The Angling Trust England Men’s match fishing team is beginning to make second day comebacks to win medals a bit of a habit, as after storming back for silver in last year’s World Champs, the side put in an equally impressive day two performance in this year’s European Championships to take the bronze medals!

Sitting in a disappointing eighth place after the opening match on the bream-dominated Netherlands’ Princess Margaret Canal, the chances of a medal may have seemed remote.

But on a venue that was very peggy in nature, the team knew different and showed that amply on Sunday’s match, roaring back for third spot.

Finishing on 79 points, England were only three away from silver, taken by Slovakia, France winning with 63 points. A day one score of 49 points wasn’t what the team wanted, but their day two tally of 30 points was the second-best on the day to see them end up as worthy medallists.

“It was a good comeback, and one we thought was always on, but in truth, I’m a little annoyed because we were only those few points off second,” said England Manager Mark Downes. “What I think has cost us were seven pegs in the middle of D section, They’d been poor all week in practice, and we had an angler bang in the middle of them on both days. The lads on them scored 18 points apiece, but fishing elsewhere on the other days, both had section seconds, so the approach wasn’t wrong!”

“That’s match fishing though. You cannot beat the draw and we could only hope that we had enough good pegs to even things out, and over two days we just about did,” he continued. “Being such a high-scoring event, making up a lot of points was always achievable, so certainly, on Saturday evening we were fancying bronze with the right pegs, and we got four good ones and a shocker on Sunday, so it all went more or less as we’d hoped it would.”

Day one produced three good scores of a second in section for Cameron Hughes, fourth for Sean Ashby and fifth for James Dent, with Matt Godfrey and William Raison drawing shocking pegs that could only see them beat a few anglers for 18 and 20 points respectively.

A lot could change depending on where those bream were come Sunday, James and Matt scoring two points apiece, Sean three and Simon Willsmore, replacing Will, finishing with five. Only Cameron drew a duffer and came back with 18 points after such a promising opening day.

“The secret seemed to be to fish past the feed as the bream backed off it regularly,” Mark revealed. “We could catch fishing over the bait, which was groundbait and leam with minimal joker in it, using a flat float for a static bait or a 3g round bodied float for running. However, we fed roughly at 12.5m, giving us that extra space up to the 13m pole limit to go past the bait. That’s worked for most of the boys on Sunday.”