Celtic Carp Cup 2016 by Peter Foster
Celtic Carp Cup 2016
The dreams of one man came to fruition last week at Barston Lake in the West Midlands as the inaugural Celtic Carp Cup was fished for between Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Welshman Tim Jones had long harbored a desire to form a Welsh carping squad to take on other nations within the United Kingdom.
The squad came together towards the end of 2015 and as they gelled into a formidable outfit, Tim put stage two into operation, contacting the governing bodies of Ireland and Scotland to test the water and see if a competition at national level was on the cards.
The Scottish line-up
With both Scotland and N. Ireland working to a tight schedule of just a few weeks, team managers Martin Mitchell for Scotland and Marty McKibbin, N. Ireland set about the logistical nightmare of pulling the cream of their respective nation's carp anglers together, not to mention securing sponsorship at such a late stage so they could take on the Welsh at the beginning of July. The venue was Barston's near Solihull and was to be fished to international rules over 48 hours. The draw and peg allocations were made on Thursday evening for a 9am start the following morning, 1st of July.
Team Northern Ireland
Within 10 minutes of the hooter sounding, the Welsh were staking their claim to the trophy as the pairing of Nick Davies and Nick Oliver in section A1 started to haul - and they didn't stop! At the first weigh, the Welsh wizards scaled 138lb; the only other team to post a score was fellow Welshmen Chris Buck and Michael Morgan in D3 who netted 34lb 12oz.
Welsh Team and eventual winners
Weigh number two saw the first of the Scots coming to the scales with Kev McConnel and Alistair Kirkhope in A2 posting 43lb 07oz; meanwhile peg A1 produced another 112lb 09 oz. for the Welsh. C1 produced 14.08 for the Irish with the Scots chipping in again with 32.01 for Ben Mir and Adi Blantford on D1. Throughout the day, the carp began to show up and down the match length with an early lead in section B from the Scots pairing of Adam King and Davy Hearns who were to go on and claim a section win but it was the two Nick's in A1 that were smashing them, ending the first 24 hours with 550lb 14oz. By this time, all teams and pairings had posted weights with the nearest rivals to Wales who commanded first spot were Scotland and Northern Ireland in joint second.
Nick Oliver and Nick Davies for Wales
As the match progressed it was clear that the results would hinge around sections C&D as the Irish and Scots in C, were banking on an almost fish for fish basis for second place and in section D, it was the Welsh and the Scots again going for the two points. Going into the last evening, the Scots pairing of Steve Warwick and Mark Stone were adrift in third place almost 70lb behind the Irish in section C but a terrific last 10 hour stint saw them close the gap and almost overtake the lads from over the water. Likewise in section D, Adi Blantford and partner Ben Mir were chasing a deficit of their own of around 60lb to close the gap on Chris Buck and Michael Morgan for Wales.
Darren Reilly and Alex Chew catching for Northern Ireland
The final round of the scales nailed the result well and firmly on the door with Wales victorious on 7 points, then Northern Ireland 8 and Scotland 9 but the result could have been very different with just 5lb separating the Irish pair, Hilson and Hope from the Scots, Stone and Warwick in section C and 24lb separating the Welsh and Scots in section D.
Nick Davies with one of many commons landed through the session
Without doubt the performance of the weekend belonged to Nick Davies and Nick Oliver in A1, the likeable Welsh pair were banking from the off to amass a staggering 1,113lb of carp between them, not to mention those under 5lb and F1's that were returned unweighed. A special mention was made at the prize giving to the two young Scots, Adam King and in particular Alistair Kirkhope who proved to be among the best of the rest banking the lion's share of a very creditable 668lb along with partner Kev McConnel from A2.
Paul Hilson and Barry Hope, Team Northern Ireland
The event was fished in the best of spirits and friendly banter culminating in many new friendships being made. The date for next year's event is penciled in and it's hoped that a full complement of the Home Nations will attend with England filling the fourth spot.
A1, Nick Davies & Nick Oliver, Wales, 1,113lb.00oz
A2, Kev McConnel & Alistair Kirkhope, Scotland, 668.05
A3, Chris Ducket & Chris Foulis, N. Ireland, 102.09
B1, Paul Stone & Daniel Townsend, Wales, 135.09
B2, Adam King & David Hearns, Scotland, 229.13
B3, Richard Lambert & Andy McCandless, N. Ireland, 151.14
C1, Barry Hope & Paul Hilson, N. Ireland, 128.12
C2, Josh Boys & Adam Johns, Wales, 231.01
C3, Mark Stone & Steve Warwick, Scotland, 122.11
D1, Ben Mir & Adi Blantford, Scotland, 315.05
D2, Darren Reilly & Alex Chew, N. Ireland, 562.13
D3, Chris Buck & Michael Morgan, Wales, 330.09