Up For The Cup by Mike Winney (Parts 3 & 4)

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Simon R

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May 19, 2002
...Part 3 in the never ending saga by Mike Winney

Having beaten the Bogthorpe Herons and Wigstock WMC on their way to the semifinal of the East Anglian Cup, the BAA squad were in a confident mood, as they huddled around skipper Clive Smith's steam radio, waiting to hear the draw, for this, the penultimate hurdle before the final.
'And now,' said the unseen radio announcer, 'here is the draw for the semifinal of the East Anglian Cup.'
There was a pause, as an unseen, possibly dead NFA official placed his hand into the infamous black bag.
'Bristol Brassier and Corsetry Company AC at home to ... Chelmsford Choppers. London Select at home to ... Birmingham Anglers Association.'
'We've got Mumford's crowd,' said Kenny Smith, as he pulled himself up on one arm from his horizontal position behind the sofa where he was recovering from 14 pints of lunchtime bitter.

Clive switched off the radio, having heard all he wanted to hear and apart from that it saved electricity.'What do you think Clive?' asked Kenny Giles.
The big man thought for a while, took a quick gulp from the bottle of red eye and leaned forward.
If we can't win a 24 peg scramble against a bunch of southern wombles, then I'll walk down Evesham high street, starkers.'
Maxie Winters, who had throughout this series established himself as a thinking angler, suddenly removed an enormous gobstopper from his mouth and placed it in his pocket.
'You've got maggots in that pocket,' gasped young Mark.
'It's all right, they can't eat gobstoppers,' replied the Gloucester dwarf, 'too tough for 'em see ... they likes Mars bars though.'
That'll do Max,' interrupted Clive. 'Well, what do we know about the venue, it's the Thames, anyone fished at Groolers End before?'
There was a short silence, followed by a longer one.
'Anyone heard of it?' asked Clive in desperation.
No one spoke.
'It's got to be some sort of joke,' said Barry at length. 'It sounds like the name you would give to the worst venue in the world'.
'We shall make enquiries then,' summed up Clive.

Just as the meeting was on the point of Dreaking up the phone rang and Clive sicked up the receiver.
'It's Mumford,' he hissed, cupping the phone with his hands, to deaden the laughter from the BAA squad.
The Brummies' reaction was one of mixed amusement and shock.
'Ask him how he got on in the Junior National,' said Lloyd.
'Quiet a minute lads,' said Clive, switching the phone on to the intercom, so that everyone could hear the conversation.
'Yes Ray, what can I do for you, I presume you've heard the draw,' said Clive, regaining his composure.
It's about the match, the semi-final, I just want to clear up a few points first, so that there will be no misunderstandings,' stated Ray.
That's okay, what's on your mind?' asked Clive.

'Well, to start with, if it rains, before or during the match, we want to call it off,' said Ray.
'I beg your pardon, call it off if it rains, I've never heard a rule like that before, are you serious? asked Clive. Yes I am serious, it's a new southern rule that we are campaigning to get introduced, if it rains, it means that our tackle will get muddy, and I don't think my team would like that, do you realise that we spend on average 36 hours a week, perfecting and cleaning our tackle?'
'Sorry Ray, I can't agree to that. It's not in any match rules that I've ever come across,' said Clive, looking both puzzled and amused.
'We'll have to take it to arbitration then,' stated Ray.
'You can take it to constipation for all I care, we aren't having that sort of nonsense,' said Clive.
'I'll speak to my solicitors about it, I shall also campaign in the angling press to get this rule brought in, I don't see why we should suffer, do you know how much one of my team's custom built, teak inlaid, tackle boxes cost?' demanded Ray.
'About a tenner?' hazarded Clive.
'420!' Shrieked Ray, 'and for that, he's entitled to some protection.'
'I think you need securicor, not a wet weather clause, in fact the only time Kenny Smith gets his tackle cleaned is when it rains, or when he takes all his kit out and dunks it in the river in his keepnet,' stated Clive.

'Do leave off, I don't have to listen to this cobblers, just be at the venue, on time and correctly dressed,' said Ray.
'What do you mean by correctly dressed? asked Clive,' genuinely puzzled.
'You know perfectly well what I mean, none of this jeans and tee shirts, I expect you all to be wearing shirts and ties,' said Ray and the phone was put down.
'Is he a nutter?' asked Barry, as the other members of the BAA picked
themselves up off the floor, suffering from hysteria and acute stomach pains brought on by laughter. |
'No, I think he's serious,' said Gilesy. 'He's suffering from a dose of STICKIE.'
'STICKIE?' chorused the lads.
'Yes, it stands for Southerners Think Immaculate Clean Tackle Is Everything.'
The meeting broke up in disarray.

As the day drew nearer, the BAA were putting the final pieces of their match plan together. A day's practice had given them an insight into what to expect at 'Groolers' and it wasn't to be a lot. What had come to light was that the venue was heaving with bleak and underneath the swarming carpet of midget herrings there were undoubtedly chub and a few better roach, but bleak were going to win, at least that's what the select team would be pinning their tactics on. Clive picked up the copy of Angling Times and read the preview of the match. The BAA team had been announced and so had the London Premier squad. The big fella scanned the list of names and scratched his head. There wasn't a single member in the select team who had fished in the previous round. (Yes, yes, I know you are only allowed to nominate so many members to fish in a team, but I'm writing this, so I can make up my own rules ... ok?) Why was this, surely the whole squad couldn't have been dropped and a new one selected for this match, thought Clive, as he picked up the phone and prepared to make enquiries with his contact in the deep south, none other than Brawling John McCarthy.

'Clive here, tell me John, what's the reasoning behind a completely new squad for the semi-final of the cup, apart from Ray still being in?
That's easy,' said John, 'none of these lads will fish more than one match, they can't stand it, so they resign.'
Can't stand what?' asked Clive.
'Well, to start with, they have to wear shirts and ties for the match, there's also a kit inspection an hour before the draw and anyone found with a trace of mud or groundbait on any of their kit is flogged and never allowed to fish again.'
'That's incredible,' said Clive. Tell me more.'
'Well, after five matches, he's gone through 53 blokes and they just won't have it now, that's why he never has the same team twice. He means well, but the majority of the good anglers won't entertain it, so he has to recruit anyone who will follow his doctrine to the letter, in fact this squad looks like a replica of 11 Ray Mumfords, you might have trouble spotting the real one.'

At 7.30 am on the morning of the match, the entire London Select squad met at Ray's second floor flat. The walls were papered with pictures of Ray insulting Ivan Marks, pictures of him fighting with John McCarthy, pictures of him suing John Wilkinson, pictures of him ignoring Stan Smith (everyone ignores Stan) and one picture of him winning a match (honest). The squad were impressed. Ray opened the meeting. 'It is important if we are to win this match, that we have a good team spirit, so for that reason, you may all call me Ray, after all, I'm only human. Now then, have any of you ever fished against any of these men before?'
The total silence gave Ray his answer. 'Now some of them are okay. Kenny Giles is quite clean, so is Lloyd Davies, but most of them are little short of animals, especially Kevin Ashurst and Ken Smith.' 'What about Mark Downes?' asked one of the squad. 'Good question,' said Ray. 'I've influenced Mark quite a lot, but he's not a threat, he only owns 16 poles, he's not flexible enough.
The meeting was a predictable affair, with Ray placing his faith in bleak as Clive had anticipated. Ray knowning that this, his fifth squad, was hardly the cream of the south east, in reality, they were hardly the cream of anywhere, Ray knew they could be easily confused, so he kept the briefing simple. So conscious was he of their vulnerability that even when, during kit inspection, he found specks of groundbait in a float tray of one of his squad's teak veneered tackle box, that he only rained obscenities on the fellow, rather than thrash him within an inch of his life. At 8.30 am, the bus which Ray had hired to carry the squad to the venue arrived at the flat.

Clive and the boys had been walking the banks, Kenny Smith had found a pub, with an understanding landlord and had been having a quick snort to put him in a relaxed frame of mind. At 10.30, the London Select transport rolled up and the first squad members alighted, sniffing the air with suspicion, in case they were downwind of any unsavoury Brummies.
Unbeknown to London, the BAA had recruited a 60 year old into the squad for the match and the secret weapon was sorting through his tackle in the car park. On hearing the London team behind him, he had turned round, given them a grin and bade them his customary 'Good morning me duck's.
'AAAAAGGGGHHH!' yelled one of the select squad members ... RAY, RAY, it's him, look who they've brought.'
'Mornin' me duck,' purred Fred.
'Fred Bailey, they've brought Fred Bailey,' muttered Mumford in disbelief.
At that moment in time, the stench of Fred's decomposing groundbait drifted downwind and caught the Select squad's nostrils off guard. Several of them recoiled, one fainted and another leaned over a wall and had an action replay of his breakfast.

The appearance of a Sherman tank couldn't have had a bigger impact.
'Look at his tackle, I've never seen anything so disgusting in all my life,' spluttered out one of the Select squad. 'He can't possibly fish with that reel, it's encrusted with dry groundbait, ugh! It's too revolting to watch.'
Fred, oblivious to the remarks, opened up a bag of three-month-old casters and mixed them into his groundbait bowl, a rusting biscuit tin. Seagulls, homed in on the smell and began circling and shrieking above him. Meanwhile, Ray had ushered his squad away from the gruesome spectacle and was trying his best to restore calm and order.
Clive and the rest of the team came back from their walk, as the officials arrived to commence the draw. London drew odds, Brummies drew evens. The two sides walked silently along the river bank. The first select team man arrived at peg one.

I'm not fishing there,' he stated resolutely.
'Why, what's the matter with it,' asked the steward.
'What's the matter with it, it's muddy you don't expect me to put my tackle box in that do you, seriously, do you?'
'Yea,' replied the steward. 'You'll be wanting me to lay my coat down in that puddle next, so you won't get your matt black waders dirty'.

Eventually, everyone got settled down at their pegs. Ray found himself with Kenny Smith on one side and Fred Bailey on the other, all were in full view of each other. Ray's dazzling collection of floats and poles were laboriously laid out and assembled. Paint and varnish sparkled in the sunshine, as Ray tackled up, with a growing audience of awed spectators behind him, watching his every move.

Kenny Smith on the other hand, showed none of Ray's refinements. On arriving at his peg, he had lifted his tackle box up, turned it upside down and emptied the contents on to the bankside. Selecting a reel, an unpainted piece of peacock and a few shot, he had tackled up in about three minutes. Ray watched in disbelief as he grubbed around in the mud for pieces of silver paper. Eventually when he found the one he was looking for, he unfolded it and extracted a hook length with some difficulty and tied it to the reel line. On the other side, Fred put up two salmon rods, two Mitchells and two massive feeders, with holes bitten out of the side, to speed up their rate of emptying. The seagulls had found Fred already and were wheeling and diving all around him, the smell of his groundbait driving them crazy.
After about 40 minutes, the whistle went and a dozen poles were put into action on the odd numbered pegs. This is what Clive and the boys had expected and they put their plan into action.

On every even number peg, the BAA began to rain in floaters, dry groundbait, floating squalls, a continual barrage. The river lifted with bleak, thousands upon thousands of them boiled on the surface and still the barrage of floating feed went in. For 10 minutes it went on and then the BAA sat back to watch. The bleak rose right across the river and they followed the feed down, too much for them to eat in one go, they dropped further down and further down, as the last one passed peg 24, Kenny Giles breathed a sigh of relief and gave his lucky teddy bear a hug and picked up his beloved waggler rod and prepared to do battle with some chub.
London Select couldn't quite take in what was happening. There they were, all kitted out for bleak, with poles and silly aprons and the nearest bleak was 400 yards away, heading for London Bridge and all stations east.
'Stop blubbering,' yelled Ray, 'and use your imagination.'
The last piece of advice was drowned out by Fred's swimfeeder puncturing the water.

Meanwhile, in a tackle shop in Tudor Road, Leicester, a well known angler, fully conversant with the BAA plan, looked at his watch. 11.10 am. He allowed himself just a trace of a smile, 'pick the bones out of that Ray,' he said to himself.
Casters showered the far bank, as the BAA squad went into action. Eleven wagglers sailed across in hot pursuit. The Select squad were in trouble. Ray never mentioned two swan shot wagglers, two olivettes maybe but certainly nothing of the magnitude of swan shot. Suddenly Fred opened up with five balls of festering groundbait and feeders. The Select team member, St John Berry on the next peg and sadly for him, downwind, tottered as the aroma infiltrated his delicate nostrils. He had always been a sickly child. Fred, seeing that St John was in some distress, turned to him.
'You okay me duck?'
St John tried to put on a bold front, for he knew that Ray would thrash him within an inch of his life with a 10 foot Garbalino, if he fraternised with the enemy. He managed a weak smile.'
'You not catching?' stated Fred.
'It's a bit slow' admitted St John.
'You'd do better if you had some of my stuff going in, I found some casters in my garage I've had for four years ... it was a good year 73, them chub loves em'.
St John weakened and for a millisecond, allowed himself to think of casters that were four years old. It was enough. As he lost consciousness, he fell face first into the river, his head following a stream of vomit downwards.

The crisis came at an opportune moment for Ray. The match was halted, whilst St John's quivering body was dragged from the river. Mouth to mouth resuscitation was called for. Unfortunately, St John was not a pretty sight, so Ray settled for jumping up and down on his chest, until he recovered.

'We'll have a break for 10 minutes Ray, give you a chance to get your squad back together again,' said Clive.
The BAA gathered around Fred's peg and slipped on their Acme portable gas masks.
Anyone caught,' asked Ken Giles.
Two chub,' said Mark.
'One,' said Ken Smith.
'I've had two chub and a small barbel,' said Fred.
'How are you fishing it Fred,' enquired the Gloucester dawrf.
Two maggots on a 10s hook, direct to 8lb line,' said Fred.'
'As fine as that', croaked Kenny Smith sarcastically.
That'll do Kenny,' interrupted Clive. 'Everything seems to be going to plan, just keep at it and we should have this match sewn ud by midday.'
Ray called his squad together, around the still limp body of St John Berry.
'Right, we've been outflanked with the bleak, but at least we know what their tactics are and that's to fish the far bank, except of course for that disgusting little man next to me. He, no doubt will continue to pollute the river with that decomposing poison in the feeder. When you get back to your pegs, each of you loose feed two pints of hemp a rod length out, set up a 16 foot pole and fish a single pinkie on a 20. Now, this is important, so listen. Before you start feeding that inside line. I want you all to mix up five pounds of dry, white groundbait, into concrete type consistency and fill in the far bank swim, that should put paid to their chub fishing. It doesn't matter if it goes way off beam, just get it across the river. If they want to play it rough, they'll remember that we have our own dirty tricks department as well.'
'Great Ray, just great,' intoned the London Select nodding dogs squad.
The match got underway again. The Brummies started to recommence operations on the far bank, when all of a sudden the Select team opened up with their premeditated barrage. The sound of wall bricks hitting the water, brought howls of protest from the Brummies.
'Keep filling it in,' commanded Ray, 'show no quarter, put it all in.'

Now the match was really on.
The select started to hemp it and after an hour of this, some quality roach began to feed and the balance of power was tilted. The Brummies moved to a different line, a third of the way across the river, still feeding casters and fishing the waggler. Fred was oblivious to all going on around him. Every two minutes, he reeled in, filled the feeder, cast it in, catapulted a ball of gunge out and kept repeating the process. Then suddenly his rod end gave that familiar rattle, a sign that the barbel had moved in and were hanging themselves. Fred picked up his rod and beached a fine Thames barbel of 5lb plus. In the time it had taken Fred to land the fish, Ray had played to a standstill a 3oz roach and was netting it, as Fred's feeder winged its way through the air back into the gathering of barbel, slowly amassing in front of him. The rest of the Brummies were struggling and between them had only added a couple of pounds since the fateful Select bombardment had put them out of business.
Ray's plan began to pay off. The hemp had attracted some decent roach and the whole team were scoring well.

Kenny Giles at the last peg had been struggling. In the last three hours, he had only had one small chub and was beginning to despair. He glanced downstream momentarily and noticed out of the corner of his eye a rowing boat, crewed by a dozen dazzling female beauties. Using his natural animal magnetism (Kenny often wondered why dogs relieved themselves on his trouser leg) he summoned the craft of delectable young ladies over into earshot and persuaded them to row up the river, about a rod length out from the bank, a move that would effectively sabotage all the Select's inside swims. Promising them rewards of alcohol at the nearby hostelry in two hours time, the crew were happy to oblige. Such was the effect on the London team, at having this array of young ladies row provocatively through their swims that verbal resistance was negligible. The effect was like a hammer blow, killing the roach stone dead.

Only Fred kept on catching. Fishing the middle, he had the river to himself and the barbel and chub were competing with the mob of seagulls to get at the feed. Fred's score was seven big barbel, 12 chub, two cormorants and a herring gull. He'd also hooked a cruiser that was coming past, but broke off on purpose after half an hour, as it would have taken too long to land.

The whistle went and the weigh in started. Ray was easily top weight for Select, with a fine net of roach and skimmers, weighing 12lb 1oz, with some consistent backing weights, the Select's team weight went 76lb 5oz. Fred on his own weighed in 43lb and the'BAA supplied the balance, plus another 16lb, to make them winners of the semi-final. Nobody could deny it. It had been a fair contest. Both sides had played as equally dirty, underhand and devious as the other.

They retired to the local pub.
The rowing crew were there as well.
'You must be Ray Mumford, said Miss Gloria Flashpiece to Kenny Giles. Before Kenny could deny the serious allegation, Gloria continued, 'I hope we sabotaged their swims like you asked, it was a good idea to get us to come along and distract them and splash our oars in the water, now, how about the 50 you promised?'
A smile broke Kenny's face. 'So, that was it, the rowing crew were laid on by Ray to sabotage the BAA's pegs,' thought Kenny.
'Oh, I'm not Ray Mumford,' said Kenny, 'He's over there and he says he's not going to pay you a penny you ruined the wrong swims'.
'Right, we'll see about that,' said Gloria and she led her 11 strong army of beauties across to where Ray was holding a post mortem.

In a loud voice Gloria Flashpiece addressed Ray.
'You said that if we came along at one o'clock and ruined their swims, you would pay us 50 pounds and we want paying.'
'I don't know what you're talking about,' flustered Ray, as everyone turned around to see what was going on.
'Well, you soon will, right girls, get him!'
It wasn't a very pretty sight seeing Ray being debagged on the side of the river bank and then unceremoniously being tossed into the Thames.
'Well,' grinned Kenny, keeping his secret closely guarded. That'll teach him to organise a dirty trick like that.'
'Look at that,' gasped Clive.
'Where, where,' asked the rest of the BAA squad.
'Look, tattoed across Ray's chest.'
As Ray dragged himself from the river, dressed only in a pair of underpants, emblazoned across his chest were the immortal words.

... The Final Chapter

THE STORY SO FAR: The glorious BAA squad, having overcome all sorts of rubbish in their battle to gain a place in the final of the East Anglia Cup, now face the prospect of fishing the Bristol & Uttoxeter Match Fishing Society for the grand prize of 1,000. Throughout the series, the BAA have had to pull out all the stops, including mastering treacherous tidal waters to crush the Bogthorpe Herons. They have also beaten Ray Mum ford's Select squad in a dirtily contested tactical battle on the Thames. On top of all this, they also put out Wigstock WMC lights on the Rochdale Canal, thanks to a 19lb carp, caught by the Gloucester Dwarf, Max Winters. The lads have also survived such shocks as Kenny Giles nearly buying a round of drinks, the stench of Fred Bailey's groundbait, Kenny Smith actually being on time for a match and Barry Brookes telling a joke ... now read on.

On the face of it, the Bristol and Uttoxeter Matchfishing Society (BUMS) didn't offer too much of a threat to the might of the invincible Birmingham matchfishing machine, in this the final round of the East Anglia Cup. The BUMS squad had been lucky with a series of home draws, where they obliterated all traces of opposition on their chosen venue, Bilberry Pool, in deepest Cornwall, which is about the furthest point from anywhere in the British Isles. Four of the five sides they had drawn against, had conceded the round, rather than face the prospect of driving hundreds of miles to fish in what was rumoured to be little more than a duckpond. Rotherham, the only team to take up the challenge, had done so at their cost.

Having drawn the BUMS in the semi-final, the Rotherham skipper had made the mistake of booking rooms at the hotel owned by none other than BUMS skipper, Billy Knott. The trip was a disaster. The evening meal on the day before the match, was suitably spiked, culminating in the entire team spending the whole of the five hour match, seated on the nearest toilet.

The statutory BAA team meeting at Clive's house, Alvechurch Towers, took place three days before the grand final.
Kenny Giles was first to arrive. Apart from fishing with Clive, he also lived next door. 'Still,' mused Clive, 'It could be worse. I should be thankful it's not Kenny Smith, if it was, I'd apply for a reduction in the rates'. 'Come in', shouted Clive, from the depths of his armchair.
Gilesy walked in, informally dressed in a three piece suit, white shirt, dark tie and polished shoes.
"Evening Clive," said Kenny, looking round the room, as though he had never been there before.
Clive looked at Kenny out of the corner of his eye. Raised a bottle of red-eye to his lips and gulped down the demon brew. He motioned the winner of an Embassy final, father of two and the man of whom Stan Smith once said, 'Kenny who?', to sit down.
'Really Clive, must you always get plastered at these team meetings, why do you do it?'
'I drink to forget', mumbled Clive.
'Forget, forget what?', asked Kenny.
'Can't remember,' slurred the big fellow.

In two's and three's the rest of the squad arrived, eventually nearly all were present, all except Barry Brookes. Barry, who throughout the series has complained bitterly at not being given a funny speaking part, turned up at last, ten minutes late.
(Right Barry, this is your big chance, don't fluff it Enter Barry Brookes stage left).
BB Sorry I'm late Clive, I was in the chip shop and there was a hell of a fight.
KG What happened, was anyone hurt?
BB I'll say, three cod got battered.

(Now you know why we haven't given him a speaking part before).
Thank you Barry', groaned Clive, 'Right down to business, first, what do we know about this team?' The wall of silence that greeted this question gave the big fella the answer he was expecting, as the BUMS had actually avoided fishing anyone, information was a little thin on the ground.

'Right, Kenny', said Clive, 'You've used telephones before, ring up your man at Angling Times and get their team down on paper'.
Kenny dialled a number from his little black book and after a few pleasantries got down to the business in hand.
'Tell me Kevin, do you know what their team is?'
Kenny started to write down the names, then suddenly, mouth open and wide eyed he stopped writing. 'None of these blokes live anywhere near Bristol, are you sure this is the team Kevin?"
The reply was obviously in the affirmative. 'Christ almighty,' said a somewhat shaken Gilesy, I know why they are nicknamed BUMS now, it stands for Brutal, Uncouth Mob of Savages. Gilesy completed his list and thanked Kevin for his trouble.

Kenny looked round the room at the rest of the lads. 'You just ain't going to believe this, read these out Clive'.
Clive glanced down the list and adopted one of the expressions he normally reserves for people who ask him for money or what he thinks the feeder has done for match fishing on the Avon at Evesham.

'Right, listen, I'll go down the list and I want your views, first ... Billy Knott'.
The Pirate of Penzance', gasped Lloyd. 'He's the biggest rogue out, he thinks a four letter word is an expression you use to join two words together, he's an animal'.

'Frank Barlow? offered Clive.
'He's a nutter, I know him well, Frank 'break yer neck' Barlow, good angler, but a complete psycopath. I fished next to him on the Trent and he said he'd pull my head off if I let my float go anywhere near his swim and that was twenty minutes before the start. All he did for five hours was swear and spit at me,' said Max 'I let my float go into his swim once and he jumped in the river and broke my best Newark Needle Float and then he ate my pinweights'.

John McCarthy?' offered Clive.
'Not brawling John McCarthy, another hardcase', offered Barry.
'Malc Fisher', said Clive continuing down the list.
'He's an ex-boxer, listen Clive, its a team of assasins, not anglers', whined Paul (Supertrap) Evans.
The rest of the list was just as full of vicious characters, known not only for their occasional angling skills, but more for their history of mental disturbances.

'Kenny Lott?' said Clive.
'A headcase, nice lad, but a headcase', said Gilesy, 'Only really happy when he's fishing an open ended coca cola tin on the Severn'.

'Clem Waldren?', continued Clive going down the list, which read more like a private army of mercaneries than a fishing team.
'All in wrestler,' said Lloyd, 'Bites the heads of ferrets, when he gets bored with smashing his wife and home to bits'.

'Roy Toulson?' said Clive. 'Another lout, he's on parole from Wormwood Scrubbs for maiming a scalesman in a Notts Fed Open, because he wouldn't give him 12lb 31/2oz when he weighed him in'.
'What did he really have?' asked Max.
'2lb 31/2oz' replied Kenny.

'Gary Evans?'
'Not the Gary Evans, the Welsh Wizard and mastermind of the Cardiff Zombies. He's a bad tempered sod, I once saw him unhook a chub on the Wye and it spewed casters out all over him,' said Max.
'What did he do?' said Max.
'Stoved its head in with a 15 swan balsa float to teach it a lesson'.
'Oh then it can't be the Gary Evans I know', continued Mark, 'He's never caught a chub'.

The remainder of the names on the list, were all associated with mayhem and violence and the strength of the opposition clearly unsettled the BAA squad.
"Call it off, squealed Paul Evans, who had suddenly developed a bigger yellow streak down his back than a canary.
'It's probably just a coincidence', reasoned Clive, sobering up fast. Just then, the phone rang.
'Is that Clive Smith?', asked a broad cockney voice.
'It is', replied the BAA skipper.
'Billy Knott here, how are you doing you big brummy poofter?
'Fine thanks Billy, we're just discussing the final with the squad actually.'
'Good job, just wondered if you and the rest of the crowd of herberts would like a little side bet of say 100 a man?'
'You can wonder what you like Billy, we'll just settle for the 1,000 first prize', said Clive firmly.
'Suit yourself, but you brummie pansies can kiss that lot goodbye, there's just no way you lot are going to beat us,' retorted Billy.
The phone went dead and Clive replaced the receiver and related the conversation to the rest of the squad.

To a man, the BAA were beginning to have reservations about the final, the only man who didn't have any misgivings about the match was Kenny Smith, only because he didn't understand what was going on.
Unlike the previous rounds of the cup, the venue on this occasion, would not be picked by the home side. That honour fell to the NFA. Taking everything into consideration, spectator participation, for a large crowd could be anticipated, location, bearing in mind that the venue should be between Bristol and Birmingham and more importantly a venue where large bags of fish could be caught, the NFA, after much head scratching and consultation, selected the Lancaster Canal "at Garstang. However, the decision was reversed, after a member of the committee actually spoke to a friend, who went fishing and the decision was taken to hold the match at Evesham, which promised to be a more exciting prospect.

When the news of the venue was released, the comments of the respective teams captains, couldn't have been more varied.
'Fantastic', said BAA skipper, Clive Smith, 'Put your money on Brum1
'It's a lousy carve up', snarled BUMS skipper Billy Knott, 'But we'll still give 'em a good 'ammering'.
Neither Clive nor anybody else were quite sure what Billy meant by that last remark, for certainly in the pub brawling and street violence stakes, the BUMS had no equal.

The day before the final, the entire BAA squad walked the banks of their beloved Evesham. How the NFA had ever permitted the final to be held in their own back yard, was a complete mystery, but the BAA weren't complaining, for if ever the outcome of a match was a racing certainty, then this was it ... or was it?

The luxury coach slowly eased its way up the drive to the Mouth Haven Hotel.
'It's arrived dad', said a youthful 171/2 stone Billy Knott Jnr.
'Okay lads, get the beer in first,' said Billy Snr.
The BUMS squad, soon completed the most important job of the morning and with enough alcohol to satisfy a hundred thirsts at a miners' gala, the secondary task of throwing the tackle on the bus was carried out with as much delicacy as Kevin Ashurst performing 'Swan Lake'. When all was secure, the team made an orderly exit from the hotel, where they had been guests for the past two days, a hotel reputedly paid for by the highly illicit sales of cut price Mitchell reels.

When all was loaded, the coach pulled away, laden down with beer, tackle and a squad of anglers who had already been dubbed, The dirty dozen'.
The journey was fairly uneventful, apart from several incidents involving pedestrians and a detour past Clive Smith's tackle shop, which resulted in a hail of empty beer cans being showered on to the pavement, thus stepping up the war of nerves.
The BUMS squad had been booked into the Albany, reputedly one of the finest hotels in the Midlands. The mob alighted and clutching just the bare essentials for a night out, a small suitcase, knuckle dusters and coshes, they weaved their way into the foyer. Having signed the book and had a quick wash and change, the BUMS made their way into the dining room.
"Ere Billy', said Kenny Lott. "ave you seen these prices, they're a bit steep, evening meal, a tenner!'
Hotelier and tackle discounter Billy, adopted a serious attitude.
'Listen Kenny, this place has overheads right? All hotels do, you can't run these places on the cheap, it's not like the tackle trade you know', said Billy, allowing just a trace of a smile to cross his face.
At that moment, a page boy made his way across the room towards their table, Telegram for Mr Knott'
'Over here lad', motioned Billy, 'Read it out will you'
'Er yes, um ... thank you son,' said Billy, colouring up and ushering the lad away and pocketing the telegram. Could this have been a vital clue to where tackle pirate Billy was obtaining his hardware, direct from the manufacturers?
'It's someone playing a joke,1 laughed Billy, dismissing the issue and slurping a pint, to wash down the remnants of his pate de foi gras.

The venue on the morning of the match was filling up. At least 9,000 people had paid to come and watch the final. Even the TV cameras were there and the now infamous Ian Woolgrudge was giving a commentary on the action and build up to the match.

The draw, had resembled the weigh in at a world heavyweight contest between Ali and Foreman. Billy Knott, Clem Waldron and Frank Barlow had been the front men for the BUMS and had shoved and jostled the BAA squad from the start. At the moment, Frank Barlow was standing in front of Barry Brookes and without removing his eyes from Barry's terrified gaze, produced a set of wagglers from his pocket and commenced to eat them, periodically spitting out lumps of chewed, pulped sarcandas over other members of the BAA squad who were in spitting distance. Paul Evans, Max and Gilesy had taken refuge in their cars and were shaking more than Fred Bailey's rod end, with a barbel hung on the other end. To continue with the war of nerves to unsettle the BAA, other members of the BUMS squad, were squashing swimfeeders flat in their hands and wrapping banksticks round startled NFA official's throats. The crowd loved it and thought it was play acting, so far no one had been injured, but there was still plenty of time.

On the way to their pegs, the war of nerves was stepped up. The BAA squad were jostled and insulted, so much so, that everyone was relieved when they gained the relative sanctuary of their pegs.
The draw had put Maxie on the 'white post' one of the star draws and a peg from which Max had won a potful of money. One above the bridge, a peg known to hold massive ringstripping chub, was drawn by Frank Barlow, a man with more than a passing acquaintance of dealing with such eventualities. On paper, it was a fair contest.

The crowd settled down to watch and only a handful of people didn't crowd to the river bank, they were gathered round one of the tackle stands, where Walter Bower was trying hard to convince people that the Newark Needle Float was the fishing system of the future.
'I'll show you,' said Walt, poised over his now famous test tank full of floats. The needle float, sinks deeper and stays under longer than anything else, now watch this'.
Producing his now equally famous lump of wood, he smacked all the floats at the same time to make them submerge. The needle float sunk deeper and stopped under longer than any of the others.
There,' said Walt. 'What do you think of that?'
'Great mister,' said a little urchin with his backside hanging out of his trousers, 'only trouble is, fish don't jump out of the water and land on the top of floats.'

The crowd sensing that this match would not be won by the faint hearted, were breaking up into groups to watch the action. The largest group were gathered around pegs 1 and 2, where the Gloucester dwarf had drawn next to the Stamford Strangler, Clem Waldron. Another confrontation which promised to be something of a blood bath was on pegs 17 and 18, where Billy Knott had been drawn next to the diminutive Starlet, Ted Farmer.

Frank Barlow, pegged on the bridge, was setting up. The peg on his right was still vacant. Suddenly a crowd of spectators started to move towards him. 'Gilesy's army', was on the move and leading them, none other than their hero, Kenny. At peg 19, Kenny and his entourage came to a halt. Carefully placing his tackle in his peg, he looked up and bade Frank Barlow a courteous 'Good morning'.
'Get stuffed yer poof, growled Barlow, as he slipped a 2 dust stick float onto his line.
Take no notice Kenny', shouted a member of the crowd 'He's just an animal'.
Barlow moved with the speed of a rattlesnake up the bank, 'Who was that, I'll kill yer', he screamed, glaring into the massive crowd. The crowd wavered, but held ranks and Frank slunk back to his peg.

The BUMS team policy was a simple one ... fish the feeder, a method which for two years had dominated the Avon. Conversely, the BAA had opted to fish the stick and waggler, for whilst the feeder would probably win the match, it would only produce for certain pegs. The ideal feeder peg was Barlows, but no one had fished the float at that peg for the past two years.
Graham (I'll knuckle yer) Barry, who had, because of his ability to move rat-like from peg to peg, been given the opportunity to act as 'runner' for the BUMS team, was now hot foot on the way to peg 18, where Billy Knott was tackling up.
Take 26 off that bloke will you Graham?', said Knotty, 'I've just sold him two Mitchell Matches'.
Graham took the money off the man in the crowd and being the manager of the famous Marks and Marlow tackle shop, marvelled at how Billy could sell two reels of that calibre for that price and still make money.

'We've got a crisis Bill, Barlow refuses to fish the feeder', said Graham.
'What?', yelled Billy.
'He just refuses', repeated Graham, 'he says he's going to annihilate Giles on the float and furthermore he's going to fish the caster'.
Billy Knott jumped off his basket and raced along to peg 20, where Barlow was raining obscenities on the ultra cool Giles.
'You're finished Giles, finished before you start, today you've a proper angler next to you, not one of yer normal fairies, if I was you I wouldn't bother fishing, leave yer tackle there and come and watch a master at work.'
Gilesy was unperturbed by Barlow's outburst, he'd heard it all before.
'What's your game Frank?', asked Knotty, 'You know the team tactics'.
'I'm not fishing the plastic pig', growled Barlow, 'I'm a Trentman see and Trentmen don't fish the pig, anyway, I can hammer this poof on the stick, so get stuffed before I come up there and reorganise your face.'
Knotty, not one to walk away from a brawl looked long and hard at the big Nottingham angler.
'Okay', he said at last 'But if we get beat because of you, I'll set Clem Waldron on to you.'
Barlow never flinched. 'I'll bite his head off.'
Knotty slowly made his way back to his peg, still finding time to sell another Mitchell reel to a member of the crowd.

At one minute to eleven, the PA system crackled into life. 'Gentlemen, you have one minute, this is Stanley Smith speaking'. Immediately there was a loud roar of boos from the good natured crowd. Thank you very much', said Stan 'Like it or not, I have been appointed to act as referee for today's event, if anybody leaves his peg during the match, he will be disqualified, is that quite clear ... in 50 seconds I will be blowing the starting whistle.'

True to his word, at 11 o'clock precisely, Stanley blew his whistle and within seconds, 11 swimfeeders hit the water, in unison, as did 13 stick floats. Ted Farmer for the BAA was the first angler to contact with one of the many chub in the stretch, a fish of about 1lb, from the end of his swim, almost under Billy Knott's feet. The chub made to go downstream and Billy, quick as a flash, hacked at Ted's line, which was in reach of his landing net handle, an implement festooned with weed cutting blades. A loud roar of disapproval came from the spectators, as it was, the deadly flashing blade missed the line and Ted hustled the fish to safety and duly landed it.
'What's the matter with you lot?', said Billy innocently, as the crowd continued to show their dissent of his tactics. "All I was doing, was clearing some weed from my swim'.
There is no weed in your swim', pointed out one of the crowd.
'Yes I know,' said Billy. 'I was just clearing the last bit away when you lot started shouting at me, leave me alone'.
'You dirty swine' yelled Ted Farmer. 'Pull a stunt like that again and I'll come down there and stuff a cut price Mitchell match right up your port hole.'
That was the last straw, Billy, heavily under pressure from the strains of organising the past few days, put down his rod and stormed down the bank. Ted Farmer, like a rabbit transfixed with fear by the imminent attack of a weasel, stood rooted to the spot.
Knotty advanced through the mud and water and grabbed the startled Ted by the throat and proceeded to go a fair impression of one man drowning another. The brawl stirred the crowd into action and several spectators realising that it was for real, jumped down the bank and broke it up.

'Let me through, let me through,' said Referee Stan Smith. This is disgraceful, right Billy Knott, you're disqualified for leaving your peg'.
Billy trudged back to his peg, still mouthing abuse at the crowd of hecklers on the top of the bank, he was finally silenced on a BAA supporter who shouted above the din 'Get Knotted!' 'Not very original, but none the less, effective.
Stan followed the Pirate of Penzance back to his swim, where he was seen to be having words with the notorious Knotty. All the crowd could glimpse was pound notes and a reel changing hands. Even in defeat, Knotty was a shrewd operator and Stan not one to miss a bargain.

Further down the match length, the Gloucester Dwarf was giving the Avon chub all sorts of problems and in his last dozen casts, had missed one, bounced one and landed four, all good samples in the 11/2lb bracket.
At the next peg, Clem Waldron (the Stamford Strangler) was starting to panic. So far, he hadn't even had so much as a flicker on his tip, as his feeder pointlessly emptied another cargo of maggots on to the deserted riverbed. Max, on the other hand, was fishing at half depth in nine feet of water, loose feeding bronze maggots and the chub were coming up off the deck, looking for the bait. The resident fish population had been given such a clogging over the last two years, on the feeder, that loose feed dropping through the water was a novelty they couldn't resist. It made a change for them, after being used to finding their maggots gift-wrapped in plastic on the bottom.

Clem, not grasping the significance of this last remark, chose to ignore it. Maxie was now getting into his stride and again he sunk the hook home into another chub and stood up on his basket to get a clearer view of the river over the top of the rushes.
Clem was now at least 8lb adrift and just as he was about to commence operations on the float, team runner Graham Barry slunk into view. 'WHAT ARE YOU DOING?', he spelt out slowly and menacingly 'Get back on the feeder or you'll get some knuckle who gi' yer that float anyway stick on the 'pig it'll work, Kenny Lett's getting 'em'.
Meanwhile, above the bridge, a huge crowd was gathering. Barlow v Giles was becoming a battle royal and the super cool Gilesy was justifying his reputation, landing 7 chub to Frank's 5

True enough, Kenny Lott was getting them. Fishing an open ended Ovaltine tin, Kenny in his last cast, had the distinction of landing two chub, one on the hook and the other with its head firmly wedged in the massive feeder.

Kenny's waggler cocked to its capacity as the tell tale shot sank and then his float just sank down a hole in the river. He tightened into the bite. The chub, a very nasty, bad tempered fish in the 4lb battleship class, tore off for the far bank.
CCRRAAAACKK! Kenny's float shot back through the air and such was the ferocity of the break-off, that his float, half his terminal tackle and 25 yards of line wrapped itself round his rod end and surrounding bankside foliage.
Frank Barlow was not one to let the incident pass without comment. 'If you won the Embassy final Giles, then I'll fish for England!'

In the gallery, Stan Smith, England team manager, took out his now famous green notebook and under the column's 'promising newcomers', entered Frank's name, along with the comment, 'will need aggression and ruthless will to win knocking out of him'.
Gilesy struggled to sort out the vicious tangle his tackle was now in and in frustration, he snapped off at the reel, collected the tangled mess and started to re-thread his line. Just as he was getting to the last ring, a sharp eyed youngster in the crowd called out, 'Hey mister, you've missed the butt ring out.'
At this stage Kenny was nearing boiling point and when he looked up to see Barlow netting yet another chub, he blew his main gasket for the first time in his match fishing career. He threw down his half assembled float rod, picked up his feeder rod, which he had hired off Lloyd Davis for a small fee, fumbled to fill the 'pig' with maggots, cast out and cringed when it landed with a big ugly splash. Letting the feeder rod now fish for itself, he continued to retackle his waggler rig.
'I've done you Gilesy', yelled Barlow, gently easing another chub into netting range.

Whilst Kenny was adding the final shot to his tackle, his quivertip arched over. He dropped his float rod, picked up the feeder rod and was amazed to feel the satisfying 'bump' of a bigger than average fish. The frowns and wrinkles left Kenny's face as he netted his fish. A sudden change came over him and he now discarded his float rod and with fumbling excited hands, refilled the 'pig', cast out and no sooner had the feeder settled than ... tap, tap ... wallop! Kenny turned to the crowd, gave a huge grin and said 'I could get to like this'.
'Don't Kenny', shouted one of his faithful admirers, 'Its like a drug, fishing the feeder, you get addicted, put it away, before you become hooked'.
But it was too late, 'feedermania' had struck, at last Kenny had discovered the joys of fishing the 'pig'. As it turned out, he was two years too late. The trim of the Avon was about to alter again. From now on the float would rule as Max, Clive and Barry were proving in the match, each of them having between 16-21lb ... all on the float.

The final whistle blew and the BUMS had gone down fighting, but not in the literal sense as the BAA squad had originally feared.
Frank Barlow had won the match on the float, with 23lb 7oz. The next three places went to Max, Clive and Barry and the newly blooded feeder mechanic, Gilesy, was 5th with 17lb 14oz.
The final count gave the Brummies the top overall weight and at last they had clinched the East Anglia Cup. The massive crowd voted it a huge success and even Billy Knott, the tackle pirate, patched up his differences with young Ted Farmer.

After the champagne reception and presentation was over, Clive and Kenny were seen to be in deep conversation.
'I tell you Clive, it's great fishing the feeder', enthused Kenny, 'You cast out, ignore the splash, wait a minute or two, then wham! the rod end goes round, it's really exciting, I wish I'd gone into it before. In fact I even went and bought two new Mitchell Matches off Billy Knott, to go with the two feeder rods I'm going to make, by cutting down my float rods.'
'Listen', said Clive, 'I'm your buddy, right? I own a tackle shop, right? so why don't you buy your reels off me?'
They're so cheap Clive ... 26 for the two', confided Kenny.
Clive took a long, hard drink from the bottle of red-eye and looked Kenny straight in the eye.
'I wouldn't mind really, but the ironic thing is, who do you think has been supplying Billy Knott with all his illicit tackle for the past three years, it isn't the manufacturers'.
I've no idea Clive, who?' asked Kenny.
'ME, THAT'S WHO', said the big fella, fighting back the tears.

Thanks again to Rick for the originals[;)]



Regular member
Nov 23, 2002
I well remember the series involving the Notts side of the 70's, always started with that peice before the rest of the mag was consumed

Simon R

Regular member
Site Supporter
May 19, 2002
I think the series starring Notts Fed was the second one

I've only got one episode, which I posted a while back:

Still waiting to see if anybody has got any old back issues from October 1978ish



Regular member
Site Supporter
Jun 25, 2009
that was a great read simon,really enjoyed it,i occasionally see kenny giles in my local tackle shop,i must chat with him one day,i reckon he,d have loads of stories to tell.I remember fishing against Kenny,clive smith, barry brookes etc in the late seventies in the first ever open at arrow valley lake in redditch,huge weights were predicted, unfortunately on the day we had severe gale force winds and it was like fishing the atlantic,all i can say is on the day i matched these big names,most of the field blanked!!!! for the record tony evans won it with 7lb something.Great experience though.[:T]


Regular member
Site Supporter
Jan 25, 2005
throwing the tackle on the bus was carried out with as much delicacy as Kevin Ashurst performing "Swan Lake".
brilliant !
regards 2TS
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