Andy Power proved you should always go to your peg with an open mind, even if you do not fancy your chances from it, as he topped the twenty-four strong field to take home the richest prize ever received by any angler in the history of the sport.
The Wells-based angler admitted he "could've cried" when he knew he'd drawn peg 4 on the grass bank of the Match lake, especially after current Parkdean Champion Lee Kerry had drawn favoured end peg 12 at the other end of the lake on the island.
Grant Albutt finished close behind from neighbouring peg 5 and after four hours and fifty minutes of intense nip and tuck action, it was too close to call between the two men. It was then that Grant connected with a big fish down the edge. Heading for a nearby bed of lily pads, Grant was forced to take drastic action in a bid to land the fish forcing the Garbolino / Bait-Tech ace to try and free the potential £50,000 fish with brute force. A bit of strong-arming gave him no joy, ending up instead with a smashed top kit and quite possibly the last chance of wrestling the prize away from Andy - something confirmed just minutes later!
Twenty three year old Andy totalled 39-780 kilos of carp and F1 hybrids while Grant finished agonisingly close with 37.100 kilos. No one could say just how big that carp was that Grant lost right at the death, but by the look on Grant's face, it was no "stockie".
When all was said and done, that left Andy as the winner and all from a peg that he did not fancy. With the wind whipping down the lake and blowing towards the cafe end, the likes of Graham Dack (Middy) and Stu Ballard (Maver) were favourite to come away considerably richer anglers as was Lee Kerry from end peg 12. However, before the competition, venue expert Andy Kinder (Maver) had warned that the peg could be "all or nothing" - unfortunately, the latter of the two proved to be the case for Lee.
Andy Power commented, "I didn't really want to be at that end of the lake. I felt Lee would take some stopping and even when the match ended, I thought I'd got enough for fourth or fifth despite everyone telling me I'd done well and could've won it. I only started to believe I'd won when the scales got to Stu Ballard as I knew he's been catching well, but once he weighed 32 kilos, all I could do was smile and then jump in the lake"! Andy went on to say "I simply can't believe I've won it and it'll probably only sink in when I go to a cash point and check my balance"!
Conditions on the day were the complete opposite of the previous day with plenty of cloud and strong winds driving temperatures considerably lower than the day before. With the wind proving a real challenge Andy, like many anglers, opted for a bob and pellet approach and really attacked the peg, feeding aggressively with half a dozen 8mm pellets every twenty seconds or so and casting regularly, rarely leaving the bait in the water for more than a couple of minutes. With the peg only being around eighteen inches deep, Andy's favoured pellet waggler method was unlikely to produce the goods, although he did manage to catch one or two carp up in the water when the wind eventually subsided.
"I caught early on and apart from one half hour spell around two hours in, the fishing was pretty steady, although the average stamp of fish was quite small at around 1lb 8oz each" Andy continued "By twitching the bait and casting all round the swim, sometimes a yard further out or to the left I didn't wait too long for an indication and I swapped to a piece of punched polony when I felt I needed a better fish, which worked really well with four or five carp to 8lbs, which make a difference in any match".
Andy finished by saying "I've won a few £1,000 matches before, but this is something else completely - it sounds obvious, but I'll never have a day's fishing like it again"!
Below is a complete breakdown of all twenty-four anglers and where they finished on the day.
To view pictures from the day, be sure to visit our gallery page.
||Andy Power (Preston Innovations Thatchers)
||Grant Albutt (Garbolino)
||Jamie Hughes (Maver)
||Steve Rothery (Garbolino)
||Paul "Tommy" Hiller
||Andy Geldart (Garbolino)
||Adam Wakelin (Preston Innovations)
||Stephen Barraclough (Frenzee)
||Marc Jones (Willis Worms)
||Stewart Lister (Spro)
||Mark Griffiths (Ringer Baits)
||Lee Kerry (Preston Innovations)
||Des Shipp (Preston Innovations)
||Stuart Ballard (Maver)
||John Taylor (Colmic Apollo)
||Andy Kinder (Maver)
||Lee Richards (Sensas)
||Warren Martin (Sensas / Angler's World)
||Graham Dack (Middy)
||Marc Rodger (Garbolino Osset)
||Kelvin Emlyn (Oaken Gates Tackle)
||Chris Hill (Maver)
||Andy Leathers (Browning Hot Rods)
Grant Albutt, Steve Rothery, Des Shipp, Stu Ballard, Warren Martin, Andy Geldart, Andy Power, Graham Dack, Lee Richards, Stewart Lister, John Taylor, Paul Hiller, Paul Morris, Marc Jones, Andy Leathers, Adam Wakelin, Chris Hill, Lee Kerry, Jamie Hughes, Kelvin Emlyn, Andy Kinder, Marc Rodger, Mark Griffiths and Stephen Barraclough