Drennan Drowners...............The Finale?

Dave Spence

MD virtual champion 2020. Golden Pie winner 2018.
Site Supporter
Feb 19, 2017
The story so far:-
Episode 1 The invitation
Following a puzzle posted on the site; Mark Downes thought the puzzle was real and he extended a challenge to the people in the puzzle to face his full England squad.

Episode 2 The match
The match held at Lindholme was won by the drowners through a mixture of gamesmanship, scurrilous tactics and Wise Owls black widow.

Episode 3 The aftermath
Mark Downes was completely unable to accept the fact that England had been beaten and he ‘blackmailed’ the drowners’ squad into accepting a re-match. Pompous Git had, in the meantime, appointed himself the manager of the team and he had negotiated a sponsorship deal with Peter Drennan provided the drowners’ did not get hammered. Trogg, Georgie Boy and Breac saved the day and once more the drowners were victorious.

Episode 4 The Drowners see red.
Our intrepid team are invited to fish a match in Moscow. The soviets tried to ‘nobble’ the team but were thwarted by Trogg, GB and the invention of the Drennan Dumpster seat box. Carp Magic joined the mile high club and Trogg exacted terrible revenge on Phoenixicus for calling him an animal.

Episode 5 The Drowners face the past.
The team face their biggest challenge when they are challenged by a team of 70’s all-stars put together by Dick Clegg and Dennis White. The team were saved by a superhuman effort from Red Leader but the match only went ahead due to Troggs daughter B’Lanna, single handedly, seeing off a gang of anti’s.

All of the above episodes are still available on the site but, unfortunately, when they were migrated onto the new site a lot of the punctuation was removed and it has made them very difficult to read. I only mention this as it has been a long time since I put pen to paper and there are a lot of new members who will not know the saga.
Read on for the next episode.

The Drennan Drowners…….Finale?
The tree lined avenue sparkled in the morning sun, old beech trees held their heads up as if taking a deep breath in readiness for a long summer and the daffodils were just starting
to wilt in anticipation of their long sleep. The tranquillity was shattered as a bright red van turned onto the avenue and pulled up outside an imposing set of wrought iron gates.
Beyond the gates was a long elm lined drive leading to an immaculate ‘gentleman’s residence’ with ‘Pomp House’ proudly proclaimed on the rustic name plaque outside the front door. Vernon Watchsmythe sat in the van and contemplated the letter in his hand, addressed to ‘Pompous Git Esq.’ and wondered what the heavy embossed envelope contained. In his 25 years as a postman he had never delivered a letter like this, the royal coat of arms was clearly embossed on the front and the quality of the paper was a clear indication that it was important news. Vern sighed, at one time him and Pomp had been good friends and, a few years ago he would have delivered the letter and Pomp would have opened it in his presence so they could discuss the contents. Unfortunately, Vern had once been invited into Pomp’s man cave and he had made two serious errors; one, turning up with a 4 pack of Stella Artois and two, referring to Pomp’s model railway as a ‘toy train set’. Pomp had been scathing, but willing to turn a blind eye, to the Stella but he could not accept the ‘toy train’ insult and Vern had felt the full venom of his fury, as he was banished from the man cave for life. Pomp had not spoken to him since.

With a weary sigh Vern trudged up the long driveway and, with a final wistful look at the envelope he dropped it into the letterbox.

Inside the house Pomp leaned back against his headboard and straightened his paisley pattern silk cravat whilst he waited for his wife to bring his breakfast. In the Kitchen, Mrs Pomp carefully lowered two fresh eggs into a saucepan of boiling water and set the timer for precisely 3 minutes and 48 seconds, during this time she removed the pair of Yarmouth Bloaters from under the grill and put them on a plate alongside two slices of freshly buttered brown bread. The perfectly ironed copy of the Daily Sport was placed on a tray alongside the bloaters, bread and eggs, which had been removed from the saucepan and placed in silver egg cups at the side of the tray, salt and pepper shakers’ completed the meal. Hearing the letterbox open she rushed into the hallway and retrieved the letter from the doormat, hurriedly slitting the envelope with a knife she placed it onto the tray and hurried to her husbands’ room. She pushed open the door and backed in carrying the tray carefully in her hands, she turned around and her breath caught in her throat as she gazed at her husband. He sat resplendent in a silk dressing gown and cravat, his hair hung loosely over his forehead and the sharp blue eyes peered at her with that knowing inquisitiveness. Mrs Pomp realised that she loved him as much now as she had when they first met. She knew all about his infidelities, or his indiscretions, as she referred to them but turned a blind eye, Pomp always came back to her and she felt that turning a blind eye was a small price to pay for keeping her man.
Pomp looked at his wife as she backed into the room and was consumed with an all-encompassing feeling of love, he realised how lucky he was to have landed such a beauty and he thanked god that she had no idea about his ‘flings’, as he called them, with the opposite sex.

“Good morning my dear” said Pomp “did I hear the letterbox rattle”

“Yes darling” Mrs Pomp enthused, “and you have a very interesting looking letter”

“Oh that does look interesting” agreed PG removing the heavy, embossed velum from the envelope. He held the letter in his left hand and read, whilst lifting a piece of bloater with his right. He suddenly stiffened, his mouth fell open and the piece of bloater fell off his fork, landing on his silk cravat and leaving an oily stain on the fine fabric.

“Oh MY GOD” he wheezed “Oh MY GOD”

Mrs Pomp rushed over to her husband thinking he was having a heart attack

“What is it darling, do you need an ambulance?”

PG regained his composure and smiling at his wife he dragged her onto the bed with him and kissed her affectionately.

“No my dear” he said “I don’t need an ambulance but I need you to call my Tailor”

“Manny?” asked Mrs PG

“No not Manny, the one on Saville Row that I use for special occasions, tell him to drop everything and I will be in this afternoon for a fitting” replied PG smugly “And you M’Lady will need to visit that fashion house you like in Knightsbridge”

“What on earth for” she giggled

“Did you not hear what I called you?” asked Pomp

“Yes you called me M’lady” the penny dropped and she gazed into PG’s eyes and whispered “really?”

“Yes really; Pompous Git has been given a life peerage, and that makes us Lord and Lady Pomp”.

He leapt out of bed and the two of them waltzed around the room like a couple of teenagers.

“Don’t forget you have a Drowners meeting tonight at Peters” said Lady Pomp.

“Oh yes” replied Lord Pomp “although I cannot tell them about this, the letter said it is in the utmost confidence until the listings are officially announced, so don’t go blathering to your book club friends about it until they tell us it is ok”

“Yes my Lord” she grinned.

“Any more of that, wench and I will drag you back into this bed” replied PG

“Ooh you aristocrats fink yer can do wot ya like wi us common gals” laughed Mrs PG in her best cockney accent.

That evening PG and the rest of the Drowners sat, once again, round Peters kitchen table and Peter Drennan started the proceedings with the statement, “I think we should call it a day lads”.

There was a stunned silence as the enormity of the words sank in; Neil of the Nene was the first to regain his composure; “But why?” he stammered “we are still unbeaten”; there was a chorus of assent around the table.

“Yes, we are unbeaten and I would like us to be remembered that way” stated PD “the team is now a bloody shambles, Soprano, and Pheo have got themselves kicked off the site, Genesis has disappeared into god knows where, and Carp Magic is in intensive care, has been for the last month and shows no sign of getting out any time soon”

“What on earth is wrong with him?” asked GP57

“Since coming back from Russia, he has been practising his newly acquired sexuality and he now has a combination of every STD known to man; they have the best consultants looking after him but they are still waiting for a break through”. Answered PD sombrely, he had always had a, fatherly, soft spot for CM and he was intensely worried about the lad.

“I tried to visit him last night” said Wise Owl

The other Drowners, apart from Peter and Red Leader, who knew that WO’s bluster actually concealed a very caring soul, looked at him incredulously.

“How is the dear boy?” asked Pomp

“Don’t know” replied Wisey “They wouldn’t let me see him; they have him on a strict diet of pizza and kippers”

“Good God, is that the new treatment” asked Georgie Boy

“No mate” replied Wisey “It’s the only food that they can slide under the door”

Everyone erupted with laughter, there was no malice in this it was just a way for the team to relieve the tension in the room.
PD brought them back to order and Pomp went round with Peter’s whisky decanter and poured everyone a treble.

“When are you going to bring a bottle” wailed Peter, as he looked at the decimated decanter.
Pomp deliberately avoided the question, got to his feet and addressed the team.

“Gentlemen, I have something of the utmost secrecy to tell you and I am putting myself at the mercy of your discretion. What I am about to tell you must not be repeated beyond these 4 walls” he said gravely.

The Drowners looked at him in hushed anticipation, even Albert and Winston, who were curled together by the fire, sat up with their ears pricked expectantly.

Pomp continued “this morning I received a letter from Buckingham Palace informing me that I had been awarded a Peerage for my work with the Drennan Drowners”

The silence that greeted this statement was deafening and Pomp squirmed uneasily under their gaze; suddenly Wise Owl giggled, Red Leader and Georgie Boy burst out laughing closely followed by the rest of the team.

“It’s not a laughing matter” roared PG “if the team disbands it could affect my award”.

The team then, sheepishly, all brought out identical envelopes, embossed with the royal crest and laid them on the table.

“Looks like we’ve all got one mate” said Trogg “even my little buddy here” he continued, giving GB a knuckle rub on the top of his head.

They all took out their letters and Peter made a list of the various awards given to the members, it ran as follows:-

Pompous Git ……….Life Peerage
Neil of the Nene…..Knighthood
Wise Owl……………..Knighthood
Red Leader…………..CBE
Georgie Boy………….CBE
Grappenall 57……….MBE

“We can’t pack up now” said Neil “It would be throwing the awards back in the face of the Crown”.

“We are still disbanding” said PD sulkily “I have funded this team, fully sponsored Neil and Peter and what do I get, bloody nothing!” he then wiped his eyes and blew his noise noisily, unfortunately, in his grief he had forgotten to take out his handkerchief and the resulting shower of snot sprayed all over Maria’s pristine white tablecloth. PD, however, was too upset to notice and he slumped forward, elbows in the slime and rested his head in his hands.

The ensuing silence was finally broken by Trogg.

“What time did you leave home this morning Pete” he asked, with a thoughtful look on his face.

“About 8:00” replied PD

“My letter arrived this morning” continued Trogg “what about the rest of you?”

There was a general buzz in the affirmative to this question. PD looked puzzled “what has that got to do with any………” his voice tailed off as the penny finally dropped.

“How did he ever make a successful businessman” muttered Neil to himself.

“Ring home Pete” said Trogg “ask if you have any mail”.

PD made the call with shaking fingers, putting the phone in ‘speaker’ mode they all listened to the ringing tone.

“Hello” answered Mrs D

“Hello love” replied PD “are there any letters for me today”

“Hang on I’ll have a look, hmm, bill, bill, junk, red reminder” she muttered to herself. “No, sorry hon” Peter slumped down again. “Oh hang on, there is one, it had fell behind the umbrella stand” she squealed, “It looks a posh one, got some sort of crest on the front”

“Open it please” said PD excitedly

“Are you sure” replied his wife “you know I never open your mail”

“Quite sure” replied PD gritting his teeth with impatience.

The Drowners all listened in silence to the sound of an envelope being ripped open and then to the sound of sobbing. “Why didn’t you tell me you were joining the Army” she wailed.

“What do you mean?” asked PD

“It says here that you are being made a Commander of the British Empire”

A huge cheer went up from the team, everyone was hugging each other, Albert and Winston high pawed excitedly and PD took the phone into the other room to reassure the missus that he was not joining the Army.

Amidst all the merriment another chap walked in to the kitchen “Hello, hello” he grinned.

“Pheo” everyone exclaimed as none other than Phoenixicus stood before them.

“You’ve been kicked off the site” said Neil

“Not really” replied Pheo “after that air hostess incident in Russia” he continued with a scowl at Trogg “she wouldn’t leave me alone, turned into a right bunny boiler. I had to move house and change my name to get rid of her; I now go by the name Lee Richards”.

“Have you got an award” asked WO

“Yes mate, an MBE”

Another huge cheer went up and the hugging recommenced, although Neil thought Peter was hugging him a little bit too fondly.

PD walked back into the room and stated “What is all this rubbish about packing it in” the ensuing cheer nearly took the roof off, with Albert and Winston joining in with ear splitting wolf howls.

The big day, when the intrepid team were to receive their awards was announced as June 17 and the previous few weeks were a whirlwind of activity for the recipients. Pomp had his Saville Row tailor produce an exquisite 3 piece suit for his ‘suitability interview’ and an Ermine trimmed robe for his first sitting in the house scheduled for the end of May. Peter had a row with Maria because he couldn’t see why she needed to go to Knightsbridge with Lady Pomp to buy a gown; he had made the mistake of asking why she couldn’t look round the charity shops and ended up wearing his dinner. The rest of the team met up in London and went shopping together, although WO nearly got arrested for parading in the Trafalgar Square fountain wearing nothing but his new top hat.
Once the news had broken about the Drowners recognition the media had a field day, TV appearances, Press and Radio interviews and several companies asking them to endorse their products. Dave had new MD Hoodies made with their award embroidered in gold thread under their names; it was a wonderful gesture although no one was surprised when he sent PD the bill for them. When June 17 finally arrived they were all exhausted.

The team arrived at the palace in a fleet of limousines which had picked them up from their hotel, where they had stayed the previous night. WO shifted uncomfortably in his new morning suit.

”This fookin collar is too tight” he complained.

“Stop moaning” said Gert slapping his hands away and straightening his tie “there, you look lovely” she exclaimed as she spat on the corner of a handkerchief and wiped an imaginary spec from her husband’s cheek.

Things weren’t going much better in the other cars; Peter was regretting buying his suit off e: bay as it was rather ill fitting, the waistcoat had a button missing and the trousers kept bunching and giving him a wedgie.

“You look very elegant darling” consoled Maria.

“I look like an unmade bed” Peter whined back.

“Well you should have had a suit made to measure, it’s your own fault” snapped his wife, her patience finally running out.

“I couldn’t afford it after the bill for your frock” was the sulky reply.

“I give up” she sighed.

Only Pomp was relaxed, travelling in a Bentley that he had privately hired as he did not want to use the “rubbish cars” that had been provided. He sat in the backseat with his lady, sipping champagne as the car whooshed along in silent comfort.

“Your very good health my Lady” he said raising his glass.

“And yours” replied his wife “I am so very proud of you” she sighed.

“The world is our oyster now my dear” declared Pomp draining his glass.

Whilst Lord and Lady Pomp were luxuriating in the unashamed decadence of the Bentley the other cars were making their way up the Mall to the Palace. The Palace looked resplendent in the bright June sunshine and Red Leader and WO were estimating the cost of building such a place today. “A good few mill, I reckon” said RL.

“I’d want half a mill just for the rendering” replied WO

“Dum de de dum de de dum de de dum de dah dah” came from the seats behind them as Trogg and Lee, who had now shook hands and buried the hatchet, started humming the theme from Bonanza.

“Fook off, yer pair of pillocks” shouted RL and WO simultaneously.

In this light hearted mood the Limo’s dropped off the Drowners and the team were shown into a ‘small’ ante room with French doors open on to the garden. Along one side of the room there was a buffet laid out and RL made a beeline for a large pork pie which sat on a silver platter. Cutting himself a large wedge, he bit into it and his eyes closed in ecstasy, “oh my god” he exclaimed “it’s still warm”. He munched happily totally oblivious of the unset jelly trickling out of the bottom of the wedge and leaving a greasy snail trail down the front of his waistcoat.

“So uncouth” muttered Neil.

“Oy, lads come and look at this,” shouted Peter who had been out through the French doors and into the grounds.

They all walked out and stood aghast at the beautiful lake that confronted them, rows of carefully sculpted willows lined the banks and symmetrical beds of lilies were dotted, at regular intervals on the surface of the flat calm water. Several small islands featured which screamed ‘fish’ to the experienced eye but, what really caught their attention were the wooden fishing platforms spaced at 20 yard intervals along the nearest bank.

Trogg was bent down examining one of the platforms “This is actual mahogany” he declared

“This one has a plaque signed ‘Chippendale’” exclaimed GP57

“So has this one” replied Trogg

“I would like to fish this” sighed Neil dreamily.

“Ask Queenie if she does day tickets” laughed WO.

“So uncouth” muttered Neil.

The tranquillity was broken by the sound of a loud engine coming from some sheds about 50 yards away, a liveried footman opened a door and a young boy slowly drove a quad bike towards the group of anglers walking around his lake.

“Hello” said Lee, as the bike drew level “nice set of wheels”.

“Thank you” replied the lad shyly “it is not very fast though, daddy says it is limited to 4 mph”.

“Does your dad work here” asked GB.

“Sometimes” replied the lad “he is going to be king”.

“What’s your father’s name?” asked Trogg.

“William” replied the lad “my name is George, and I’m 5” he volunteered.

“Yer can’t help your parent’s sunshine” laughed WO “at least you’ve got a set of wheels even if they are too slow”.

“I don’t mind really” replied George “when I am 12 mummy says that my grandad will buy me a Land Rover out of the taxes from the great unwashed. Are you the great unwashed?” George asked RL, looking at the grease stain on his waistcoat.

“Yes he is lad” answered PD

“Thank you for my Land Rover” said George solemnly.

The whole team cracked up.

“What’s the joke” shouted a familiar voice, as Lord Pomp made his appearance through the French doors, crystal champagne flute in his hand and his Topper at a jaunty angle. They explained the conversation between Prince George and RL and Pomp doubled over with tears in his eyes, “that’ll teach you to eat warm pork pie you bloody heathen” he said between guffaws.

A young man in knee breeches beckoned them back into the Ante room where the various spouses had been getting stuck into the Dom Perignon and comparing gowns.

“Her majesty is ready for you now” announced the flunkey, “if you’d care to follow me”.

“If you’d care to follow me” mimicked WO and got a smack round the lug from their Gert;

“If you can’t behave you’re not going fishing at the week end” she hissed.

They filed in to a large state room with an ornate chair in the centre complete with a kneeling stool. The room was lavishly decorated and huge portraits of various ancestors were liberally scattered around the walls. There were various dignitaries, palace staff and several HRH’s milling about, making small talk and trying to put everyone at ease.

WO who was stood at the side of Meghan and Harry heard Meghan exclaim in an aggressive whisper, “keep away from me you ginger ass hole”.

Pomp, who was also hovering, enquired “is everything all right?”

“No” hissed Meghan “this ginger pillock says that my fanny is too big since I had a baby”

WO choked on his champagne, he doubled over, bright red, with champagne streaming from his nose.

“Fook me lass” he exclaimed “I thought I was going to have to watch my language”

Pomp was horrified “Wisey, in America, when they say fanny they mean bottom”.

WO paled “oh sh**” he thought to himself.

Pomp turned to the blushing girl, removed his hat and apologised for the language of his team member.

“Don’t worry about it” said Meghan laughing, “It’s nice to be able to speak freely for a change”.

She looked at Pomp and felt the weakening of her knees as she gazed at the lustrous locks of hair.

“Do you act” she asked breathlessly, whilst desperately trying to remember the ‘skin flick’ producer who had approached her before she met Harry.

“Never tried it” replied Pomp “but I am always willing to try something new".

“Give your number to my secretary when you leave” she replied “and please be discreet”

“Discretion is my middle name” said Pomp, pompously.

In the corner Albert and Winston stood watching the events, Albert stiffened, “Bitches at 2 o clock” he growled; Winston looked round and saw 2 beautiful Corgi’s in the ante room they had just left, they ran through grabbing a sausage each off the buffet and deposited them in front of the blushing girly dogs as gifts.

“That’s my boy” said WO and RL simultaneously.

Suddenly the room hushed as the double doors at the far end opened and the queen entered closely followed by her husband, she took her seat in the centre of the room and smiled at the assembled guests. “My husband and I take great pleasure in welcoming our esteemed guests”.

The Drowners went up in turn to receive their awards with the three knighthoods at the rear of the queue.

Lord Pomp had already been welcomed to the House of Lords and had already made his maiden speech, he therefore didn’t have a medal to collect but he was presented to the queen, who congratulated him warmly. Pomp removed his hat and the queen coloured up a shade of beetroot as she took his hand.

“Look at Gran blushing” giggled Harry to his brother.

“Nice to see the old girl still has it in her” replied William

“Twenty years ago I would have taken a damn horsewhip to him” Phillip muttered savagely to himself.

The room quietened once more as Peter went up and knelt on one knee on the footstool.

“Arise Sir Peter” said the queen after dubbing him on the shoulders with a long ceremonial sword.

“Arise Sir Neil of the Nene” repeated the queen as Neil received his award.

WO went up last and caught ‘that’ look from their Gert that said ‘god help you if you show me up’.

As he knelt at the Queens feet he saw her put down the sword that she had used for Peter and Neil and reach under a red velvet cloth that was on a small table to her left. The onlookers stared in amazement as she removed a gold machete from under the cloth and with a girlish grin she uttered the words

“I dub thee sir Wise Owl of phooking Leeds, arise Sir Wise”.

As WO got to his feet the Queen leant forward and whispered conspiratorially “I’ve read all the Drowners exploits and you are my favourite”.

“Thank you Mam” muttered WO as he turned and went back to his team mates. “What a lady” he exclaimed; “she is so posh she said fook with a P H”.

Everyone rose as the Queen got to her feet and left the room, her husband and the other royals stayed behind to chat to the guests.

“Now then young fella” said Prince Phillip to WO “are you the one that has been working with the Polish angling team”?

“I am sir” replied WO

“How the devil do you tell em apart? What” said Phillip in a clipped accent.

“What” said WO

“What” replied Phil

WO then realised that the Duke ended most of his sentences with what.

“I just call them all Eric” he admitted.

Phillip roared with laughter and clapped WO on the shoulder, “I like the cut of your jib m’lad, what” he declared and walked away muttering to himself “call them all Eric….What”.

Neil found himself in conversation with the keeper of the Privy Purse about the complexities of balancing the household budget, Trogg was having a friendly argument with the chief of security about how best to secure a target whilst on bodyguard duty and Pomp was talking to William and Kate.

“I have read all your stories Lord Pomp” said William excitedly “I like to do a bit of fishing myself, but I rarely get the time nowadays”

“You should always try and make time for relaxation and enjoyment” said Pomp “I always make time for enjoyment” he continued, removing his hat.

Kate blushed and caught her breath “I’m sure you do” she husked. Recovering her composure she went on, “My little sister used to have your picture on her wall and she would give you a goodnight kiss every night before she went to sleep”

“Really” exclaimed Pomp “Is she here today” he asked; scenting new blood.

“No she’s had to take the baby to his Yoga class”

“Shame” muttered Pomp.

Peter found Red Leader, sitting with Peter Drennan and talking about how the time had flown since the first challenge had been extended by Mark Downes and the whole Drowners experience had started.

“Glad I’ve caught you together” said Peter “I have arranged a match for us 2 weeks on Saturday”

“Who against mate” asked RL.

Peter looked smug “the royal household”.

“Which venue?” asked PD

“The lake in the grounds” replied Peter “there are a dozen platforms on what they call the garden bank”.

“That is sheer brilliance mate, you’d better let the others know, and tell them there is an emergency meeting tomorrow night”

The festivities finally broke up and the Drowners Limo’s turned up to take the team to the station where they would get their individual trains home. As the cars made their way to the Palace gates, Winston and Albert gazed out the back window and raised their paws to the two Corgi Princesses.

The next night the team assembled in Peter’s kitchen,

“Good evening Sir Neil” said Trogg

“Good evening Commander” replied Neil with a grin.

“Sounds good don’t it” said GB

Sir Peter looked a bit down in the dumps.

“What’s up with you mate” said RL “you’ve got a face like a slapped backside”.

“Maria’s not talking to me” he replied.

“What the fook you done now?” asked Sir Wise

“I don’t know” said Peter “I just asked if she was taking her gown back to Knightsbridge for a refund”

“My god” said GP57 “how have you managed to stay married so long”.

“What do you mean” replied Peter

“That dress is a memory of the day for her; it’s not just something she wore, it’s a statement” said GP57

At that moment Maria walked in and went to the kettle, studiously ignoring her husband.

“I’m sorry love” said Peter “I think you should keep the dress but we need to start going out more, that dress needs to be shown off and we should also get you a couple more; fancy the Ballet next week”?

Maria melted “that would be wonderful darling” she said happily; “don’t you lot be too long tonight” she added “my husband needs an early night” she walked out of the kitchen whispering as she walked past “make sure you take a pill before you come to bed Sir Peter”.

PD brought the meeting to order, “Right lads, Peter managed to get us a match on the Palace lake, does anyone know anything about it?”

“It certainly looks nice” said Neil “I saw several big mirrors in the margins as we walked round”.

“I spoke to one of the staff” added Lee “he told me that it was stuffed with fish, especially mirrors and Tench”

Trogg spoke up “they used to stock their lakes with carp, for food, in the mediaeval days, the fish in there are probably from the original stocking”

“Sound right up our street” said Georgie Boy.

I’ve been in touch with the Palace” said Pomp and they will not let us have a practice before the event.

“Why not?” asked Red Leader.

“Apparently we are too much of a security risk” replied Pomp.

“Their chief of security is clueless” scoffed Trogg “Me and GB would do a better job”.

“That’s right” laughed GB “Trogg and GB security by royal appointment”.

“Okay” said PD “it looks like we will just have to wing it”,

the team was decided as follows:-

Sir Neil
Sire Wise
Sir Peter
Red Leader CBE
Lee Richards MBE
Grappenall 57 MBE

“What about a bank runner?” asked Neil

“They won’t let us bring anyone in” said PD “there is not enough time for them to run the security checks”.

“Bloody amateurs” said GB “right Troggy”

“That’s right little buddy” replied the big fellow.

“What about you running the bank?” said WO to GB.

“I’ll be too busy looking after you lot” came the reply.

“You mean too busy poncing around in your aviator shades” scoffed Lee.

“No mate” said Trogg, in a serious tone “the security at the Palace leaves a bit to be desired” and I’m going to prove he thought to himself.

“PD and I will run the bank” said Pomp.

“Right, that’s sorted” said Peter “all we have to do now is come up with a plan”.

“We will think better with a whisky” said Pomp.

“Wouldn’t we be better keeping clear heads” whined Peter, he was thinking that once they started on the scotch; his scotch, he wouldn’t get rid of them till after midnight and the tightening in his jeans made him acutely aware of the pill he had surreptitiously popped and the fact that his wife was waiting for him upstairs.

“Nonsense my boy” retorted PG, and helping himself to the decanter, he poured everyone a stiff measure.

“Okay” said Peter, trying to keep the disappointment out of his voice, “does anyone have any ideas”.

Sir Neil broke the ensuing silence with “although I saw some big fish in the margins they did not appear to be in any significant numbers. However, as we all saw, there were plenty of small fish topping and I think we should keep it simple and fish maggot up in the water and try to put together a net of silvers”.

“That’s okay” agreed GP57 “but if the big fish show it won’t take many to beat us”.

“Let’s do a Downsey” said RL. Nine pairs of eyes looked at him.

“How do you mean” said Lee

“Remember in the re match” said Dave “Downsey waited until his team had got 20lbs per man and then tried to nobble us”

“We can’t nobble the royal household” exclaimed Neil in alarm “it could be classed as treason”

“No need to nobble” replied RL “each of us fishes until we’ve got 10lb and then switch to the margins in the hope of some bigger fish”.

“What if they start catching from the off” asked Peter “we would never catch them if we had wasted a couple of hours putting 10lb together”

“I can’t see them being that good” said PD “whereas you lot are the finest match team in the country; have a bit of self-belief”.

They all agreed that Neil had come up with a decent plan and it was agreed; maggot up in the water, 10lb later, corn, meat or pellet down the edge. It was a very relieved Peter who ushered his team mates out at a respectable 10:30pm, locked the doors and then pole vaulted up to bed.

“Is Peter alright?” asked PG as they walked down the garden path, “he seemed in rather a hurry to get rid of us”.

“He was on a fooking promise” cackled WO “did you not hear their Gert.

“No way” said Lee “not at his age”.

The Drowners all stopped as a raised voice echoed down to them from the bedroom of Peters modest 4 bed detached residence.

“Make thyself ready wench, for t’is I, Sir Peter and I come to astound you with my trusty lance”.

The Drowners collapsed in total hysteria, they had managed a lot of laughs since banding together but this took the biscuit. WO was on his back, his little legs flailing the air and his arms clasped round his stomach, desperately trying to get some air into his lungs.

RL and Neil were hugging each other, trying to breathe whilst wiping away the tears at the same time.

Trogg was leaned over the gate, gasping like a goldfish, whilst GB and Lee, in the absence of a hard surface, were banging their heads on Troggs biceps.

The noise of their merriment must have reached into the bedroom above because the light went on, the window opened and Peter stuck his head out “oy we are trying to sleep here” he said.

“What about yer trusty fookin lance” shouted WO.

Although they couldn’t see Peters face they could feel the heat from his embarrassment.

“I knew you were there” stammered Peter “it was a joke for your benefit” he added lamely.

“Okay mate, we believe you” laughed GP57.

As they made their way to the garden gate PG shouted in his finest stentorian tone,

“Service her well brave knight, for we know not what the sunrise will bring”.

Once again our intrepid team were all over the media, fishing frenzy had gripped the nation, the fact that the match was being held in the grounds of the Palace, and therefore not open to the public, did not deter them from congregating outside the gates on the morning of the match, waving their banners and chanting for their favourites, by 6:00am the area around the palace gates was thronged, even though the match did not draw until 9:00am.

At 5:30 the team coach, hired by PD, thundered down the M1 towards the nation’s capital.

“Come on lads; let’s have a sing song” shouted WO excitedly “I’ve not been on a coach to a match for years”

“Shut up yer poof” snapped Lee “I’m trying to get some kip”

“And I’m trying to concentrate on my blog” said Neil, hunched over the glowing screen of his laptop.

WO knew when he was beat and settled down to a game of cards with Pomp, PD and Trogg. £50 later, which was approximately 10 minutes, he threw his hand in with a “cheating pillocks, you make the rules up as you go along”.

“Don’t play with the big kids if you can’t keep up” laughed Trogg.

WO settled down to read the Angling Times. Decorated Hero’s take on the Royal Household was the front page headline. The article went on to say how the Drowners were, arguably, the best team in the history of English Angling and were calling for the current England squad manager to stand down and let Lord Pomp and his team take over.

“Oy Pomp” shouted Owly “they are calling for you to take over the England job and for us to fish the internationals”.

“They have impeccable taste young man, I’m sure we would bring the world championship home” replied Pomp, resplendent in his lightweight linen suit, a freebie from his Saville Row tailor in return for letting him put his name on his website of satisfied customers, and his trademark fedora; he was secretly very anxious to have a few moments in private with an actress, who had married into royalty, later that day.

“Don’t even think about it” said PD “we have only just scraped enough together to make a team never mind a squad. Peter, you need to start thinking about recruiting some fresh blood, it will only take one of you to be injured and we won’t have a team”.

It was a sobering thought and the team spent the rest of the journey in silent reflection, as they pondered over who they could draft in.
At the back of the bus, Winston and Albert curled up together quivering with the anticipation of seeing their Corgi Princesses again.

As the coach turned up the Mall the crowds, lining the sides of the road, all started cheering and frantically waving their banners, through the media coverage that the team had enjoyed ‘Drowner mania’ had hit the capitol. Inside the coach the various members handled the adulation in different ways, WO and Lee loved it and stood at the windows laughing and waving and generally playing to the crowd, Neil and Peter were embarrassed by the adulation and cringed in their seats, keeping well away from the windows but Pomp sat at the front with an imperious look on his face and casually waved his left hand as though this is what he had been born to do.

“Oy Pomp, why do you only wave with your left hand?” asked Lee

“Cos he’s preserving the muscles in his right wrist to help his sex life” screamed WO

“So uncouth” muttered Neil.

“Stop the coach” shouted PD “let’s go and sign a few autographs and promote my tackle”

The coach pulled over, to the delight of the crowds, and a large throng congregated round the doors, WO was first out and the crowd went wild, clapping him on the back, pumping his hand and asking him to sign anything from a Macdonald’s napkin through to weight card from a Fish O Mania final. Lee had gone to the back of the coach and fetched a large cardboard box which he now opened, inside it was full of the T shirts that had his face on the front and the slogan ‘Be like me; put your trust in Cadence, the tackle of the future’. PD nearly had apoplexy when he saw what Lee was doing, “Put that bloody box away” he screamed “we need to revisit the conflict of interest clause in our sponsorship agreement” he said to Pomp.

“Right lads, back on the bus” shouted Pomp “we have a match to win”

“One second my Lord” shouted Neil “I am just helping this young lad access my blog on his smartphone”

The coach turned through the Palace gates and drove around to the lake, “the security here is a bloody disgrace” muttered Trogg to GB “we haven’t even been challenged; keep your wits about you Georgie”

“Yeah, will do” agreed GB.

A huge Marquee had been erected and the Drowners senses were drowned with the smell of cooking breakfasts. A young chap in a liveried waistcoat, knee breeches and buckled shoes came over “welcome” he said “we understand it is customary for competitors to eat heartily before an angling contest. We hope you enjoy the cuisine”

They entered the Marquee and RL thought he had died and gone to heaven; along both sides and the back wall, long tables had been set up in a horse shoe and teams of chefs in tall white hats were busily cooking at a variety of portable ovens, hobs and barbecues. Peter knew that he had died and gone to heaven when he was told that everything was free.

They all heaped their plates with steak, bacon, sausage, kippers plus eggs (fried, boiled, poached or benedict) and sat at the banquet type table in the middle of the room. Young girls in maid’s uniforms came over to take their drinks orders. “Big mug of tea please” ordered WO “and sit on me knee while I drink it” he added.

“Would you like Earl Grey, British Breakfast or Lap Sang Soo Chong” she asked.

“Dave, what sort of tea does our Gert give me?” he shouted to RL.

“Yorkshire mate, but I don’t think they will have any” came the reply.

“We can arrange anything, for our guests” the maid replied putting a lot of emphasis on the ‘anything’.

Winston and Albert had found their Princesses waiting for them in the garden. The two Corgis’ were on leads being walked around the garden by an elderly lady with her hair in curlers and a roll up drooping from her mouth. Suddenly a head was thrust through an upstairs window and a voice shouted down “Lizzy, leave the dogs out and come up, your dresser is here to get you ready for the match”

“One is on her way” she shouted and flipping her fag out in the shrubbery she unleashed the dogs and made her way inside. Winston and Albert wasted no time and they rounded up their ‘ladies’ and took them to the back entrance of the marquee and settled down behind a chef who kept them supplied with a steady stream of sausages.

After breakfast the team walked the banks, “looks good Peter” said Neil “I wonder what the opposition will be like.”

“I don’t know” replied Peter “but I think we are in danger of underestimating them and I am frightened we are going to come a cropper”

“Yes” agreed Neil “I feel the same, I have never had so little preparation for a match”.

“Here they are” said Peter “Pointing to 7 chaps walking towards them; 6 of them pushing Barrows of tackle”

Our intrepid team gathered together and watched the arrival of the opposition.

“They certainly seem competent, if their gear is anything to go by.” Observed GP57

Their whole team was kitted out with top of the range Daiwa tackle.

“Drennan v Daiwa” observed GB “this should be interesting.

The two teams came together and shook hands. “how has the lake been fishing?” asked Pomp hopefully.

The opposing captain, obviously not prepared to give anything away, merely shrugged “okay” he replied.

Just as they were about to toss a coin for odd or even pegs a large party of people emerged from the French door which overlooked the Palace garden; the HRH’s were out in force. The household team immediately stood to attention and gave shallow bows. “As you were men” shouted Phillip “no ceremony today, you’ve a war to win”

“War!” exclaimed Lee “what does he think we are doing”

“He’s living in the past mate” answered RL “he is reliving WW2”

The sun was blocked out momentarily as a tall, younger version of Phillip, emerged from the doors and as he turned his ears cast long shadows which almost reached the water’s edge. He strolled over the manicured lawns wishing each tree a very good morning as he passed and stopping at an ancient oak tree, he wrapped his arms lovingly round the trunk and whispered “hello precious, you are my favourite”.

The Drowners looked on in amazement “fook me” said WO “the rumours about him are true”

“Ayup, this looks like trouble” said GP57 as a large horsey looking woman strode purposely towards her husband. As she got closer she was clearly heard to say “Oy Jug Ears, you promised to stop doing this, it is really showing me up”.

“So sorry Darling, but you have to admit that Oliver looks particularly beautiful in the morning sun”

“Who the phook is Oliver” she snarled

“The tree of course” replied Charles “Olly the Oak”

“This stops now!” Screamed Camilla “or you and I are over”.

Charles burst into tears “Don’t you want me as your tampy wampy any more” he sobbed.

Camilla couldn’t stay mad at him and she softened “of course I do my darling, let’s go back inside and I will prove it, they won’t miss us for 3 minutes”

“Oh are we going for the record then” sniffed her husband delightedly.

“Phook yes” brayed his wife.

The Drowners were speechless; the whole thing had played out in front of their very eyes; and within earshot.

“I got the whole thing on video” said Lee pointing at his smartphone.

“Excuse me sir” said a voice behind him

Lee turned around and came face to face with a huge man, fully 6’ 6” and about 19 stone of solid muscle.

“I’m afraid that I will have to ask you for your phone”

“Trogg!” shouted Lee

Trogg and GB trotted over, “what’s up mate” said GB.

“This chap is trying to take my phone”

“What’s happening” growled Trogg into the big man’s face.

“Who are you sir” the big man asked politely.

“Trogg, the Drowners head of security”

“My name’s Hawksworth” The chap said “Royal Protection Squad” he pulled out his ID and handed it to Trogg.

“This gentleman has been filming a personal interaction between two members of the household. I am afraid that I have to confiscate the phone and take it away to be cleared, it will, of course be returned at the end of the day”

“I’ve never heard anything so stupid in all my life” snarled Trogg.

Lee visibly relaxed and smirked at the RPS man “Nobody gets the better of my mate Troggy” he said smugly.

Trogg looked at him incredulously “I mean you, you imbecile; give him your phone or I will take it off you and smash it into a thousand pieces”.

Lee handed his phone over; “thank you sir” said the RPS officer.

“Really sorry about that” said Trogg “if you want him to sign a non-disclosure agreement I will make sure he comes to see you after the match”.

“Thank you, I will have a generic statement for you all to sign before you leave”.

Lee went off back to the team.

“It’s like looking after a bunch of kids” muttered Trogg to the RPS man.

“Tell me about it” he replied “the HRH’s get so used to being able to talk how they want in front of the servants that they think everyone has the same level of discretion”

“Must be tough” said Trogg sarcastically.

Back at the draw, Peter had lost the toss and the Drowners had been allocated the odd numbers. This did not worry them too much as the pegs all looked similar with no obvious fliers.
A load roaring startled them as an engine started; the noise came from the same shed as the previous week, the Drowners watched and as the door opened they expected Prince George to crawl through on his quad bike.

“Jesus” shouted RL as the quad bike, driven by a grinning Prince George, hurtled out of the shed in a magnificent wheelie and shot across the lawn at 40mph culminating in a series of doughnuts around his horrified parents.

A grizzelled little man, with oil and grease up to his elbows and a large spanner in his hands poked his head around the door.

“Scalper thought that the young gentleman needed some maintenance on his vehicle” he grinned.

“Scalper” shouted WO and the team, all except Lee, rushed over to their fellow forum member.

“What are you doing here” asked Neil.

“Trogg smuggled me in to show how rubbish the palace security is” he replied “I was in the boot of the coach and when we arrived I thought I may as well make myself useful”.

“Lee” shouted Neil.

They looked back and saw Lee lying face down on the grass, rushing over Peter knelt by his side

“He’s breathing” he said.

The HRH’s hurried over and called for a first aider.

“What happened, what!” said Phillip to WO.

“What?” replied WO

“What?” said Phillip

WO remembered the manner of Phillip’s speech and replied.

“Don’t know, your great grandson flew by and Lee collapsed”

William and Kate stood to one side and William, bending down, picked up a stone from the grass.

“Looks like the quad threw up this stone and hit him on the head”

“This wouldn’t have happened if his bike had not been tampered with” said Kate with typical motherly fury.

Pomp sensed what was coming and calmly said “He will be a great deal faster in a Land Rover purchased for him out of the taxes from ‘the great unwashed’”
Kate coloured up and had the sense to drop the subject.

“He has a slight concussion” said the first aider “he will be fine in a couple of days, I recommend he does not do anything physical for 24 hours”

“You will be ok to fish then mate” said WO “you don’t catch enough for it to be regarded as physical exertion”.

Lee just grinned at him sickly.

“Scalper will you fish?” asked PD

“Scalper would be pleased to help you out” he replied. “Can I use your gear Lee?”

The team gathered round Scalper helping him set up Lee’s tackle and Neil went through the team plan with him. WO wandered over to the household team, who were stood in a group listening to their ‘manager’ who, by his body language, appeared to be giving last minute instructions to his team. WO edged closer until he was within earshot.

“Right gentleman” the man was saying “appearance is everything, all banksticks perpendicular to the bank; use your set squares, rollers at 30cm height; you have rulers, keepnets exactly half way up your footplate leg, all elastic to be green.

WO mouth hung open as the list of instructions went on and on and he started to appreciate the captaincy and management of Peter and Pomp respectively. After the manager had finished and left, WO walked over to the nearest of the opposition,

“Fook me mate, that was a list and a half of do’s and don’ts”

“Tell me about it” the chap replied “kit inspection the night before a match and god forbid if you have a stotz an inch out on a rig; he insists on absolute perfection”.

“Do you fish many matches” asked WO

“Oh yes, every week”

“Always on this same lake”

“No, we fish the RAHO league”

“What’s RAHO?”

“Officially, it’s the Royal and Household Operative league, but we refer to it as the Royal and Hangers on league. We fish every week, all over the country at the various palace and stately home lakes”

“What’s your job at the palace?”

The chap looked a little uneasy and shuffled before replying “I only have to fish matches on a Sunday and practice on Tuesday and Thursday”

“What!” exclaimed WO “you’re telling me that you are, in effect, a professional angler, being paid out of my taxes?”

“Well if you put it like that, I suppose; yes, you are right”

“Do all the teams work on the same basis?”

“No we are the only full time team; probably why we are unbeaten in the last 5 years”

“Fook me” said WO and sticking out his hand he said “put it there mate, you’ve wangled yourself a dream job”.

WO went back to the team and told them what he had learned.

“Just what we need” said RL “a team of professionals”.

“Should we change anything” asked Peter.

“I don’t think so” replied Pomp “we have a plan and I think we should stick with it”.

“The problem is” interjected GP57 “our plan was based on the assumption that this team were occasional pleasure anglers and that they wouldn’t have caught much whilst we were amassing 10lb each and after that we should be able to pull away from them”.

The other Drowners looked at Grapp in disbelief, not because of his comments but because no-one had ever heard him string two sentences together and use words like amassing.

“I think we need a radical change in the light of what WO found out” sighed Neil. “GP57 summed it up perfectly and whilst I think that my plan was a good one, in the light of this new information I can’t see it working. All we will achieve is to give them the opportunity of drawing ahead while we scrat for 10lbs, after which we will be playing catch up”.

“Any ideas?” asked Pomp.

The team stood there scratching their heads.

“How do we know that the info given to WO was accurate?” asked RL “it may have been propaganda”

“That’s true” replied PD “did he seem sincere Wisey”

“Yes mate” replied the little fella “and the way their manager was drilling them made it seem realistic”

“We have to assume the info is correct” said Pomp “and we have about 5 minutes to the ‘all in’ to come up with one”

“Can Scalper make a point?” asked Scalper

“Why do you refer to yourself in the third person” asked Lee, who was starting to recover.

“It’s what Scalper does” was the simple reply.

“We are wasting time” said Peter “what did you want to say Scalp?”

“I think you are getting bogged down and allowing them to get to you; you’re already sounding like a team that has been beaten. We should stick to the plan, with one small adjustment; instead of waiting to get 10lb we should change as soon as the next peg starts picking up better fish. In other words use your experience, you are all bloody good anglers and deserve the right to autonomy”

“For fooks sake” said WO “has everyone had a fookin dictionary for breakfast?”

Everyone laughed and Peter said “Scalpers right, let’s fish it as though we were pleasure fishing and, as WO would say, fook it up em”.

“So uncouth” muttered Neil.

The whistle went for the start and 6 poles were shipped out to 14.5 metres as the Drowners began their ‘up in the water’ tactics. Twangs of catapult elastic abounded and the surface of the water, at each odd peg started to boil. Results were instant and the household team could only watch in awe at the speed fishing prowess of the opposition as they netted a procession of small roach.

“Looks like we might be okay” said PD

“It’s early days yet my dear boy” replied Pomp, furtively looking around to see if he could spot Meg. “where are all the royals” he asked, looking at the deserted grounds.

“They said they wouldn’t be out for the first hour to give the teams chance to settle” replied PD

“Nice of them” replied Pomp his tone belying the disappointment he felt.

Peter, on peg 3, was starting to enjoy himself; he had shortened to a top 2 + 1 in order to speed up his catch rate and he was hitting a tiny roach every chuck and settling into a smooth rhythm of swing out, feed, strike, swing in and unhook. Lee, who had recovered sufficiently to run the bank, quickly passed this on to the rest of the team and, with the exception of Scalper, they all followed suit. Scalper was fishing just a top 2 and was catching faster than the others, Lee relayed this back and everyone shortened even further.

“If I fish any shorter I’ll be hooking my socks” declared RL.

“Yer right mate” shouted WO “I’ve got 2 corns and a bunion in my net already”.

Behind every peg stood a liveried footman, the Drowners assumed they were acting as referees until one of the opposition snapped his fingers and the footman approached, listened for a moment before walking over the grass to the palace. He returned 5 minutes later with a mug of coffee and gave it to ‘his’angler.

"Excuse me” said RL to the footman behind him.

“Yes sir” asked the footman

“Are you here to bring me refreshment?”

“Yes sir”

“In that case, could I have a Latte and is there any chance of a piece of pork pie” RL asked hopefully.

“I think I can manage that sir” replied the footman and walked off to the palace.

Once the Drowners realised that they had a servant each the orders came thick and fast and the footmen were kept busy delivering a constant stream of drinks and snacks to our intrepid team.
Thirty minutes into the match, and PD estimated the Drowners had around 5lb of fish each, disaster struck as, almost simultaneously, green elastic streamed from the poles of three of the opposition. In a very short time 3 double figure carp had been netted.

“There goes our lead” said PD dejectedly.

“They are fishing really tight against the margin reeds” informed Lee “I cannot see the bait, it looks black and white but I can’t get close enough to be sure”.

“Keep trying lad” said PG “and make sure the team know they are now playing catch up”.

Lee hurried around the team telling them what he had found out.

“Tell them to have a go in the margins for the next hour and we will see what transpires” said Peter to Lee.

“Strewth, another one that has swallowed a dictionary” thought Lee as he hurried around the lake.

Neil was still getting a fish a chuck but he had been baiting his right margin with corn and micro’s and his left with small cubes of meat. When he received the news he changed to a small dibber rig to number 20 elastic, 0.2 line and 1.8 hook length to a size 14. He had noticed the reeds shaking and even though he couldn’t see any fish, the matchman’s instinct, built up through years of experience, told him they were there. Baiting with a cube of meat and lowering his rig carefully into the 2ft deep margin he almost stopped breathing as the float started to bob and dance. Neil knew this was just ‘carp foreplay’ and the movement of the float was being caused by the fish brushing his line rather than mouthing the bait. The float dipped again and this time he knew that it was a bite, how he knew, he had no idea, people had often asked him, via his blog and in person, how he differentiated between liners and hookers. He could never answer this question as, in truth, he did not know; it was matchman’s intuition, you either had it or you didn’t. He struck and felt the solid thump of a good fish, elastic poured from his pole tip and he plunged the top kit under the water and played the fish to a standstill before slipping the net under a lovely common of about 15lb.

“Oh well done Sir Neil” shouted a flame haired lass who was making her way across the manicured lawns at the head of the royals, who were now coming to join the party.

The flame haired lass made a bee line for Neil, “hello Sir Neil” she said

“Oh please, just Neil” he replied.

“Nonsense, you are a knight of the realm and you deserve your title”.

“And what do I call you?” he asked.

“Sarah will do” she replied “I don’t have a meaningful title since Andrew and split”.

“Anyway, enough of the formal stuff, did you know all the royal family are big fans of the drowners? We read all about your exploits and we all love your blog”.

“That means so much” replied Neil “I put a lot of time and effort into it, it is wonderful when it is appreciated”.

“Right, I am going to sit with you and you can explain your rigs and tell me why you are doing things. I often fish with Andrew and the next time I want to whip his ass” she said with a huge grin

Over on Scalpers peg, he was fishing the margins using bread, laying a foot of line on the bottom he was picking up tench on a fairly regular basis. “Scalpers doing all right” he muttered to himself”.

However, on all the even pegs, huge carp were being caught with alarming frequency; GP57 looked on in dismay as the lad on the next peg slipped his net under his 9th double figure mirror. All round the lake the situation was the same and it was patently obvious that the Drowners were being totally battered for the first time in their careers.

Over in the marquee Trogg and Georgie Boy were watching the match over a cup of coffee.

“Jeez” said GB “there’s going to be some bruised egos on the way home after a defeat like this, there’s only 2 hours left and we must 200lb adrift”.

“Law of averages mate” replied his big friend “it had to happen sometime”.

“Excuse me gentlemen”

Trogg and GB turned, the RPS man Hawksworth stood there looking business like.

“Mr Hawksworth” acknowledged Trogg

“Tony please”

“Tony; what can we do for you”

“You’ve breached royal security by bringing an extra guest into the palace, that is an offence under the Anti-Terrorism Act”

GB paled, any terrorist offences carried big prison sentences and he had no wish to spend the next 20 years in the ‘big house’.

“Do I look stupid” asked Trogg “If you read our guest list, which I supplied to your chief of staff, you will see that Scalper was on it, the fact that he was riding in the boot of the coach is completely irrelevant. All I did was to hide an official guest; your team did not even check the list. They were too concerned about someone in the boot that they dismissed all other protocol; we could have used Scalper as a diversion if we had wanted to plot an attack. You cannot blame us for the incompetence of your team”

Hawksworth blustered, went red, blustered some more and, making a noise like a fart through a wedgie he turned on his heel and went to sack his chief of staff.

“Brilliant mate” laughed GB “I was worried there”

Trogg leant down and gave his mate a knuckle rub on his head.

The whistle sounded and the Drowners dejectedly started to pack away whilst they waited for the scales.

“It had to happen sometime mate” said RL to Peter.

“It doesn’t make it any easier to accept though” was the bitter reply.

“NEIL NO!!!!!” screamed WO and Grapp to Neil who was on the verge of tipping his, un-weighed, net of fish back.

“Make sure you weigh in Sir Neil” shouted PG in a calmer voice.

“Sorry” stammered Neil “just a rush of blood to the head.”

On peg 1 WO wandered over to peg 2 whilst he waited for the scales,

“How were you catching mate”

“There’s no need to keep it a secret anymore” laughed the lad “this lake is infested with snails and the carp pick them off the lily stalks at mid water. We just hook a tare past the bend of the hook and a white maggot on the bend and it is a dead ringer for a snail; unbeatable at this time of year”

“Fookin brilliant mate” said WO, bending down to inspect the maggots that the lad had been using.

“These are the biggest maggots I have ever seen”

“We have them bred in Scotland on wild venison”

“How the other half live” laughed Wisey.

The scales arrived and WO returned 14lb of bits

“Damned bad look young feller me lad what!” said Wisey’s new BFF.

WO could not look as the scales stopped at peg 2, he stood with baited breath waiting for his drubbing to be made public.

“12lb 4oz” shouted the scalesman.

WO rushed over just as the lad was tipping a single common back into the lake.

“Where are yer fish mate” he exclaimed “I saw you net at least 8 doubles”

“They wouldn’t have counted” said the lad “our manager will only let us weigh in perfect fish, any hint of a scab or imperfection and we have to put them straight back”.

It was the same story all around the lake; the royal team were only weighing a fraction of what they had caught, the lad next to RL actually recording a blank although RL said that he’d had at least 100lb of fish.

When they reached Scalpers peg a crowd of royal’s had gathered round as, for the last hour, he had caught a tench a chuck and they were all anticipating a good weight. He lifted a net of pristine, fin perfect tench out of the water and as he tipped them into the weigh sling he turned to the crowd, winked and declared “Scalper did well”

“You did well on my phookin bike as well Uncle Scalper” shouted Prince George “thank you”.

“This is what you get when you let the children mix with the riff raff” hissed Kate to William.

“Don’t be a phookin snob Kate” laughed Fergie.

Meg sidled up to PG and slipped a note into his hand, PG walked away from the crowd and opened it; he read;

I have arranged to accept a part in Seymour Butts new film provided you play my lead.
Call my secretary to confirm

PG smiled to himself, thought of his darling wife and shredded the note before dropping it into a nearby bin. “Can’t have scandal now I’m a lord” he mused

A big cheer went up from the crowd; Scalper had weighed 97lb 6oz and was a clear victor. The teams weights were:-

Royal Household 148lb 12oz
Drennan Drowners 152lb 14oz
The drowners had done it.

“Good job you didn’t tip back mate” said GP57 to Neil, “that would have cost us the match”

Neil paled and realised that a valuable lesson had been learned and never again would he tip back without weighing.

For his victory Scalper was given a large solid gold medal with “Royal Angling Tournament Individual Winner” engraved upon it.

Although the team were pleased, and relieved to have won, the victory was a hollow one, they realised they had fluked it and the mood was quite sombre as they started the long trip back home.
“Come on lads, we still won” shouted WO “Let’s have a sing song, do you wanna be in my gang….he warbled”

Eventually the rest of the team started to join in and when they were about half way home the mood had lifted and even Peter gave a very credible impression of Elvis singing the ‘wonder of you’.

PD shouted for order and, once the team settled down, he made a little speech.

“Right lads, you all agree that we had the biggest battering since Harry Ramsden opened a chain of shops.” There was a general hubbub of agreement; “but” PD continued “we came out victorious, thanks to Scalper stepping in at the last minute and saving the day”

“Scalper was pleased to help” said the grizzled little man in the corner, lovingly stroking his gold medal.

“It seems that we are a very lucky team and things tend to drop into place, but,” he added “we can’t rely on this and we need new blood in the squad. I’m quite happy to continue sponsoring but I would prefer to rely on depth of talent rather than providence. My inclination is that, now, would be a good time to quit; unbeaten and decorated. I discussed it with PG but he wants to carry on,” a muted cheer went up from the drowners, “I have decided; therefore, to drop it into the captains lap”. He looked at Peter and said “you have 6 months to recruit at least 3 new members and get them into shape, if that doesn’t happen then we will wind it up”.

Peter started racking his brains for people, he thought, were not only good anglers but would also blend into the unique dynamic of the Drowners.

Some four months after the match, in the late evening, a blacked out Land Rover made its way through the streets of a Leeds housing estate knocking the wing mirrors off every parked car that it passed. The commotion roused Wise Owl, putting down his Gin and Tonic he looked out of his front window and saw the car approach, then turning into his drive. Placing his machete, within easy reach, on a shelf at the side of the front door he opened it to see none other than his mate Prince Phillip emerge from the drivers’ side.

“Hello me lad, I bet you didn’t expect to see me, what!” The Duke shouted

“What the fook are you doing here” laughed WO

“A matter of national concern” Phil said, gravely. Walking round to the back of the Land Rover he opened the tailgate to reveal two large crates; one containing a litter of Cordales and the other a litter of Coxers.

“Seems like your hounds got busy during the match” laughed the Duke “personally I don’t mind but Lizzie is a stickler for pure bloodlines and she told me to give them to you and that scoundrel…..what’s his name er, er, Dead Leader, what!”

“Red Leader” laughed WO looking at the pups with affection.

“Sykes bring the bribe” barked the duke to the bodyguard in the front passenger seat.

“It’s more a compensation stud fee sir” said Sykes

“Nonsense” exclaimed the Duke “My friend Sir Wise and I like to call a spade a spade, we all know it’s a bribe to keep the secret what!”

Sykes handed the Duke a huge roll of used £50 notes, “£10,000 there” he said and I have the same for your colleague, I am on my way there now”.

“Can I make a suggestion Phil” said WO

“Of course dear boy”

“If you take that money to Red Leader his wife will confiscate it. It is far better if you leave it with me and don’t mention it at all. I will give it to him when we are on our own” said WO crossing his fingers behind his back.

“Oh that’s the way the land lies is it, what! Alright mums the word” he said tapping his nose.

He handed over the second bankroll and got back into the Land Rover; “Lizzie and I expect you and Gert to join us for a spot of salmon fishing at Balmoral next spring what!” and with that he was away, leaving another trail of wing mirrors in his wake.

WO stood with his hand up in farewell, the £20,000 nestling in the pockets of his 501’s, until the royal car turned the corner at the end of the street.
Turning back to his house, he picked up the litter of pups, went through the door and shouted ALBERT!!!!!


Regular member
Site Supporter
Jun 22, 2008
Brilliant yet again Dave , When you retire and get sorted in Ireland write a book Please


Regular member
Site Supporter
Jan 24, 2019
Dave, Thanks for starting my day with a brilliant storey. The rest of the sh*t for today can fook off now(y):2guns: