An experienced field of around 160 competitors arrived in Warwickshire last month in search of the catch that would net them a trophy at the 2016 RailSport National Angling Championship.
Competitors cast off at 10am on 17 August across the vast Makins Fishery site in Wolvey, which has become the championship’s favoured venue in recent years.
The bright summery weather, although pleasant for anglers, made for a difficult day’s fishing, but a couple of 100lb plus catches were recorded to clinch the top two positions.
Kevin Melville of Network Rail, who regularly represents Great Britain in USIC angling events, won his second National Angling Championship title with a weight of 109lb. Darren Wayte, of Bridgeway Consulting, ran Kevin close but ultimately came up short with a weight of 103lb 5 oz.
Rather than being judged on weight, as is done in the individual tournament, the team competition uses a point system. Each member of the four-man team fishes in a separate section. The angler who catches the greatest weight in each section is awarded one point, with second receiving two points, third three points and fourth four. The scores are then added together and the lowest combined total wins. The overall weight is only taken into account in the event of a tie.
Kevin, alongside David Dawber (Network Rail), Rob Dawber (Northern Rail) and Darren Smethhurst (Northern Rail), also took the winner’s trophy in the team competition ahead of LM Old Boys – Alan Wright, Dave Lewis, Terry Lancaster and Les Overmass – and Central Trains – Ian Winter, D. Siggars, Dave Lightowlers, Jim Clewes.
Organised by Iarnród Éireann (Irish Rail) chief executive David Franks, the angling championship continues to be one of the most popular annual events on the RailSport calendar.
Says David, ‘The event ran really well thanks to the super support of Alan McDiarmid, the fishery owner, and colleagues from RailSport who give up their own time to ensure the success of all RailSport events.
‘Well done too to all the winners with a special thank you to every competitor without whom the event would not take place. I look forward to seeing all the anglers again on 16 August 2017.’
USIC Angling championship
The presence of a team from RailSport Holland was a reminder of the international dimension the competition will take on next year. In September 2017, the six best anglers nationally will compete in the USIC Angling championship in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland.
Great Britain has a winning reputation internationally. GB was triumphant in the first ever USIC Angling championship in 1972 and has won four championships in total – a record equalled only by France, which won the most recent championship hosted by the GB team at Makins Fishery in 2012.
Of course, angling isn’t the only battleground for international RailSport competition. Euro Group events in the 10k road race in Bechovice, Czech Republic, between 23-26 September and table tennis in Berlin, Germany, between 17-22 October will complete the international fixtures for 2016.
Inspired by Team GB’s Olympics medal rush? Visit www.railsport.uk to find out how to get involved in upcoming RailSport events, including the RailSport Games 2017.