Back to Wigan where Maver NW’s defence of their title got off to best start

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It’s a year or two since I last competed in the Wigan Winter League which is still going strong and pulling in a 100 strong field, writes Tim Worsnop.

Sunday’s opener was as far West as the league goes in the Burscough area, a pleasant part of the country north of Liverpool and only a stones throw from the coast. It is at this point the Leeds and Liverpool canal, on which the league is fished takes a dramatic swing south before heading into Liverpool docks.

It was great to meet up with some old friends and a few new ones for a series that is as competitive as it gets. I didn’t have a great day, drawn at the wrong end of my section despite having what is normally a very good peg.

I was beaten by the first four pegs including top Calderdale matchman Daz Taylor (Saints) who won the section at a canter with over 9lbs and second placed Daz Shaw (Maver NW) with over 4lbs and would have beaten the rest but for rushing and dropping a roach off as a cyclist came down the towpath.

The guy to my right ended up half ouncing me. So one place the wrong side of middle, but a decent performance.

My travelling partner Chris Roberts had a tough time of it drawn first off a line of boats and four pegs that provided the match’s top two plus two more nets over 5lbs. The winner was another Pennine Winter league mate, Graham Saynor (TriCast Rochdale) who had bream and skimmers from the off for over 16lbs - too much for Saint’s Ian Leach at the next peg with 13lbs 7oz.

Concluding a good day for local teams, Maver NW began the defence of their title in a mean mood with 37 points ahead of Rochdale with 42, my side finishing well detached on 61 points for seventh out of 10.

Pete Riley (Matrix Halifax) beat a good field of 22 to win Wednesday’s open on the cobbles stretch of the Mirfield canal with a very respectable 12lbs 12oz of roach on caster and bronze maggot.

That put him a good few fish ahead of runner up Luke Wrozsek (CRT Angling) who finished with 11lbs 1oz just two pegs away. Keith Marshall (TriCast Calder) was third on the peg the other side of Riley with 8lbs 12oz.

There were some good weights in the AJ Jewson Silvers series which began on Sunrise Lakes near Pannal, Harrogate on Sunday. And fittingly it was the Halifax tackle shop owner Graham Hudson who led the way with a cracking net of roach weighing 35lbs 10oz. Tri-Cast Calder’s Peter Thurlow was just a couple of pounds behind with 33lbs 3oz of roach and skimmers on pole and caster. Third place went to Michael Dobson who found some of the venue’s big perch as the photo shows.