Drennan Team England missed out on a World Champs silver medal thanks to a ridiculous new points ruling that has reduced the blue-riband world event to a series of 13-peg matches.
The ruling, making its debut this year, has been condemned following last weekend’s event on the Lage Vaart Canal, even by the teams it was designed to help. Slovakia won gold, but under the old scoring system Belgium would have triumphed and England come second – Slovakia would have been seventh, 40 points off the pace!
The aim of CIPS, world matchfishing’s governing body, was to give smaller nations a chance at a medal following the dominance of the ‘big four’ of England, France, Belgium and Italy. While that succeeded with the new system, it has left a bitter taste in the mouths of many of the 38 competing countries.
“At the banquet after the match I had loads of teams asking me why they hadn’t fished against the big sides,” said fellow co-manager “The move was supposed to help those small teams compete, but these same sides are the ones unhappy with it,” continued Mark. “That was the worst part about the whole weekend for me.
“The problem is that the big teams ended up fishing against each other in the majority of sections, cancelling each other’s points out, and that left an opportunity for a small team to sneak in under the radar.
“Take nothing away from Slovakia, fair play to them for winning, but at no point did it feel like a proper World Champs – surely that can’t be right?”
So what’s likely to happen? Is international fishing stuck with the system or could it all revert to how it was before? Angling Trust international events director Dick Clegg sits on the Technical Committee that makes such decisions, and he’s sure it will be on the agenda at the annual CIPS meeting in November.
“The system will be in place until such time that enough countries object to it,” Dick said. “I know Belgium’s manager Roland Marque wasn’t happy with it, and he said as much. The main moan from the small teams like New Zealand and Australia is that they’d travelled thousands of miles to fish against Will Raison or Alan Scotthorne. To beat them would have been their day in the sun and something to talk about for years.
“On a deeper level can you imagine Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Man Utd being told that they’d only be playing against each other all season in the Premiership while the other teams played everyone else?
“That’s what you effectively had last weekend.”