May, not Murray, held off se­ri­ous com­pe­ti­tion to win this

Angling Times (UK) - - THIS WEEK -

CROWDS put off by the bad weather missed per­haps the great­est Fish O’Ma­nia fi­nal ever.

Andy May drew the right area and knows the place in­side out but Kerry Kirk­wood, Rob Min­nikin, Ian Gid­dins and the im­pres­sive young Es­sex an­gler Ross Har­rold did all they could to beat him, and it was very close.

The fish­ery team at Cud­more have done a su­perb job of trans­form­ing Arena Lake. Age­ing carp and bar­bel were taken out and re­placed with qual­ity bream and skim­mers, bar­bel grown on site to around 250g, ide and, re­cently, the ac­cursed F1s, plus a few smaller carp.

Un­less you watched the match on Sky Sports you won’t see the phys­i­cal ef­fort, con­cen­tra­tion and pro­fes­sion­al­ism shown by all the com­peti­tors. The heart mon­i­tors they all wore bore tes­ta­ment to the ef­fort, and the an­glers talked to us in the com­men­tary box live via ra­dio mics and ear­pieces, re­aly­ing their tac­tics. We even had Ross and Andy telling each other what was hap­pen­ing from op­po­site sides of the lake... Andy, in his usual way, telling Ross he was catch­ing “on prawn, shalla.”

Andy has worked with the Sky team on Fish O’, demon­strat­ing what is hap­pen­ing around the lake, for a few years now and he was al­most apolo­getic when he phoned pro­ducer, Mick Brais, to tell him he’d qual­i­fied for the semi-fi­nal. So it was like one of our own had won and we were all chuffed for him... es­pe­cially me, as I drew peg 5 in the Sky sweep, my first good draw for years.

I’m not sure whether the new for­mat worked but if Match­room and the An­gling Trust are to even come close to sat­is­fy­ing the al­most in­sa­tiable demand for tick­ets there has to be some kind of struc­ture to have more qual­i­fiers. I un­der­stand the mat­ter is al­ready on the ta­ble, and I ex­pect news quite soon.

Andy May and the Sky Sports team in ac­tion.

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