Robin Ballard crowned 2020 Somerset Leveller Champion

This years 3 day Somerset Leveller festival was a little different this year. Due to Coronavirus it became a local 3 day festival aptly called Worcesterset.

A big part of previous Somerset festivals is the banter at the digs in the evenings over a few pints discussing the days fishing and taking the mickey out of the daily wooden spoon winners but with no bar and food available and having to adhere to the groups of six rule. This year we decided still fish three venues over the three days as normal. Last minute organising saw the Jam Factory, Cob House and Hawford Bridge used as this years venues. The league is run on small sections over the three days.

The first day saw us all meet at the Jam Factory for a match on the Ash pool. The weather wasn’t kind to us this time and strong winds made the fishing difficult. Andy Mitchell won this match with 125lb claiming a section win, with reigning champion Rob Butcher, 81lb and Robin Ballard, 77lb winning the other sections. Phil Seedhouse picked up the days wooden spoon!

Day two was on the Laurel pool at Cob House, the weather was much kinder and this produced some excellent weights and all anglers caught well. Robin Ballard won this match with an excellent weight of 183lb while the other two section winners were Rob Butcher, 113lb and Doug Smith also with 113lb. Graham Scott picked up the days wooden spoon.

Going into the last match on the Bridge pool at Hawford Bridge. Robin Ballard and Rob Butcher had a perfect 2 section wins and were each on 2 points closely followed by Andy Mitchell on 3 points who also had a good aggregate weight of 252lb. Doug Smith and Mark Birbeck were sitting on 4 points and it was all to play for on the final match. A cold night made the fishing hard at Hawford Bridge on the Bridge pool and bright conditions kept the weights down and the fishing was a struggle for all anglers. It became a straight fight out between Robin and Rob as they were both pegged in the same section this time with Robin last to weigh in. Rob was first to weigh and put 30lb 12oz on the scales. Robin was also claiming around 30lb so it was going to be a close finish. The other two sections were won by Graham Scott, 32lb and Stu Thomson who also had 32lb. Robin was last to weight in as we all gathered around but still with social distancing! Robins fish weighed 39lb which gave him the all important section win to take the festival win and also his 2nd match win of the festival. Doug Smith picked up the days wooden spoon. At the presentation of all the prizes festival organiser Mark Birbeck was thanked by all for his hard work. Especially harder this year having to cancel hotel rooms and fishery bookings due to Covid 19 and with the social distancing rules this year it wasn’t easy and then finding new venues to fish locally at short notice. So another Somerset festival was enjoyed by all even though this year it was Worcesterset!!Well done Robin.

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