Are the changes to County Champs competition elitist?
Alterations to national competition branded 'elitist' by match anglers.
The organisers of the County Championships competition have announced that the popular match series will go ahead in 2012 – but with some key changes.
Starting this weekend (January 7), the County Champs 2012 competition, organised by weekly publication the Angling Times, will run until August, with the final being held in September. However, qualifying to fish the final will this year be based on points earned throughout the competition instead of the previously used format of a regional eliminator.
The change will see the top three points scorers from each area go through to the final to form a county team, a move that has not gone down well with a number of anglers who see the change as elitist, believing that only those with the time and resources to fish as many eligible matches as possible will make the final.
“The previous top 20 qualifier format at least gave everyone a fair chance of getting involved and a good crack at making the final,” said Match Fishing Editorial Assistant and Ultimate Barnsley Blacks team member Joe Carass. "The new system of just putting just the top three anglers through based on points is definitely making the competition elitist as not everyone will be able to fish all the matches.”
Defending the changes though, Angling's Times Match Editor Richard Grange described the new points format as the ‘essence of competition’ with only those anglers who post the most consistent performance being rewarded with a coveted place in the final.
”The old regional eliminators were on the whole so poorly attended in the two years that the County Championships has been running that we took the decision to allow the top three point-scoring anglers when the competition ends in late August to go through to the final to represent their county,” he told Match Fishing. “Yes, it will mean that the angler who not only fishes more but also frames more consistently will be in that final, but surely that is the essence of competition – to put in that extra time and effort to make the grade and qualify?”