A TRIO of top England squads will take on the World this week as the Masters, Veterans, and Disabled teams all compete in World Championship events in France.

Regarded as some of the strongest squads ever assembled, and including several former World Champions, each side will be hoping to bring back the silverware with victory on the River Moselle, near Toul, eastern France.

Masters’ team manager Joe Roberts has already been out to the venue for a scouting mission alongside Veterans team stalwart Steve Sanders who fared well in the recent practice events, winning one of the matches and finishing fifth overall in another.

“I can’t give too much away but I think we’ve got the venue sorted,” admitted Joe. “There were a lot of world class anglers fishing the practice matches and there were a lot of eyes on us, but I think we managed to hide our tactics well.

“This is very specialised fishing for gobies and silverfish on the pole and short whips and rig choice is crucial, as is the way you feed. It’s going to be a fish race too, some of the gobies are only 10g each so you’ll need a lot of fish for good section points.”

All three teams will line up on a long section of the wide river which is noted for is silvers but also its rapidly changing flows and water levels caused by the massive barges which use the waterway.

Joe’s Masters squad (55 to 65 age category) consists of seasoned internationals Sam Wildsmith, Billy Reynolds, Graham Smith, and Matt Hall, with the addition of new England cap Ben Bray who claimed his place at a trial in January.

England Masters & Veterans Czech Republic 2016

Joining them at the teams-of-four event will be the Team England Veterans squad – for anglers over 65 – and manager Dickie Carr has largely stuck with the team which won double gold in 2021 and bronze last summer.

Team England Masters France 2023

Double World Veterans Champion Mark Downes, Steve Sanders, Harry Billing, and Roger Marlow all return to earn England caps, but there’s a move for one of last year’s Masters anglers into the Veterans line up.

Former World Champ Tommy Pickering, who fished with both the Masters Float and Feeder teams in 2022 and won individual silver at the Feeder event in September, has moved up to the Veterans squad.

England Disabled team manager John Weeden has opted for experience too this year too, selecting Ethan Etherington, Mark Eves, Stefan Gent, Mark Russell, and Roy Wells to compete on the Moselle.

Team England Disabled squad arrive in France

* The Angling Trust would like to thank everyone who helped raise funds for the teams this year and is encouraging everyone to get behind the squads. The venue is just over four hours from Calais and all supporters will be welcome on the banks to cheer the lads on.



Joe Roberts – Manager

Mick Denton – Assistant Manager

Mark Harper – Assistant Manager

Ben Bray

Matt Hall

Billy Reynolds

Graham Smith

Sam Wildsmith




Dickie Carr – Manager

Keith Austin – Assistant Manager

Kev Folwell – Assistant manager

Harry Billing

Mark Downes

Roger Marlow

Tom Pickering

Steve Sanders




John Weeden – Manager

Ricky Martinelli – Assistant

Paul Etherington – Assistant

Ethan Etherington

Mark Eves

Stefan Gent

Mark Russell

Roy Wells

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