cake for each round. We shall see!

Next stop is the Viaduct Spring League, which promises to be a good affair IF this weather ever warms up!

Bye for now!

Mark Poppleton

Other titlesmf magfeedermatch livepf plusthink fishing