In a recent trip across the water, Matty Powell headed to Ireland to partake in the Celtic Cup for the Welsh National team on the Newry Canal.
The Celtic Cup is a three-way battle between Scotland, Ireland, and Wales for the prestigious trophy, prize money, and of course the most important thing – the bragging rights! With two practise days leading into the two competition days, working out the best tactics and bait as a team to get the most out of each peg was the key to success.
Earning his Wales cap once again after a period away from the squad, this venue was a familiar sight to Matty: “When we went to the last Newry Canal Celtic Cup back in 2015, it was solid and there was fish everywhere, so I was really excited to get back to the venue.”
However, after the training days, it was evident that it wouldn’t be quite the same as the previous visit: “The roach now live in the basin, and we found it can take them between 40 minutes to an hour to move into the match length.”
“It’s a mental venue and I’ve never seen anything like it before!”
Captaining the Wales Red side on both days, Matty was drawn on peg B2 the first day. A reasonable area that he was happy with, and was more than capable if the fish were willing to play ball.
“It was all dependent on how quick the roach moved down the canal from the basin peg – D7”.
Starting long at 13m for only a couple of small fish, the shoal soon made themselves known after only an hour, and a switch to the short 7m line proved fruitful. Throwing small balls of groundbait over the float whilst also catapulting loose offerings of casters and hemp was irresistible to the roach. Three hours later, Matty had amassed a level 6kgs to win sector B and bring back valuable team points.
With team Wales Red lying fourth overall in the very tight standings, it was still all to play for in the second innings.
Day two and B section was Matty’s home again on peg B6 – this time much nearer to that important basin, so he was more than happy with this area.
The overnight frost and calm conditions made for tough fishing, registering just a singular bite in three and a half hours. However, like the flick of a light-switch, an action-packed last half hour had Matty catching 21 roach that totalled 1.525kgs to win the difficult section.
Including Matty’s vital points, the rest of the Wales Red squad managed to have a much better day, doing enough to claw back a second overall and firmly placing themselves on the podium clutching that silver medal.
Recording two section wins, Matty’s stellar performance also gained him an individual silver medal, only being beaten on weight count-back.
Speaking on his experience on the National stage, Matty says: “I’ve loved every minute of this trip. The lads have been awesome and we have all worked together as a unit to come up with a solid plan, and the lads have executed it really well.
“I want to say a massive thank you to Ben Roberts for picking me for the Celtic Cup. It’s been an honour to represent my country again after many years out of the squad.”