On the face of it, fifth place after the first day of action might seem a bit of a disappointing result but the merry band that make up the Preston Innovations England Feeder team go into the final day tomorrow well within sight of a medal and confident of one too given a string of fine performances tempered only by one bad score that would otherwise see them sitting in the top three.
With the rowing course in Ghent showing its hard side, team manager Tommy Pickering admitted that the side were caught out a little when it came to feeding and once they adapted the fish started to come resulting in their 32 point tally nine behind leaders the Ukraine and only six off the Netherlands in third.
A section win for Phil Ringer, a third for Dean Barlow and fourths for Mick Vials and Steve Ringer laid the foundation but unlucky Darren Cox in the rock hard E section hooked a bream with 30 seconds to go and despite cranking it in, the fish was netted after the hooter. Had it been landed safely those points would have put England in the top three.
“It’s a close match and any of the top six will be in medal contention tomorrow,” said Tommy. “Of course we need a good day but we pretty much had one today apart from Darren who was unfortunate; had that fish been hooked two minutes before he’d have got it in and we’d be well in with a shout and I always knew his peg would be tough but I backed him to get one pull round and a fish – it’s just sod’s law it was when the match was all but over! The venue changed for today as it has done in every day in practice and bream being bream they’ve been difficult to pin down.”
As the match progressed it became clear that England’s feeding wasn’t quite on the money and as word went around and changes were made the team started to play catch up, Phil having over 9 kilos for his section win and Dean Barlow bagging 6-270 with Steve Ringer recording a solid 5-250 while Mick Vials toughed it out in C section for five valuable points with 2-850.
“Obviously the team will change for tomorrow and I’ll come in for Darren who’s disappointed but we’ve all been around fishing long enough to know that these things happen,” Tommy added. “Phil has a great chance of a medal and though we don’t fish for individual glory it’ll be a bonus that we’ll gladly take and don’t forget that nine points can easily be made up on a venue like this. We’ve got a great chance of a medal and that’s what I’ve told the boys tonight.”
Team result: 1 Ukraine, 23pts; 2 Hungary, 25; 3 Netherlands, 26; 4 Belgium, 30; 5 Preston Innovations England, 32 (weight); 6 Austria, 32.
How England scored:
A section – Steve Ringer 5-250 – 4 points
B section – Phil Ringer 9-150 – 1 point
C section – Mick Vials 2-850 – 5 points
D section – Dean Barlow 6-270 – 4 points
E section – Darren Cox 0-450 – 19 points
Phil Ringer’s day
Bream fishing is always a bit of a bottle job as bites can be slow coming and often in the closing stages of the match and even though he’d drawn a good area in B section, Phil Ringer still had to hold his nerve as he landed eight fish for his section winning 9-150.
“Even though it was a decent area I’d only got two fish with two hours to go but we’d caught plenty of fish in practice where I was and often late and that’s what happened again as I caught six in the last 90 minutes,” Phil said. “They averaged 2lb 8oz apiece but you had to go for them as there was no point trying to catch small fish. Every other team was using big baits and sitting and waiting and that was how it was for us. It’s a gamble and a tense waiting game but if you do it right and have confidence, you’ll catch.”
Casting the grooundbait feeder down the middle of the rowing course and using a mix with little feed in it, Phil fished half a worm on the hook and tomorrow sees him in A section where his brother Steve was. “It’s not a great section so I need a very good draw but I’m confident and so are the team. We’re well within sight of a medal.”