Saturday August 31st witnessed the ninth annual Mega Match This Grand Final at the Wembley of match fishing that is MAVER HAYFIELD LAKES, Doncaster. This was the culmination of twenty-four qualifying rounds held at some of the top commercial fisheries up and down the country beginning back at the end of March at The Glebe Fishery in Leicestershire and finishing at the Cambridgeshire mecca that is Decoy Lakes. With twenty-two of the twenty-four qualifying matches needing over a ton of fish to win, this year’s qualifying campaign saw the 2018 record of 358lbs 4ozs set by Craig Ebbrell broken by Chris Barley with 363lbs 15ozs at Decoy Lakes on 5th June.
As in previous years, the draw for pegs took place the night before the match during a special gala evening event staged at the onsite Hayfield Fishing and Shooting Lodge with all competing finalists and their guests enjoying an all expenses paid evening meal and drinks. On completion of the draw many of the competing anglers were still none the wiser as to who they felt would be crowned Champion, such is the quality of the fishing on Island Lake where the winner could come from anywhere as had been shown in previous years. The weather forecast for the day was cloudy, very windy and with the potential for some rain showers in the afternoon and with the wind blowing into the low numbers, where it had been for a couple of days, some fancied these to produce.
Last years Champion Dave Burley drew Peg 3 (Permanent peg 5) and was seemingly happy with it, as was Jamie Hughes drawn on Peg 11 (Permanent Peg 25), Andy Power drawn on Peg 4 (Permanent Peg 11) also happy and in form, current Maver British Pole Champion Andy Bennet drawn on Peg 23 (Permanent Peg 61). The scene was now set for twenty four of the countries top anglers to do battle to be crowned 2019 Mega Match This Champion and pocket the biggest prize in Angling.
The standard of sport was, once again, fantastic, with many of the competing anglers finding fish immediately after the all in at midday. Most of the competitors opted to start the match short on pellet with a number of them enjoying a good early run of fish. Setting the early pace was Andy Bennett on peg 23, closely followed by Robert Harbour, Craig Edmunds and Ashley Clements. At the halfway stage Andy Bennet was still the front runner but his peg was starting to dry up and the chasing pack of Craig Edmunds – Peg 9 (Permanent Peg 21), Nick Speed – Peg 16 (Permanent Peg 47), Kristian Jones – Peg 19 (Permanent Peg 53), Robert Harbour – Peg 17 (Permanent Peg 49), Andy Power – Peg 4 (Permanent Peg 11) and Jamie Hughes – Peg 11 (Permanent Peg 21) were catching him up.
It was at this stage in the proceedings that the focus of attention switched to Jamie Hughes who, having got off to a slow start fishing short and then long at 14 metres, switched from the long pole, due to the wind, onto his bomb line at 25 metres where he had been feeding 8mm pellets. The response was almost instant with him netting 6 fish in as many casts, using single and double 8mm banded pellet, which put him into serious contention, closely followed by Craig Edmunds (Peg 9) and Kristian Jones (Peg 19).
It had now become a 3 peg battle between these anglers, with each of them netting fish in the last hour and it became increasingly difficult to decide who, out of these 3 anglers, was going to be crowned 2019 #MMT Champion. It was now down to the weigh in to decide who had done enough to take home the £60,000 cheque and anglings most iconic trophy.
First of the three main contenders to weigh was Craig Edmunds (Peg 9) who tipped the scales at 53.025kg, which many thought was enough, although Craig felt that Jamie had more. Next of the three to weigh was Jamie Hughes (Peg 11) who tipped the scales at 56.800kg which, as Craig had thought, put him in front. It was now down to a long walk and a fairly long wait to see if the third of the main contenders, Kristian Jones (Peg 19) could top Jamie’s weight.At the weigh in Kristian tipped the scales at 48.600kg which meant that Jamie Hughes was victorious and was the 2019 #MMT Champion.
Maver Dynamite Hayfield Island (Dannie’s) Lake had once again provided an unpredictable, level playing field and closely fought match for the twenty four anglers taking part.
After being confirmed Ninth MMT Champion and cementing his place in angling history Jamie commented:
‘This is the one I have always wanted, ever since the competition started nine years ago and it has eluded me until today. I now have my name, along with other great anglers on the trophy and will be back next year to try and qualify to defend the title. It’s a fantastic competition’.
- JAMIE HUGHES – (Peg 11) – 56,800kg
- CRAIG EDMUNDS – (Peg 9) – 53,025kg
- KRISTIAN JONES – (Peg 19) – 48,600kg
- JOHN ASHWELL – (Peg 12) – 45,125kg
- NICK SPEED – (Peg 16) – 42,125kg
- ROBERT HARBOUR – (Peg 17) – 37,625kg
- STEVEN FORSTER – (Peg 18) – 33,750kg
- ANDY POWER – (Peg 4) – 30,700kg
- ASHLEY CLEMENTS – (Peg 15) – 30,475kg
- SAM SLOCKET – (Peg 22) – 28,425kg
- ANDY BENNETT – (Peg 23) – 27,100kg
- CHRIS BARLEY – (Peg 13) – 26,050kg
- SHAUN WOODWARD – (Peg 14) – 22,675kg
- CARL ROBERTS – (Peg 7) – 22,075kg
- RYAN McKINLEY (Peg 8) – 21,350kg
- SAM BROWN – (Peg 1) – 20,750kg
- DAVID BURLEY – (Peg 3) – 20,575kg
- ADRIAN TWIST – (Peg 2) – 19,125kg
- MARC RODGER – (Peg 21) – 16,150kg
- CHRIS WEEDER JNR – (Peg 5) – 12,300kg
- MARK STAINSBY – (Peg 24) – 10,700kg
- IAN FISK – (Peg 20) – 10,175kg
- SHAUN COOKE – (Peg 6) – 7,375kg
- ALAN ROBERTSHAW – (Peg 10) – 6,600kg