My next team match after the Frome minnow incident saw me at Newbridge for the Sundridge Super League, this was in the days before it was permanently pegged but I guess I was on about peg 38. All thoughts of bream fishing were out as in July they mainly showed in the bream hole and nowhere else. I fished a waggler 3/4 of the way across the river with very light shotting down the line (3no8, 2no8 and 1 no9) with a 20 B520 to 1.7lb bayer, and loosefed hemp and maggot. I started at 12ft deep and the first hour was very slow with no more than a 1lb in the net, but gradually bites started coming and I was steadily catching small roach and skimmers. I remember Leon Hubbard was below me and he was catching less but mainly chublets and it was close between us all day. During the match I had to shallow up as the fish rose in the water, by the end I was 6ft deep catching the same fish. I won the section and came 5th overall with a pick up of £75, the team won on the day. I felt I'd fished a good match, and afterwards I had a compliment from Glenn Bailey, he said his brother Mark (who'd ran the bank) said I looked the best angler fishing the float on the day, he didn't mean mean my looks he meant my style! You try not to let things like that go to your head, but you can't help feeling chuffed can you!
At the end of July I went on holiday for a week to fish the river Teme for barbel, Kev Boltz had organised this and Bob Tiley was also there. Our Farm cottage was a short walk away from the local pub and the first night there the bar did not close until 1am! This was my first taste of barbel fishing and boy was I in fir a shock, I had to borrow some 8lb maxima as I was getting snapped on 6lb maxima regularly. On the first day I hooked 16 barbel and only landed 6, I even got snapped twice on the 8lb line direct! We also found a carp lake called Evesbatch which was day ticket, there were only a couple of pegs left but we caught 60lb to 80lb on wag an maggot, fishing it the then "St Georges Park" way.
When I returned from holiday I was to run the bank for the team in the next round of the DFDS. We had drawn away to Icemech and knowing they could not beat us on the river they took us instead to the K&A canal at Meadow Farm. It was a great day, I arrived in the battle bus with Lombard, Kev Winstone etc with "Star Trekking" blasting out on full volume and some of the other lads had painted their faces in blue and yellow quarters! We were up for it, but Icemech had some tidy canal anglers like Steve Hutchinson and a certain Tony Rixon fishing for them (he was a curly haired lad then). All through the day it was nip and tuck, with odd eels being caught that made a difference. I had the job of weighing in and the very last angler to weigh in was Kev Winstone who thought he had 3lb. As I got to him we need 3lb to tie (remember it was on weight) and as I lifted up the scales I was nearly knocked in the canal as 16 anglers strained to see the dial... 2lb 12oz and we'd lost by 4oz. Gutted or what. We decided the only way to get over this was to get smashed but of course back then no pubs or off licences were open on a Sunday afternoon. Luckily we found an obliging Asian shop owner who at the sight of £50 cash decided he would sell us some booze, result! We took this lot to Keynsham picnic area and stayed a fair while. I shall never forget Dave Haines trying to catch dace on a whip whilst various lads (I remember Paul Bense was one of them) jumped off county bridge to land within feet of his swim, and he tried to carry on fishing! Late on we decided to have a game of football, bad idea with loads of beer on board. It turned into a game of kick the shi5e out of the opposition, I was on the lightweight side and as we were running rings round the lardy boys they proceeded to take lumps out of us. It got slightly out of hand, Andy Floyd (in goal) threw a empty bottle of cider into the game and it hit Kev Winstone who was going to kill him. Mark Bailey was aggrieved at an outburst by Bob Sheppard and was about to lump Bob with the butt of a pool cue, luckily Kev Boltz grabbed the cue on Marks back swing! We all calmed down and got back on with drinking. Mind you the next day most of use could hardly walk and Kev Bolt didn't go to work his legs were so bad....
Well after being knocked out of the DFDS I would spend the rest of the summer concentrating on the Super League matches. More about that another time.