THERE is a new sport in town and it has the young people of Bolton hooked.

Smithills School has its own fishing team and it is already making a splash in the world of angling — beating the well established Ramsbottom Anglers.

The team was formed in September and there are plans to introduce the sport on a bigger scale in the town.

Keen fisherman and headteacher Alec Cottrill wanted to pass on his love of fishing.

The team did the headteacher proud when Smithills Junior Match Fishing Team netted the Pennine Trophy in a match against Ramsbottom Anglers.

The competition took place at Crown Pools in Bury, which stocks Roach, Perch, Bream, Carp and Tench Mr Cottrill said: “It is like Buxton beating Manchester United.

“We would like to start a school league, Bolton Angling Association is very supportive of the idea.”

It is not just the catch which children are enjoying, they are also developing skills, such as concentration and focus, as well as working as part of a team.

Teacher Stuart Butler, who is a trained coach, said: “The pupils had to concentrate for four hours in the cold.

“It was fantastic when they won, they also develop respect for the environment.”

Work is being carried out on a pond to improve access for all children, including those with disabilities, and for pupils from other schools to use.

Stephen Waring, captain of the fishing team, said: “I have been fishing since I was eight with my family.

“I like the peace and serenity of the sport and being outdoors. I think the win will inspire the team further.”

Family members turned up to watch the children win.

James Rhodes, aged 13, said: “There is a lot of demand to be part of the team, there are not enough places on the mini-bus. I like the fact you are outside.”

Lewis Kemp, aged 13, added: “I was really happy when the team won.

“Fishing is a very positive activity for young people to get involved in.”

The fishing team was given a boost when Vision for Education, which provides supply teachers, donated hundreds of worth fishing gear.

Gary Thorman, manager of the company, said: “It is rewarding to hear first hand what difference the resources we are able to provide make.”