The Great Fishing Match

30 Aug

……is how it was christened in 1987 by a lady named Janice with whom I worked in Barclays Bank Trust Company’s Chelmsford Office.

The same lady, incidentally, who passed on to me the appalling example of other people’s ignorance that closed my posting “Fog” which you can find in the March 2009 archive of this site.

She was the first person, that I am aware of, who called it that, particularly with the capitalisation.

Its proper title (which it retains with increasing inaccuracy to the present day) is:

“The Barclays Bank Inter-District Sea Angling competition”

Back in 1981, when I first became aware of the competition’s existence, Barclays’ branches were administered by a number of “Local Head Offices” run by a small number of “Local directors”.

The geographical area that each of these “LHOs”covered was known for convenience as a “District” – hence Inter-District rather than Inter –Local Head Office in the competition title. Additionally, subsidiary companies such as the one I worked for were accorded honorary “District” status and members of staff in these companies were allowed to enter any Barclays sporting event either as members of their own company or, if not required by them, as members of the Bank District in which they were physically located.

Anyway, back in 1981 I was working in the Trust Company’s Norwich office and taking part in advertised Sea Fishing events with the Norwich LHO sports club. These usually took place a couple of times a year, usually at North Beach, Great Yarmouth and it was while taking our lunch break in the Iron Duke public house just across the road from where we were fishing that the organiser mentioned what he referred to as “the National” bank match. At that time this took place in Weymouth in Dorset every year.

He explained that at the time he was required to enter a team for this event there were only four people, himself included, who were interested and he had already promised places to them. He did assure me that next year he would hold a match to select the team.

I did enter the selection match in 1982 but wasn’t TOO surprised to find that I came fifth – what I had been hearing about the social side of the event had led me to believe that these guys wouldn’t want to give THAT up when a handful of stones down the throats of a few dead Whiting could secure it for them! Of course they MAY just have been better fishermen than me!

By 1983 I had moved down to the Chelmsford Office and was far too busy being a new parent (the house move and becoming a Dad came within TWO DAYS of each other – THAT was a helluva week!) to take any action about that year’s event.

During the winter, however, I went on several boat fishing trips in the Thames with other Chelmsford District people and found a few who were interested in a trip to Weymouth the following November. A team was entered and my annual fishing mini-break had begun.

I obviously got a bit excited about the first one and by the 1985 event I had discovered that you could get TWO DAYS official leave to attend it so it didn’t even affect my holiday entitlement!

The 1986 match was notable for two things – firstly it wasn’t at Weymouth; we had started a “round the country” tour so that different regions could have a turn at hosting it. This one was on Holyhead Breakwater in Anglesey. Secondly we actually came second and won trophies!

This made us one of the major successes of the Barclays Chelmsford Sports Club for that year and we got to have drinks with the Local Directors and were mentioned in various newsletters because of it.

It was all this fame and fortune that prompted Janice to glorify the 1987 event with the expression which forms the title of this piece.

1987 did not bring any trophies but caused me some problems in the preceding months. Because of the success of 1986 I was told that quite a few people had expressed an interest in being in the team and, because I didn’t fancy being fifth in another selection match, I decided to form my own team of Trust Company people.

This entailed sending out circulars to the thirty plus Trust Company offices via our own Sports Club – something called the BarclayTrust Association – and I was fairly sure I would get sufficient replies to fill the three vacancies. I didn’t! I got two! One of them I actually knew from a Training Course a few years earlier but neither of us had mentioned our hobbies and interests during that fortnight.

Still, it WAS a team of my own and knowing in advance that three people would find it almost impossible to win we set out to Hastings, just two weeks after the October 1987 hurricane devastated the South Coast, determined to have as much fun as possible.

That team was extended to four successfully the next year and there has been a team or teams comprising one or more of those people competing ever since!

Yes, despite changes to the Bank, the rules and the staff (see my post “The ‘R’ word” from 16th July 2009) the competition still goes on AND SO DO I! I haven’t missed one since I started in 1984! The 2009 event to be held in Dover in November will be my TWENTYSIXTH consecutive match (and the eleventh since I left the Bank – which isn’t bad going for a Bank competition!) and I still look forward to it just as much.

Regular readers will already know that there is always, however vague, some point to me writing this stuff and this time it is a simple advertisement.

You see, each year after The Great Fishing Match I have written a sort of journal about that year’s match, the results and amusing (I think!) anecdotes and events that happened.

And now I’m going to inflict them on you!

If you look on the “Blogroll” showing links to other pages belonging either to me or to friends of mine you will shortly find some reference to “Gone Fishing” or something similar. This will be another one of these excellent WordPress blog pages into which I propose to gradually transfer, on the basis of one post for each chapter, all of the stuff I’ve written about it so far. Or, at least, an edited version of it – I’m not quite sure if I need permission to mention the people in it by name so they may need changing to first name plus initial of surname.

Try it – you never know you may enjoy it.

Or, if you’ve ever been in the competition I’m talking about, you might get at least one name check!


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Posted by on August 30, 2009 in Uncategorized


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