Double maximum helps Neil retain crown

Ace angler Neil McKinnon retained his Barford Fishery Five-Day Festival crown with an all-round battling performance that saw him come from behind to hit the winning post on the final day by just one slender point.

Ace angler Neil McKinnon retained his Barford Fishery Five-Day Festival crown with an all-round battling performance that saw him come from behind to hit the winning post on the final day by just one slender point.

The Shakespeare Dynamite-sponsored rodman from Gloucester was trailing the pacesetters after three days, but then he leapfrogged over them all with maximum section points on Thursday and Friday to clinch the title of one of the most prestigious tournaments in the country to pocket the £1,300 payout with a score of six penalty points.

Suffolk runner-up Stuart Bracey, fishing for Cross Drove, was well in front after day three, but at the end under the system of the best four of five results counting, his score was seven points which placed him runner-up to win £700 with a superior weight aggregate over two others on seven points - Steve Jackson of Garbalino (£500) and Nottingham's Dave Harper (£490).

After pocketing his winnings, a delighted McKinnon, who had already won the Festival warm-up the previous week, declared: "I feel proud to win this very special event for the second year and I will be back again in 12 months' time hoping to complete the hat-trick.

"This was another superb five-day series and was a credit to the Barford management. I knew I had to win maximum points on the final day to have any chance, and with a bit of luck I managed it."

Match organiser Sarah Thomson added: "It was cut-and-thrust angling throughout the week with up to a dozen rods in the running until that final day when Neil McKinnon won the showdown.

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"Just about every competitor has booked a place for next year's tournament and there is always a place on the waiting list in case anyone drops out."

Elsewhere on the open match circuit, Harleston's Craig Fay won the Weybread Fishery Open with 67lb of mainly quality bream, but the heaviest weekend haul was reeled in by Fox Match Barford winner Paul Ashford of Jewsons with 126lb 14oz, while Rod Finch won at Mill Farm on Monday with 108lb 12oz.

The John Lister Memorial sea match staged in the River Alde estuary at Aldborough produced some stunning small codling catches in the length-for-weight conversion system. Sheringham's Tony Thomas carried off top honours with 19lb 6oz and there were numerous other double figure returns.

Thomas also won the Lincolnshire NFSA qualifier with a total fish length measurement of four metres, while Henry Randall of Cley was runner-up in the junior section with one metre.

Club catches remain buoyant with the highest recorded 102lb 9oz reeled in by CMG winner Roger Taylor at Abbey Waters.

Quality carp were on the increase from all the specimen waters last week with Lyng Kingfisher Club newcomer David Crackling getting off to what might be described as a cracking start with two brilliant fish - a common carp of 36lb 6oz and a mirror of 31lb.

Richard Minns from Caister was only just behind with a mirror of 36lb, to which he added a common of 27lb, while Suffolk's Mike Keron netted mirrors of 31lb 8oz and 27lb 4oz.

Other successes with fish in the high 20s were father and son Stephen and Tony Sparks of Felthorpe plus Kevin White of Norwich, while Steve Davison of North Walsham netted the heaviest bream at 12lb 2oz.

At the Taswood Fishery, Graham Martin of Norwich banked his personal best mirror carp at 35lb 10oz and another Norwich rod Paul Stevens had one of 32lb.

Other notable catches of fish in the high 20s were taken by Norwich regulars Mick Temple and James Topley and Duggie Collins of Caister.

At Waveney Valley Lakes, Suffolk regulars Terry Ellwood, with a mirror of 33lb, and Peter Camp, with another of 32lb 8oz, headed the list.

Others to the 30lb mark fell to Peter Charles of Blofield, Dale Sankey, Halesworth, and Steve Wright and Charlie Glennon from Saxmundham.

Taverham Mill's best was a 30lb 4oz mirror for Ben Smith of Ingham with others to the mid-20s for John Boden, Taverham; George Thorne, Ludham while Clive Humphreys, Lowestoft had the best tench at 7lb 8oz.

At Cobble Acre, where Adams Lake will be closed from 9am Saturday to 10am Sunday, a number of visiting anglers and locals bagged up. Jason Squance had a mirror of 28lb 8oz while locals Martin Howes, Steve Barham and Brian Hewitt netted mirrors and commons to 26lb.

Weavers Way, near Stalham, produced a lake record mirror of 29lb 7oz for Nial Hicks of East Ruston and other fish in the 20s were recorded by Luke Douglas of Filby and Andy Hill of East Ruston (syndicate membership still available 01493 753986).

Swangey Lakes produced its usual crop of 20s for Glen Hales of Attleborough, Phil Smart of Dereham, Simon Allen of Diss and Sam Harrison of Norwich, as well as aggregates of bream and tench up to 80lb.