The Green Heart of Poringland


Binks Victory Sets Up Grandstand Finish 

Graeme Binks again underlined his talent as a top matchman when he triumphed on another difficult day at Poringland Lakes. Once again conditions were testing, not helped by a cold wind and a flurry of winter showers as eleven anglers lined up for the fifth in the sixth match winter series. 

Catching regularly on a mix of small roach and skimmers, Binks put together a useful bag of 8lb 3oz, well clear of his nearest rivals, Trevor Radley and Eric Peak.  However Peak's sheer consistency in the winter series has all but guaranteed him overall victory. Already eight points clear of the field, Peak only has to turn up for the sixth and final round to claim the trophy. 

After missing one event and then sportingly declining a place in another round after arriving late, Binks' victory sets up a grandstand finish in the race for the Irene Gudgeon memorial shield as the former Angling Direct 'pro' leapfrogged Eric Peak at the top of the aggregate weights league table.  With less than two pounds separating the pair and Peak never having beaten Binks in a Poringland match, the stage is now set for a thrilling grandstand finish when the final event takes place on 3 March. 

With eleven anglers contesting the match and to give contestants sufficient space, for the first time the organisers decided to utilise two lakes.  While the majority of competitors were drawn on Gudgeon, Trevor Radley and Frank Whiting fished on Duffield. 

Radley, winner of match four, turned in another good performance to finish second overall with a bag of roach and skimmers. 

After drawing blanks in his previous three outings, 84 year old Frank Whiting finally got off the mark, finishing in seventh place ahead of some accomplished anglers. 

Meanwhile it was a disappointing day for Liam Crowley, winner of match one. Concentrating mainly on the feeder, a tactic that had proved so successful in the past, Crowley drew a blank which left him with the agonising decision whether to splash out and buy a pole! 

Winter League Match Five

Graeme Binks 8lb 3oz, Trevor Radley 4lb 10oz, Eric Peak 4lb 8oz, Mick Morley 4lb 4oz, Alan Crabb 12oz, Bob Bailey 11oz, Frank Whiting 6oz, John Hodgson 5oz, Ryan Westgarth 3oz, Justin Randall 2oz, Liam Crowley 0

Winter League Grand Prix Standing

Eric Peak 42, Mick Morley 34, Trevor Radley 34, Graeme Binks 31,  Alan Crabb 28, Liam Crowley 20.5, Bob Bailey 19, Justin Randall 19, Ryan Westgarth 18, John Hodgson 17, Frank Whiting 9, Paul Bonham 1.5

Irene Gudgeon Memorial Shield (Aggregate Weights)

Graeme Binks 36lb 12oz, Eric Peak 34lb 13oz, Mick Morley 17lb 9oz, Trevor Radley 17lb 7oz, Liam Crowley 16lb 10oz, Alan Crabb 8lb 10oz, Bob Bailey 8lb 4oz, Justin Randall 7lb 7oz, Ryan Westgarth 4lb 0oz, John Hodgson 2lb 13oz, Frank Whiting 6oz, Paul Bonham 0 

Radley Bags It! 

Early morning frost, bright sunshine, sharp showers and a biting wind combined to make conditions difficult for the fourth event in the six match Winter Series.  Nevertheless it didn’t deter ten hardy anglers from contesting a competitive match on Noble. 

After five hours of hard fishing, top spot went to Trevor Radley with a bag of 8lb 3oz.  It was Radley’s first ever win and produced the fourth different winner this series. 

There wasn’t much between the next four anglers with Mick Morley and Justin Randall just edging out series leader Eric Peak for the podium places.  Early pacesetter Randall can consider himself unlucky. With just minutes left, he hooked in to a good sized carp but couldn’t hold the hard fighting fish on light gear and a 18 hook. 

After drawing the same peg that saw him win the opening match of the series and the golden peg to boot, Liam Crowley was optimistic before the start but his hopes of matching his earlier performance dramatically faded when he failed to catch a fish! 

The draw is all important especially on small, intimate lakes like Noble – and so it proved.  All the action centred on the west bank while at the opposite end around the inlet Liam Crowley, Alan Crabb and Frank Whiting could only manage one fish between them - a miniscule perch. 

Unfortunately series leader Graeme Binks arrived late after the peg draw had been made.  In keeping with the social nature of PCFLA matches, Graeme was permitted a late entry but sportingly, declined the offer, saying it wasn’t fair on the other anglers. 

Binks’s absence saw Eric Peak extend his lead at the top of the points table but the aggregates weights chase is stil wide open. 

Winter League Match Four

Trevor Radley 8lb 3oz, Mick Morley 5lb 4oz, Justin Randall 4lb 5oz, Eric Peak 3lb 12oz, Bob Bailey 3lb 2oz, Ryan Westgarth 1lb 60z, John Hodgson 10oz, Alan Crabb 1oz, Liam Crowley 0, Frank Whiting 0 

Winter League Grand Prix Standings

Eric Peak 33, Mick Morley 26, Trevor Radley 24, Alan Crabb 21, Liam Crowley 19.5, Graeme Binks 19, Justin Randall 17, Ryan Westgarth 15, John Hodgson 13, Bob Bailey 13, Frank Whiting 4, Paul Bonham 1.5 

Irene Gudgeon Memorial Shield (Aggregate Weights)                       

Eric Peak 30lb 5oz, Graeme Binks 28lb 9oz, Liam Crowley 16lb 10oz, Mick Morley 13lb 5oz, Trevor Radley 12lb 13oz, Alan Crabb 7lb 14oz, Bob Bailey 7lb 9oz, Justin Randall 7lb 5oz, Ryan Westgarth 3lb 13oz, John Hodgson 2lb 8oz, Frank Whiting 0, Paul Bonham 0  

Peak’s Stellar Performance

Consistent Eric Peak turned in another stellar performance to take the third event in the six match winter league series.  After finishing third and second in the opening two matches, Pakefield-based Peak went one better, comfortably winning with a very respectable 13lb 2oz bag which included three useful carp. 

Match organiser Alan Crabb left it late in the day to snatch second place.  He only managed to net one fish which came in the last 15 minutes but the 4lb 9oz common was good enough to edge out Bob Bailey who finished third on 4lb 7oz. 

Unfortunately series leader Graeme Binks was unable to fish today’s match because of family commitments.  However he did pop in for half an hour to see how his rivals were progressing and saw nearest rival Peak leap frog him at the top of the points table.  The chase for the minor places is now closely contested with just two points separating the next four places. 

Once again several anglers lost quality fish which could have really turned the tables.  Spare a thought too for 84-year-old Frank Whiting who blanked for the second match in a row. 

Winter League Match Three

Eric Peak 13lb 2oz, Alan Crabb 4lb 9oz, Bob Bailey 4lb 7oz, Liam Crowley 3lb 13oz, Ryan Westgarth 1lb 7oz, John Hodgson 1lb 5oz, Mick Morley 8oz, Trevor Radley 4oz, Frank Whiting 0oz 

Winter League Grand Prix Standings

Eric Peak 26, Graeme Binks 19, Liam Crowley 18, Alan Crabb 18, Mick Morley 17, Trevor Radley 13, Ryan Westgarth 10, Justin Randall 9, John Hodgson 9, Bob Bailey 7, Frank Whiting 2.5, Paul Bonham 1.5 

Irene Gudgeon Memorial Shield (Aggregate Weights)

Graeme Binks 28lb 9oz, Eric Peak 26lb 9oz, Liam Crowley 16lb 10oz, Mick Morley 8lb 1oz, Alan Crabb 7lb 13oz, Trevor Radley 4lb 10oz, Bob Bailey 4lb 7oz, Justin Randall 3lb 0oz, Ryan Westgarth 2lb 7oz, John Hodgson 1lb 14oz, Frank Whiting 0oz, Paul Bonham 0oz 

Matchmen Tangoed

A record number of eleven hardy anglers contested the second Winter League match but in the end all but one were tangoed! 

Once again conditions proved difficult, a far cry from two days previous when one angler caught 181 fish in a single session!  Bites were hard to come by and after four and a half hours, the match was finally balanced but in the end it was one fish that made all the difference, the superbly conditioned ‘Tango’. 

Going into last half hour, ace angler Graeme Binks, fishing on the lightest of gear, hooked into the celebrity fish and skilfully brought it to the net.  The stunning 14lb common carp boasted the winning weight to a creditable 19lb 6oz to give Binks his first outright victory. 

Once again Eric Peak and Mick Morley proved the best of the rest, Morley just edging out nearest rival Alan Crabb by a mere ounce.  For several anglers it was a story of what might have been.  Mick Morley, Ryan Westgarth and first round winner Liam Crowley all lost good sized fish which, if landed, could have made a huge difference to the result. 

Graeme Binks was delighted with his victory and thrilled at catching Tango. 

“It was a really hard day for everyone who fished” said Graeme.  “Bites were few and far between.  I was just lucky enough to pinch a few bonus fish, plus that beauty Tango.  It was lovely to see fish in such immaculate condition!” he added. 

Binks’s victory now sees him leapfrog to the top of the Winter League standings as well as opening up a sizeable gap on his challengers in the Irene Gudgeon Memorial shield for aggregate weights. 

Winter League Match Two

Graeme Binks 19lb 6oz, Eric Peak 4lb 7oz, Mick Morley 2lb 8oz, Alan Crabb 2lb 7oz, Trevor Radley 1lb 15oz, Justin Randall 1lb 9oz, Ryan Westgarth 1lb, John Hodgson 8oz, Liam Crowley 4oz, Paul Bonham nil, Frank Whiting nil

Winter League Grand Prix Standings

Graeme Binks 19, Eric Peak 16, Mick Morley 14, Liam Crowley 12, Trevor Radley 11, Alan Crabb 10, Justin Randall 9, John Hodgson 5, Ryan Westgarth 5, Paul Bonham 1.5, Frank Whiting 1.5 

Irene Gudgeon Memorial Shield (aggregate weights)

Graeme Binks 28lb 9oz, Eric Peak 13lb 7oz, Liam Crowley 12lb 13oz, Mick Morley 7lb 9oz, Trevor Radley 4lb 6oz, Alan Crabb 3lb 4oz, Justin Randall 3lb 0oz, Ryan Westgarth 1lb 0oz, John Hodgson 9oz, Paul Bonham 0oz, Frank Whiting 0oz 

Opening Win for Liam Crowley

The first event in the six match winter league series produced a surprising result. 

Liam Crowley (pictured above right), a relative newcomer to the match scene, overshadowed some of his more illustrious opponents to notch his maiden victory. 

Making the most of a favourable end peg draw and using the feeder to good effect, the Norwich novice’s net included four decent carp which helped swell his overall weight to 12lb 9oz. 

Making his debut in PCFLA matches, former Angling Direct sponsored ‘pro’ Graeme Binks had to call upon all his skill and experience to dig out a respectable bag from a less than easy peg, finishing second on 9lb 3oz, a mere three ounces ahead of defending double champion Eric Peak. 

With some of the more seasoned matchmen struggling, the scene is beautifully set for an interesting series.  The second match on Saturday 4 November is keenly awaited! 

Winter League Match One

Liam Crowley 12lb 9oz, Graeme Binks, 9lb 3oz, Eric Peak 9lb 0oz,Mick Morley 5lb1oz, Trevor Radley 2lb 7oz, Justin Randall 1lb 7oz, Alan Crabb 13oz, John Hodgson 1oz 

Winter League Grand Prix – Latest Standings

Liam Crowley 9 points, Graeme Binks 7, Eric Peak 6, Mick Morley 5, Trevor Radley 4, Justin Randall 3, Alan Crabb 2, John Hodgson1

Matchmen Gear Up for Winter League 

The 2017 Winter League which starts on Saturday could see an upsurge of new contestants, all eager to make a good start to the six match series. 

With several new season ticket holders expressing an interest in match fishing, organiser Alan Crabb is hoping to welcome several new faces. 

“The majority of our season ticket holders have never fished a match so this would be the ideal opportunity to have a go in a relaxed and informal atmosphere” said Alan.

The last winter's series was totally dominated by one man, Mick Morley, who amazingly won five of the six matches, his only reversal coming in the opening round when he was headed by John Hodgson.

Morley’s tactics of targeting lots of small fish is well suited to the colder conditions, so it would be no surprise to see the Mundham ace take the opening salvo.

Having said that, Noble houses some decent sized carp, so one good fish could make all the difference.  Thankfully, more of the invasive Canadian pondweed has been removed in the last few days, which should make banking the fish more likely.          

All PCFLA matches are exclusively for season ticket holders and their guests.  Members wishing to try their hand should email Alan at alanashley60@yahoo.co.uk or give him a call on 01508 538406