Team England will return from foreign climes the proud owners of European Championships gold medals after the six-man side took on and beat a host of their continental cousins to be crowned champions after two days of intensive battle on Portugal’s River Sorraia at Coruche.
Made up of captain William Raison, James Dent, Steve Hemingray, Simon Willsmore, Cameron Hughes and Matt Godfrey, and under the watchful eyes of management duo Mark Downes and Darran Bickerton, England pipped hosts Portugal by just a point, scoring 31 points to their hosts’ 32, Belgium taking third on 40, and it was a victory that Manager Mark thinks was down to a couple of things.
“The venue responded to a very busy approach, switching lines and picking off fish steadily,” he explained. “From a 3m whip for tiny fish to big wagglers for barbel and catfish, we’d worked out that every one of the four lines we fished was just as important as the others, so we chopped and changed regularly, popping fish in the net all of the time.”
“What also stood out for me was how the squad worked together, spurring each other on, always coming up with ideas and suggestions, which meant that when Darran and myself arrived for the practice week, the lads who had already been out in Portugal for a week, had loads for us to work with,” he added. “They’re a great set of anglers and it all makes me very excited for what’s to come for this team.”
England settled on four lines for each section, involving a 3m line for little fish, a 5m line with slop groundbait for bleak, a slider/waggler line at 30m for barbel and catfish and then the main long pole line at 13m, fishing through the water with small floats and hooks with groundbait and loosefed maggots and hemp for small barbel, borga, bleak and barbel. However, on E section where carassio were dominant, the long pole feeding a little groundbait but loosefeeding heavily with just hemp took over.
There was also some glory on the individual front, as captain William took the bronze medal with a three-point score, only missing out on silver or gold by total weight as home anglers Pedro Bessa and Antonio Marques took first and second.
William posted a section second on day one with 5-120, adding a win on Sunday with 6-540 to give him a medal that now completes the full house for him – the bronze now means that the Daiwa man has now won every colour of medal, team and individual in every event he’s fished for the senior team!
Team result: 1 Team England, 31pts; 2 Portugal, 32; 3 Belgium, 40; 4 Italy, 53; 5 Hungary, 59; 6 Netherlands, 61; 7 Spain, 63; 8 Germany, 69; 9 France, 76; 10 Team Wales, 80; 11 Luxembourg, 96.
Individual result: 1 P Bessa, Portugal, 3pts (19-505); 2 A Marques, Portugal, 3 (16-425); 3 W Raison, Team England, 3 (11-635); 4 L Csillag, Hungary, 4 (12-755); 5 E De Venti, Belgium, 4 (12-595); 6 L Bruscia, Italy, 5.