After yet more rain, the match was switched to Dillington again which I wasn't too upset about as I have been doing well there. I drew peg 9 which was by the pumphouse, which is where I was on the last match here. The first suprise on reaching the pond was that pegs one to three were taken up by pleasure anglers, there wasn't a lot we could do as we hadn't closed the pond. We just had to squeeze the three anglers affected, Rob Cox, Martin Heard and Malcolm Levy, in around the rest of us. The downside of this for me was that I now had Malcolm on the other side of the bush to my left where there isn't usually a peg.
As I had fished this peg a couple of weeks ago I set up exactly the same rigs, a 0.4 gram rig with 0.12mm bottom and size 18 B611 for the bush and a gram Drennan Tipo with a spread bulk and 0.08mm bottom to a size 18 B511 for the open water at 11 metres. I mixed up some Van Den Eynde Supermatch and Supercup and chopped up some lobbies and was ready for the off. Pete Lonton was on the peg to my right and next to Malcolm was Justin Charles on the point (a very consistent peg).
On the whistle I cupped in some choppie and casters by the bush and three balls of groundbait at 11 metres. I started by the bush but after the last match where I didn't get a bite for ages I was prepared for a wait. It wasn't long before the float went under and I started to catch the odd small perch, was this a good omen? I soon got bored of catching these and tried a caster but this made no difference and I continued to catch small perch, double caster didn't help and I was still only catching small perch but having to wait longer for the bites. I could see Justin catching small fish regularly and he shouted down that Barney had caught an early chub and that Martin was catching quality roach. I couldn't see either from my position tucked away by the pumphouse.
After an hour I was dying to go out to 11 metres where hopefully the roach were queued up, by this time Justin said Barney had three chub and I really felt I needed quality fish. After another perch on maggot I switched to caster but still the perch came, I was going nowhere fast and to be honest I can't recall ever struggling like this, here on my favourite pond. Justin was still catching small perch and Malcolm was getting a few although as far as I could make out, Pete was struggling. I kept swopping between the bush and 11 metres but the result was always the stripy same, I even tried half a lobbie for a bigger perch but all I got was small perch and most of these fell off as they couldn't get all the worm in their gobs!
I reckoned I was ahead of Malcolm and Pete but then Malcolm netted a better perch, Justin was well ahead of me and he netted a decent roach to pull even further in front. Pete came round for a walk and he'd only had a couple of small perch and he said Rob Cox wasn't doing much better. Another try at 11 metres with caster saw me catch my first roach but at only half an ounce it wasn't what I'd hoped for. Still hopefully his big brother would be out there, wrong again and that was the only roach I saw all day. I kept trying by the bush as very often the chub can be caught here and in the last match I had caught one late on. I was still catching perch and at an average size of half an ounce I reckoned if I could catch 64 I would have around two pounds. Bearing in mind you normally need 8-10lbs to frame this wasn't good.
The whistle went and I had struggled, I had 63 small perch and that solitary roach. While waiting for Rob to come round with the scales I went to watch Justin weigh in Malcolm, himself and John, even with his bonus perch Malcolm only weighed 2lb 4oz and Justin 3lb 4oz and I was starting to wish I'd gone all out for the perch. John Coxon plonked 4lb 4oz on the scales and his bag included a real bonus perch of 2lb 10oz. Rob arrived with the scales and I was suprised when my fish went 2lb 14oz and I was now really regretting not going for the perch. Pete only managed 6oz and Rob 1lb 4oz.
It turned out the pond hadn't fished at all well and Justin had been lying through his teeth, John won with his perch assisted 4lb 4oz and Graham Field was second with 3lb 5oz, Justin won his section and I won mine and picked up £20. I really felt I could have done second place if I'd just have fished the maggot all day and maybe even pushed John's weight, oh well you learn all the time in this game don't you? Better news was to follow as Chelsea beat Arsenal 2-1 in the Carling Cup Final, well done the blues.
In this league Barney and Martin are well ahead with one match to go but my section win today has given me an outside chance of third place with another good result. Next week is where I really need to do well though as it's the penultimate match in Crown league, which I'm currently leading, wish me luck.