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MEDALS GALORE AS ENGLAND’S YOUNG LIONS RUN RAMPANT IN PORTUGAL!
England’s U20 squad are WORLD CHAMPIONS after dominating the World Youth Champs in Portugal.
And to add to the medal celebrations Josh Duffy claimed the individual gold ahead of Billy Kirk with the silver after two intense days of fishing on the River Sorraia at Coruche.
The Angling Trust squad – backed by Sheffield law firm SSB Group – were described as one of the strongest ever assembled in the age category and they lived up to their hype with a commanding performance that saw them run out day one winners with an impressive 10.5 section points ahead of big rivals France. Their score included section wins for Alfie Nicholls, Josh Duffy, and Billy Kirk.
On day two they found the going a little tougher with Hungary picking up the pace behind them, but they did enough to win the second day with 11 points for a 21.5 points total – well clear of Hungary’s 34 and France’s 36.
Speaking to us ahead of the medal ceremony on Sunday evening, U20 manager Jason Kirk said: “This is an unbelievable result! The lads have fished brilliantly all week, a proper team effort, and have worked every day towards this medal since the squad was announced in May.
“Tactics through the week revolved around pole and slider fishing at long range, but we discovered a trick in the practice week which saw us ditch the waggler in favour of a pole-only attack for barbel, catfish, and carassio. We don’t want to give the secret away, but we were surprised that none of the other teams had sussed it out.”
It was a tougher task for the two other England sides fishing on other sections of the river as our England U25 and U15 squads each suffered from poor draws in areas where fish were scant to begin with. Both teams managed to finish with respectable scores to earn them sixth places overall.
U25 team manager Jason Kirk stepped in at the last moment in 2022 and helped the squad to overall silver and was officially appointed as the new manager in January 2023. Going one better this time around was his target with a squad consisting of Joshua Duffy, Callum Jennings, Billy Kirk, George McHugh, Louis Morris, and Alfie Nicholls.
Josh and Billy both claimed three points from the two days from a section win and a section each, with Josh just getting the nod for the gold by 40 grams after a weight countback. Alfie Nicholls was just two points behind them as fifth overall individual.
“Thanks to everyone who supported the boys this year both at home and on the bank,” added Jason. “This is what great young anglers can achieve when they have the backing they need, and deserve, to succeed.”