National legends go head-to-head again

There was a distinct air of d�j� vu at the Cobbleacre two-day match festival when two anglers who had battled for honour and glory at a national championship towards the end of the last century repeated the neck and neck finish.

Fishing for Suffolk county in a Division One National on the rivers Great Ouse and Ca, Rod Finch and Jim Randell finished champion and runner-up, winning four-figure cash prizes.

Such magnificent sums were not on offer at Cobbleacre last week but the rivalry between these two veteran match stars was revived.

'Rod Finch never allows me to forget he beat me in that national. Now I've got to put up with it all again, but I would have won this latest set to if it had been decided on points,' declared former England international Randell, who finished with a two-day aggregate of 74lb 4oz, just 12oz adrift of Finch with 74lb 12oz.

On day one, Finch caught 58lb 6oz from Amy's Lake while Randell netted 49lb 8oz from Adam's Lake.

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On day two Randell was third with 24lb 12oz but Finch stole home with 16lb 6oz to pocket �110 prize money.

The popular Joe Alden Memorial at Barford was another success for Vince Cross, of Ixworth, who heaved out 100lb 12oz of carp from Colton to repeat last year's victory.

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Cross Drove produced magnificent results with Bruno Norman (Kev's Tackle) landing the midweek prize with 108lb 12oz, while Tim Cole (Ouse Valley) headed the Sunday card with 133lb 10oz.

Mattishall's catfish specialist Chris Hawkins winched out a 44lb monster from Waveney Valley, while the top carp there was a 38lb 8oz common for Suffolk's Pete Castle with Brundall's Peter Charles bagging five 20s up to 28lb 3oz.

The best at Taswood was a 35lb 12oz common for Kevin Cook of Essex, Jason Stamp of Caister netted one of 31lb 14oz and Ben Armitage of Tibbenham had another of 30lb 4oz.

Other successes with fish between and 20 and 30lb were Geoff Greenaway (Hempnall), Karl Wright, Julian Miller and Guy Sherwood, of Norwich, Chris Brown, of Horsford, and Darren Stamp (Caister).

• The vital importance of maintaining a healthy working relationship between anglers, the farming community, the Environment Agency, fishing tackle dealers and the local angling press was emphasised at the annual gathering of the Norwich and District Anglers' Association.

Chairman Tony Gibbons, who welcomed officers and guests to the annual event, especially thanked David Ritchie, who farms the land abutting the NDAA banks on the tidal rivers Bure and Thurne, and the EA's Steve Lane, who represents the consultation link between flood relief projects and anglers' requests to free up more access on the tidals.

'Mr Ritchie has provided us with ever-improving car parking facilities and footpath. We have responded by persuading our anglers to become litter conscious and ensure farm gates are closed behind us. On behalf of our anglers I thank Mr Ritchie for his work as our president.

'We also recognise the benefits derived from the EA's projects and I welcome Steve Lane, who has always consulted us before the commencement of any flood relief programme. As a result, we have more angling bank space than ever and this benefits tourism and our local economy.'

Mr Ritchie, responding, said: 'I admire the NDAA, whose members have displayed great responsibility and consideration on our farm. I shall continue to help you wherever possible.'

On the down side, Gibbons said he was greatly concerned about the lack of young anglers coming in.

'Junior rod licence sales are down nationally and locally by several thousand and that means that coaching schemes have failed.

'Somehow we have to instill in youngsters a want to go fishing rather than showing them how if the desire is not there,' he said.

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