THE NFA’s Ladies Team England landed team and individual gold medals in a spectacular victory which left the powerful Italian’s reeling at the ninth Ladies World Angling Championships, fished on the River Krki at Kostanjevica na Krki, Slovenia at the weekend.

If England were fatigued by their 1,200-mile overland dash to Slovenia they certainly didn’t show it as they propelled themselves past the other 17 competing nations to land a remarkable double gold tally. What a start for the teams new ‘tactical’ adviser, former world champion, Tom Pickering, who’s sixteen-year-old daughter, Emma, was in the team.

The England team was belatedly sponsored by the motor trade and they slipped into top gear, racing up the leader board on day one to finish with 18 points – nine points clear of runners-up Italy – while the fancied French girls plummeted to tenth position with 50 points.
Three
England
anglers, Sandra Scotthorne, Wendy Lythgoe and Helen Dagnall claimed three of the five section wins and the team sensed they were up for gold.
Manager Frank Lythgoe, whose daughter won her section, said this was one of the best first day performances he had seen from an
England team, but he tried to keep the team calm explaining “We have seen similar situations before; we must remain focussed on the job in hand and not become complacent.”

Although England appeared to have a comfortable day-one lead, the River Krki flattered to deceive and former world champion, Wendy Locker, had collected eight penalty points for her 1.700kg catch while Emma Pickering (16) returned 1.780kg earning seven points.

England decided not to risk a team change, which meant that once again new girl Claire Dagnall was sidelined. With the French 32 points behind England the danger teams on day-two were Italy, Germany and Hungary.

England’s team tactics were to attack the swim from the start by feeding 12 balls of groundbait laced with joker at 11-metres and fish over that with pinkie or single maggot on a 20 hook for bleak and small fish until the swim dried up. The fall-back was to alternate between float and sliding float tactics looking for better quality fish: i.e Danube roach (Rutilus pigus), nase, roach, skimmers, catfish and chub.

With two individual bronze medals to her credit (1997 and 2001) Sandra Scotthorne, wife of three times world champion Alan, got off to another great start on day-two plucking out 40 bleak in the first 45-minutes.
With a section win already under her belt, Sandra, a 42-year-old clothes designer from
Doncaster
, proved that she was a cut above the rest by switching to bolognaise and slider float tactics to take six roach to 1lb in the second hour.
Alternating between a fixed and slider float, the England ever present, encouraged by husband Alan, collected precious roach, dace, bleak and chub for a total weight of 3.540kg (the day’s second heaviest catch) claiming not only another section win, giving her a ‘perfect’ score of two points, but also the world individual crown.

With tears in her eyes, Sandra said: “This is a wonderful moment. To collect two gold medals in one day at a World Championship event is unbelievable. This is my third team gold and I will treasure this moment forever.”

Fortunately, the rumours that the team had slipped down the table on day-two were not true. The tricky river had claimed some casualties but England returned another solid team performance and their second day total weight of 13.490kg gave them 26 points – a two-day total of 44 points – and a gold medal to prove they are the undisputed ‘Champions of the World.’

The teams tactical adviser, Tom Pickering, said: “The team was magnificent and they responded to pressure by catching fish. I know what it means to win a gold medal and they deserved their glory in the 85-degree temperature.”

 

The NFA’s director of international events, Dick Clegg, commented: “This is a fabulous performance and I’m thrilled to bits for the girls.

“To win a gold medal at this level takes skill, courage and determination. Sandra has got her individual gold medal she so richly deserves. Congratulations to Tom Pickering who has steered the team to two gold medals at his first attempt. It was a shrewd move to introduce slider float tactics into the team plan – once this worked the other teams were left trailing behind.”

Sixteen-year-old Emma Pickering, was the teams second best performer finishing 11th with eight points from a total weight of 7.910kg – the best weight of the competiton Emma also landed the competition’s best fish, a 2.5kg catfish, and she won her section on day two with a 6.130kg catch.

After their world beating performance, the England team set off on their 1,200-mile overland journey home. Team manager Frank Lythgoe said “We shouldn’t forget that without the financial commitment of the National Federation Of Anglers, and the support of the motor trade and Viking Office Supplies, we may not have even competed in this years 18 team event.”

Whether the team will be able to defend their crown in England next August remains to be seen. Sport England has turned down the NFA’s application for funding twice and without sufficient funding the event will have to be returned to the world governing body for a replacement country.

NFA President Ken Ball commented: “I understand that the organisation in Slovenia was fantastic and funding had been made available by government and the tourist organisations.

“The wife of the President of Slovenia attended the prize giving ceremony. I don’t know what it is about this country. We pumped £50million into the Winter Olympics and won two medals, only to give one back! Our Ladies team has won 17 medals including six golds since 1994 and yet Sport England refuses to give us money. If we have to give next years Ladies World Championships back to CIPS it will be a disgrace.”

RESULTS: 

Team: 1 England, 44 pts: 2 Italy, 61; 3 Germany, 65; 4 Hungary, 65.5 pts; 5 Czech, 69 pts; 6 Croatia, 82 pts:

Individual: 1 Sandra Scotthorne, England, 2 points,  6.900kg;  Barbel Marahn, Germany, 3 points; 3   Elzbieta Kozak, Poland, 3 points; 4 Silvina Turrini, Italy, 5 points; 5 Agnes Praschek, Hungary, 5 points:  6 Giovanna Pasotti, Italy, 5 points;

England team: 1 Sandra Scotthorne, Doncaster, 2 pts; 11 Emma Pickering, Doncaster, 8 pts; 13 Wendy Lythgoe, Warrington , 9 pts; 17 Wendy Locker, Chester, 10 pts; 26 Helen Dagnall, Warrington, 15 pts. *Reserve Claire Dagnal, Studley.

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