Andy Bennett ties for lead of Matchman title!

Andy Bennett is looking for an amazing fifth victory in the Angler’s Mail Preston Matchman of the Year competition!

The Guru backed match ace is going for an amazing three victories on the trot, and will bank another cheque for £5,000 if he succeeds, and he looks like having a very good chance of succeeding as he is currently sat in joint first place!

He is currently tied atop the leaderboard with Lee Thornton, having both scored 113 points, and with just six matches left to go this season one of them is guaranteed victory, with their nearest challenger, Steve Openshaw, a long way off the pace.

Last weekend saw Andy scoring more points, as he revealed: “I decided to fish Partridge Lakes on both days to hopefully try and pick up some points. With only four weeks remaining and tied at the top of the table, things are getting very close and every draw now counts massively.

“Last Saturday I drew peg 123 on Pool Five, which I didn’t fancy at all but if the lake fishes okay you never know and a point or two can still be possible. I knew after the first hour it wasn’t meant to be though, with only four fish in the net it was going to be tough to do any sort of damage, and so it proved as I only managed 26 fish for 27lb and was well off the pace.

“Sunday saw me on peg 70, and again I was a bit gutted drawing here as it is a very narrow peg which tends to die after an hour or two. When I arrived at the peg there was a stiff wind blowing across it and it didn’t look inviting, but for some strange reason there were fish there for the first time in months, that I can recall!

“I had three good hours catching 53lb before the peg died in the last two hours and I only managed another 11lb to finish with 64lb in total, all on maggot, and finished second overall, with 107lb winning it.

“That was about as much as I could expect and I left very pleased and thinking that I’d dodged a bullet and maybe this could be the start of a run of good luck with just three weeks remaining. That result got me another four points, and with Lee also scoring four points that weekend, we’re still tied at the top with all to play for in the last six matches.

“My plan for the next few weeks is just to concentrate on Partridge as these are the biggest open matches in the country, so there are always 50-80 anglers there, and this guarantees me maximum points if I can manage to win!

“At the start of the year I never set out to retain my title as I wanted to do a few new things this year, but I was leading the league after two months following a good start on some of the Maver qualifiers and the big Sunday opens at Partridge.

“I then fell behind as I missed a lot of Sundays and also went to Ireland for three weeks, which meant I missed six weekends in total due to travelling back and forth. Once the Angling Times Winter League started though on Heronbrook, I had a really good run and framed in every round, as well as at Partridge where I was fishing the Sunday opens!

“All of a sudden I’d gone from 30 odd points behind to only trailing by 16, and it was at that point, around November/December that I decided I’d have another go at winning the title.

“Other than that good run I wouldn’t say that there were any particular turning points in the competition for me and the main thing with the Matchman of the Year is to be consistent all year round.

“It’s no good being good in the summer and then struggling in the winter, or vice versa, and if you can score 12-16 points per month you will always be hard to beat. This year I’ve not scored as much in September and October, which is the best time of year, due to not fishing much at weekends.

“Last year I managed 56 points during those two months, which I could really have done with this year, but I’m still sat level at the top and I’d definitely have taken that a couple of months back. If I do manage to win this year I think this will be my biggest achievement in angling to date, as I’d have come back from nowhere,” he added.