Triumphant Gardner bagged up on gudgeon and roach before hooking the match-winning olive in the dying minutes of the competition
Shakespeare Superteam's Leigh Gardner storms to victory in the Abu Garcia Wychavon qualifier thanks to a last-gasp Hampton Ferry tench.
Hampton Ferry, Evesham | August 13 | 69 Fished
It was a case of making the last fish count for Shakespeare Superteam stalwart Leigh Gardner, who took a 3lb tench in the dying stages of the match to clench victory.
Drawn on peg 57, Leigh started his match fishing a whip for gudgeon, an approach that has seen him frame numerous times over recent weeks. After two hours and with a couple of pounds in the net, things went quiet, which prompted Leigh to move onto his long pole bloodworm line. A steady succession of small roach followed before this line also died. With other options exhausted, Leigh chose to spend the final hour of the match sat down the margin, with a large chunk of lobworm on the hook. With five minutes of the match remaining, a slow bite resulted in yards of elastic shotting across the river before Leigh finally panned his match winning fish.
In second place was Darran Bickerton, who had a busy days fishing and caught over 200 small gudgeon and roach on the pole at 13 metres with bloodworm and joker for a weight of 7-11-0.
England skipper Mark Downes took third spot with a 6-5-8 net from peg 50. Mark caught 150 roach on bloodworm and joker over groundbait.
Result 1 Leigh Gardner (Shakespeare Superteam) 8-0-0 (peg 57) 2 Darran Bickerton (Sensas) 7-11-0 (peg 1) 3 Mark Downes (Sensas) 6-5-8 (peg 50) 4 Rob Perkins (Dynamite) 6-5-0 (peg 8) 5 Hadrian Whittle (Kamasan Starlets) 6-4-0 (peg 40) 6 Tom Scholey (Pole Fishing) 6-2-0 (peg 2) 7 Sean Ashby (Sensas) 5-10-8 (peg 23) 8 Ian Didcote (Garbolino) 5-7-0 (peg 17)
Qualifiers: • Tom Scholey • Dan Ashington • Steve Long