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Quick on the draw for river showdown

PUBLISHED: 08:00 25 June 2010 | UPDATED: 17:32 01 July 2010

Roy Webster

Local match anglers eagerly awaiting the first round of the Norwich and District League on Sunday will be lining up entirely on the River Bure between St Benet's Abbey and the River Thurne mouth where prospects are rated excellent for the five-hour event.

Local match anglers eagerly awaiting the first round of the Norwich and District League on Sunday will be lining up entirely on the River Bure between St Benet's Abbey and the River Thurne mouth where prospects are rated excellent for the five-hour event.The NDAA chairman Tony Gibbons has ruled out using the Cold Harbour match stretch of the river Thurne because pegging the event on one river instead of allocating sections on the Thurne is seen to be fairer and easier to manage.

And to facilitate administrative proceedings the draw will be completed tonight but it is understood team captains will be requested to keep the envelopes sealed until at least 9pm tomorrow night (Saturday), preferably revealing peg numbers to team members on match morning.

Gibbons is able to remember an alleged cheating scandal in the old S and P league in the 1970's when some anglers who obtained details of the draw some 48 hours before match day, were accused of pre-baiting their swims. A full enquiry resulted in the draw being reinstated on match morning.

Gibbons explained “The decision to complete the draw on Friday night is to allow anglers more time to travel long distances. We start fishing at 7.30 am and if the draw was on match morning some competitors would be obliged to leave home before 5 am to get on the bank in time.”

So is the system cheat proof? Gibbons was adamant that every competitor would play the game fairly. “There may well be critics who don't compete in our league who will question our decision but I am convinced there will not be a single match man in our tournament who will seek to gain an edge by cheating, and I am confident the team captains will confirm this belief”.

There is no doubt that disabled anglers who compete in the league will also benefit from having more time to reach their pegs, and indeed be offered assistance.

One disabled competitor Dave Docwra, a member of the Yarmouth's Sportsman team declared he would benefit from knowing his draw on Saturday.“ It means I shall have sufficient time to reach my swim where as before in the mad rush the match was often already in progress before I had tackled up. I approve the new system and I hope none will attempt to gain an unfair advantage,” he said.

As for the prospects there will be a flood tide for the majority of the five-hour stint, but with the wind forecast coming from a south easterly quarter the high tides tossed up by last week's northerly gale will have subsided.

Conditions will ideal for bream fishing and the species will almost certainly feature in the nets of the leading anglers. However, the competition is based on section points and with the bream unevenly distributed in the river vital points will be gained where roach are dominant.

Competitors are reminded that eels may not be retained for weigh-in. This week there was criticism in a national angling paper that the NDAA had reached this decision. It should be pointed out that eels were ineligible in competitions under the National Federation of Anglers rule book for many years, were banned in the Broad's championships and many other major matches in the country until roach stocks were hit by disease in the 1970's.

Eels are now recognised as an endangered species world wide and the Norwich chairman insists this is the over riding justification for putting as many back alive as possible.

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