There was no joy for the Subfish England Ladies team as they returned from Italy empty-handed leaving manager Tommy Pickering forecasting a bleak future for the side unless things closer to home change drastically.
The girls ended up seventh as teams from the eastern side of Europe again dominated, Germany winning both the team and individual gold, the Czechs taking silver, Hungary bronze and Slovenia finishing fourth, ample evidence of how these sides have caught up the big three of England, France and Italy.
“I’ve seen this coming for years,” Tommy said. “When I took over it was almost a guaranteed medal because we were streets ahead of the rest but they’ve caught up and overtaken us now. They’ve put the work in and it shows while we’ve stood still. I don’t often agree with Mark Downes but he’s right in saying we need more domestic fishing to international rules. You can’t spend practice time learning how to prepare sticky mag which is what was happening in Italy.” Practice was actually good for England with most tipping them to win and despite an indifferent first day where they finished with 23 points, all involved felt a medal was still within reach and with an hour to go on day two they were looking good for a silver medal before the team inexplicably stopped catching.
“I honestly don’t know what happened,” Tommy admitted. “Were our tactics wrong? I do know a lot of skimmers and bream were caught and we didn’t catch many so perhaps we were fishing for the wrong fish. I know Italy fished a similar match to us and finished fourth on their home water, so something wasn’t right.” England’s plan was to fish the 11.5m pole line with groundbait and joker topped up with sticky mag, carassio being the main species, but the wheels came off and Tommy accepted full responsibility. There was also disappointment on the individual front where outgoing world champ and Tommy’s daughter Emma missed out on gold by 10oz thanks to a lost big fish.
“She’d won her section on day 1 and on day 2 was well placed but hooked and lost a big fish at the net that she played for 15 minutes,” Tommy explained.
“If she’d landed it or not hooked it and carried on catching carassio she’d be world champ.”
1 Germany, 25pts
2 Czech Republic, 31
3 Hungary, 33
4 Italy, 34
5 Slovenia, 34.5
6 Netherlands, 41
7 Subfish England, 44
1 S Bloch, Germany, 2pts (15-840)
2 H Purkrabkova, Czech Republic, 2 (8-150)
3 A Schultz, Germany, 2 (7-465)