Anderson still the king of the Wensum

Wayne Anderson in action on his way to winning the Angling Direct title for the second year running

Wayne Anderson in action on his way to winning the Angling Direct title for the second year running. - Credit: Archant

Wayne Anderson, one of Angling Direct's brightest stars, was crowned King of the River Wensum League at the end of a cliffhanging fingernail job that saw him successfully defend the title he won last year on this fabulous urban venue.

The reigning champion lined up in the same section as the morning leader Steve Borrett, who was one penalty point ahead but trailing on aggregate weight.

And at the end of five hours of time and motion speed fishing among shoals of tiny roach, the top two were level on nine penalty points apiece – angling's equivalent of a photo finish.

But Anderson, thanks to his 34lb bream haul in the penultimate round, was judged champion with an eight-match aggregate of 111lb 12oz to Borrett's 84lb 7oz – a victory that made him richer by some £500.

Recalling the tense tussle for supremacy along the famous Riverside banks, the 39-year-old champion said: 'The river was running clear and I decided it was a roach day.

'There were legions of tiddlers available and pegged within sight of Steve I knew I had to catch a lot of them to win.'

Borrett, a previous winner of this tournament, was magnanimous in defeat and congratulated his opponent.

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'Wayne is the most dedicated and versatile young match angler on the banks today. He has age on his side to go far and deserves success.'

Pete Swan, the Angling Direct match organiser, said he was hugely satisfied with the series.

'The weather has been kind to us and I am already negotiating with the city council to stage the tournament next year,' he said.

As if the thrill of that chase was not sufficient to stir the emotions, another drama unfolded at the Barford Winter League, whose penultimate round was staged on the Willow, Pleasure and Railway lakes.

And although the top five returns were weighed in on the Willow, it was section performances that held the key to transforming the league table into a tight top-four finish divided now by only five penalty points.

Dave Jarvis (Daiwa AD Gold) set the standard with 81lb 3oz from Willow peg 9.

Jim Brooks (Matrix) bagged 80lbs from peg 12, Paul Ashford (Barford) 75lb 5oz from 16, Richard Bond (Browning Hotrods) 68lb 9oz from 3 and Will Freeman (Sax Angling) 61lbs from 1.

On the team sheet it was Barford Tackle headed by section winner Ben Smith who tossed the proverbial bricks into the swims of the favourites by winding up with a brilliant score of 13 penalty points, followed by Daiwa AD Gold 16 and Matrix 17.

Thanks to a section maximum from Tim Nash, reigning champions Hotrods still head the table with 103 points, followed by Matrix whose top section scorer was Warren Martin, with 104, Daiwa AD Gold on 107, then Sax Angling whose team skipper Daniel Brydon boosted their score to 108.

Weather permitting it's likely to be a fascinating battle for the title in two weeks' time.

n This week the River Wensum appeared to be in perfect condition to stage its two-day winter pairs and individual championship at the weekend.

The event will be divided by the Lenwade Mill, the top side an unknown quantity being pegged for the first time.

The draw is at the Bridge Inn at 8.30am and entries to 01603 400973 close tomorrow night.

Next up on March 13 is a last chance open event on the River Thurne at Martham (01603 400973), then it's back to the Lenwade Bridge fishery for a pike challenge on March 15 (£20), draw 8am, deadbaits only. Peter Bunn, 01603 872248.