Steve Hemingray picks up individual gold medal at European Championships

Drennan Team England may only have taken bronze on the team front, but they can add the European Champion individually to go with William Raison’s world title last September after Steve Hemingray returned a perfect two-point score in Slovenia.

Hungary and Belgium beat England to the title on the River Sava, the
reigning World Champs finishing 8.5 points off gold but only 1.5 off the silver medal as a change of conditions caught them out on Day 1. With the river back to normal on Sunday though, England powered back to win the day and claim a medal.

For Steve though, the title still hasn’t sunk in. His weekend saw him score two section wins fishing the team plan of single and double bloodworm over regular small balls of groundbait on a 7m and 11m line, weights of roach and vimba scaling 6-050kg and 5-930kg giving the Leicester man the title.

“It’s not a bad thing to have on your CV,” Steve said. “Chances in an
England shirt are few and far between so you always want to do your best, and I’ve fished pretty well when I’ve had the chance, but this has to be the pinnacle. It’s just a shame we missed out on Saturday, but gold softens the blow a lot.”

With the river coloured all week, England had been the team to beat in practice, and even the Hungarians who took the title admitted they couldn’t beat them on fish-catching terms. Only big bonus fish could upset the applecart and that’s what happened on Day 1 as the river went clear and England caught a cold.

“We couldn’t catch short or find the numbers of fish we wanted,” said England manager Mark Downes. “The fish moved out and more bonus fish showed and we hadn’t figured those in. The river was back to normal for Day 2 and we strolled it with 12 points. I think everyone fishing accepted that if the river had have been in its normal coloured state, they would have been fishing for silver. That’s not being big-headed because we were just streets ahead when it came to catching those little fish.”