I took over the Green Un column 13 years ago on a temporary basis when Colin Dyson took ill (actually writing it under his byline) and with it came a responsibility for the Championship. Alas Colin never recovered and so I inherrited the lot.
The Green Un is the UK’s largest selling regional sports paper, probably one of the very last of a dying breed – the Saturday night football specials. It has been around for more than 100 years and once had a circulation in excess of 250,000. Indeed the football results and match reports used to be carried from football grounds by carrier pidgeon to the offices in Sheffield. Can you believe that in these high-tech days?
As an ambitious club match angler I always used to try and fish the Green Un final. What a match it was. 200 competitors, mostly on the Trent, with a jackpot payout at stake, normally put up by one of the big breweries. The top hundred highest winning club match weights of the summer and winter seasons made up the lucky 200. Although it’s a match I never won, I did finish in the top ten and could have won it one season when I lost a big carp at the net. They were halcyon days.
When I took over club match fishing was on its knees. The mines had closed, the steelworks shut down and just for good measure our rivers were in steep decline. That first year I struggled to attract 40 entrants a clear indication of how low club match angling had sunk.
But I soldiered on, giving every encouragement I could and fighting for column inches in the paper. Jack Purchase was a fabulous sponsor but the decline in his holiday business meant I was soon on the lookout for new backers. That’s when I got lucky, I guess. I sat down and worked out a deal with Tony Flint of Climax Tackle (www.climaxtackle.com/) and the competition has never looked back.
I like to think it’s a win:win situation for everyone, Tony, me the newspaper and the anglers alike. What I do know is that he generously stumps up £5,000 each year in tackle vouchers, provides T-shirts for all the semi finalists, plus goody bags, treats everyone to food and drink at the final and still wears a smile on his face!
In the early years the final was just that – a one-off match. But like Topsy’s nose it just grew and grew. Suddenly we needed a way to reduce the number of finalists whilst still giving everyone a fair crack at winning the Colin Dyson Memorial trophy. So we introduced a semi final.
Every single angler who wins a club match in the paper’s circulation area can submit an entry form – usually it’s the match secretary who does it. He or she (yes, we do get a few ladies) then qualifies to fish a semi final. This year we have over 250 qualifiers and the match will be staged at Lindholme Fisheries on Monday 4th May, 2009.
To keep things as fair as possible we split the match into 20 sections and it is the section winners who go through to the final. You can finish with the second highest weight of the whole day in the best section and fail to qualify whereas you can draw the worst section and still get through.
The final will be fished on Sunday 17th May, 2009, at Wold View near Market Rasen. We’ve used the venue for the past three seasons because it is an absolute cracker. A real Wembley for us.
Each of these matches gets a double page photo spread report, in colour, in the paper. We get a full page every week of the year, too, which is comparable with four out of the region’s six football clubs, arguably better because our season runs for 12 months, not nine.
So,if you’re a club match angler living in the circulation area of the Green Un, That’s Sheffield, Rotherham, Doncaster, Barnsley and Chesterfield and you would like to see your club’s results in the paper and who knows, fish in the semi and final matches, all you have to do is submit your match results to me. I’ve shown an example of the entry form below but if you contact me I can send you an electronic template. Entry is completely free and there’s a prize pool of around £7,500 with one lucky individual walking off with £2,000.
It’s not a competition for the Ringers, Scotthorne’s and Pickerings of this world, it’s for club match anglers. Rest assured if I spot any gunslingers among the entries they will be disqualified. It’s a competition for the average Joe, not the superstars, so come and join us.
And don’t forget, you can email pictures to the same address. I always try and include headshots of the top performers in any given week and although I have an extensive library of pictures of the region’s club match anglers, new one’s are always welcome. It’s nice to have a few catch shots, too, or better still, those embarassing moments when someone breaks a pole or falls in. We like them best!
Green Un Club Match Angler Championship
Email Entry Form
Please complete this form and send it to Bob Roberts at:
Name of club/ Town:
Club Secretary/ Match Organiser:
Address and Telephone Number:
Number of Competitors:
TOP 6 ANGLERS
Please help me by including angler’s full names, weight and peg number.
1. Bob Roberts 45-12 (Peg 10);
2. Fred Smith 45-4 (Peg 6);
3. And so on…
Now try and give me a story to work with. What did the winner catch and how? Feel free to include details of methods used, baits, tactics, size of fish, whether he caught early/ late and do feel free to tell me about any unusual or funny incidents, comments, etc. Try and give me an idea about what happened – father beat son, somebody’s birthday, who fell in, broke a pole, lost 15 fish, missed the bus, got lost – anything that keeps the column interesting and lively:-