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SILVER FOR STEFAN BUT ENGLAND FALL SHORT IN FRANCE
ENGLAND’S trio of teams fishing at the Masters, Veterans, and Disabled World Championships found the French host venue a tough nut to crack last weekend… but there was a silver lining as Stefan Gent took the individual second spot in the Disabled event.
Fished on the Channelled Moselle in Toul in the east of the country, the challenging waterway saw miniature gobies dominate the week’s practice and it was grams which decided the outcome of the two-days of competition.
Northwest ace Stefan was the only English angler who managed a perfect two-point score over the two matches but agonisingly missed out on the gold to French angler Alain Schaeffer on a weight countback by just a tiny 84 grams.
The Disabled squad of Mark Eves, Mark Russell, Stefan Gent, Roy Wells, and Ethan Etherington finished in fourth both days and came close to a medal too. Just two fewer section points would have seen them on the podium with bronze.
It was Hungary who led the way on 27 points followed by Croatia on 28, Italy and France tied on 35, and England fifth with 36, well ahead of the rest of the pack.
Manager John Weedon said: “We had a great practice week leading up to the Championship, but the canal system changed drastically for the competition as the heavy boat traffic disappeared and we weren’t able to implement some of our tactics learned in the competition days.
“The anglers fished their hearts out all week and the helpers all gave 100 per cent to give us every chance of bringing back a medal and it was so close in the end. A huge thank you to all those who supported us along the way.”
MASTERS OFF TO FLYING START
It was the 55-and-above age group Masters squad of Sam Wildsmith, Bill Reynolds, Matt Hall, Graham Smith, and Ben Bray who got off to the best start team-wise and ended day one in a first place on just 17 section points in a tie with Slovenia in the 17-team match.
However, a poor draw on the second day left them scratching around for bites and it dropped them down to fourth place overall on 55 points behind winners Hungary on 40, Czech Republic on 45, and bronze medallists Slovenia with 51 points. On the individual front former FishOMania champion Matt Hall came back with a 9th place finish for his fifth and fourth section scores.
VETERANS FIND IT TOUGH ON THE TOUL
Dickie Carr’s over 65 Veterans squad of Tom Pickering, Steve Sanders, Harry Billing, Mark Downes and Roger Marlow have probably more experience than any at winning medals in international competitions, but two poor draws put them out of contention before the first whistles were blown.
It was a case of them getting their heads down and catching micro-gobies and they have missed out by just grams on securing better section points in an incredibly close content, finishing the two days in seventh overall with 50.5 points.
Again, it was Hungary who dominated, winning the individual event, and claiming team gold with a 30.5 section point score ahead of Poland on 32, and Croatia with 34.
Double World Champ Mark Downes was England’s best performer finishing in 15th place on nine points.