Angling club's future under threat

SUFFOLK's junior angling squad are in danger of folding just months after their long awaited return to the banks due to the huge financial gulf between them and their opponents.

Stuart Watson

SUFFOLK's junior angling squad are in danger of folding just months after their long awaited return to the banks due to the huge financial gulf between them and their opponents.

Gipping Valley Angling Club coaches Steve Barnes, Mark Brewster and Barry Miller worked hard to get a young county side back in regular competition last year following a long term absence, however, their tireless volunteer hours could yet prove to be pointless.

Suffolk's fledgling young squad have earned many plaudits on their travels since making their debut at the National Junior Angling Association's (NJAA) National Championships last September and have often finished above far more experienced opposition.

However, the lack of a main sponsor, regular backing from a tackle manufacturer and bait supplier is beginning to severely limit the promising squad's chances of finishing anywhere other than the middle to lower half of championships.

That was proven at the NJAA Challenge at the start of this month where Suffolk finished eighth out of ten.

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And while it was certainly not to be sniffed at - Suffolk finishing above a Worksop side containing an England international - coach Mark Brewster knows his side are treading water at present.

While other clubs are able to gain the significant edge of sourcing the in-season bait of bloodworm and joker from Eastern Europe, Suffolk have been left fishing with the far less effective squatt and pinkie.

Brewster explained: “When we turned up at Worksop we began distributing our bait amongst our competitors in the car park when a representative from Barnsley came and offered up some surplus bloodworm and joker to anyone who was interested.

“I dived straight for the float! It was only really enough for one person but we split it between all four of our squad.”

Sure enough, when the Suffolk anglers switched to the new bait late on in the competition they had much more joy, but by then it was too late to make an assault on the top of the leader board.

“It's a difficult situation,” explained Brewster, “because we need sponsorship to get results, however, sponsors want to see results first before they commit any money.

“I don't think people realise just how well these youngsters have done in the past year. When we go to a lot of these events people can't believe it when we say that we haven't got a canal to practise on in Suffolk.

“There is a lot of travelling involved and with the current price of petrol it's just getting too expensive.

“We have proved that we have the ability, but without some money we just won't be able to keep on competing with the likes of King's Lynn who have got £24,000 over three years in sponsorship.”

For more information on Suffolk's junior angling squad, whose practises are fully backed by the Environment Agency, please visit: www.gippingvalleyanglingclub.co.uk and follow the link to the junior section.

FASTFACTS: Bait Factfile

Squatt - Also known as the maggot, the squatt is the lavi of the housefly.

Pinkie - The lavi of the green bottle.

Bloodworm - The lavi of the midge, bloodworm is typically found on the bottom of shallow marine waters. Named so because their pale skin allows their red body fluids to show through.

Joker - Known as 'the little red men', joker are the lavi of the gnat and require extensive maintenance. Like bloodworm, they are sourced from the waters of Eastern Europe around the start of October.

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