Drennan Team England has continued this summer’s sporting success with two gold medals at the World Angling Championships, completing an Italian job over the favourites and host nation Italy this weekend (6th/7th September).
With over 1.2 million anglers, angling is one of the largest participation sports in the country meaning the pressure was well and truly on to deliver gold. With two day’s worth of fishing between England and a gold medal, and an unbeatable Italian side, the odds were truely stacked against them. The team are used to such high levels of expectation though and handled the pressure like true professionals, not disappointing landing the gold medal in emphatic style.
Both Mark Downes and Mark Addy were unanimous in their opinion that this was one of the finest ever England performances and travelling to Italy and beating the host nation is an improbable task for any squad.
On the very first day of practice the team found there was a chance of catching bonus fish on a very close, 4m line over loose fed maggots. However, because of the other team’s scrutiny of every English tactic, this was kept quiet until the match itself. With the tactics in place for the bonus fish, the mainline of attack was always 13m with pole floats of a half to two grams, with maggots being used as the main hookbait.
The team’s initial feed consisted of 18 balls of groundbait, a 50/50 mix of Sensas Fine Carp and 3000 Gialia darkened off with Tracix Black. A tiny amount of dead maggots and jokers were added and thrown in 1m short of the 13m pole tip. On the pole tip, four small balls of joker in double leam and two small balls of sticky maggot were sufficient for the start of the match. In addition a small amount of dead maggot was fed on the 4 metre line.
Day one saw a score of 22 points and some great individual performances with Steve Gardener and Alan Scotthorne making the 4m line work towards the end of the competition, gaining at least 30 points in the last 30 minutes. With San Marino and the Czech Republic not too far behind but an unprecedented 46 point lead over the hosts Italy the team were in good shape for the second day.
On day two the team stuck to a similar plan as first day, just decreasing the amount of joker and increasing the amount of maggots knowing that carp would become crucial as the match progressed.
Our 53 points score on day two was terrific from the pegs we had as Alan Scotthorne’s 18th saw him beat all the other teams in contention from the pegs around him and Des Ship’s last gasp carp gained us another valuable few points. Sean Ashby and Will Raison finished in second place and Steve Gardener had a section win seeing us finish convincing winners 29 points clear of San Marino in second place.
Individually, Will Raison won gold with three points and a weight of 23.530kg which was just deserts for a young man who has rapidly become one of the most respected anglers in Europe. Two immaculate performances with the constant gaze of over 1,000 spectators each day was sensational. The success didn’t stop there as a fantastic team performance saw Steve Gardener of England claim the bronze medal with four points and 15.530kg.
Joint team manager of Drennan Team England Mark Downes commented, “I have been involved in international match angling for nigh on 30 years and I truly believe that this squad will go down in history as one of the best ever.”
Fellow team manager Mark Addy added, “We beat the French in France, the Portuguese in Portugal, the Hungarians in Hungary, but the Italians in Italy is the best so far.”
Angling legend and NFA International Events Director Dick Clegg added, “I could not praise enough the professionalism that Mark Downes and Mark Addy have shown at this years World Championships. They are both a credit to English sport and have shown that once again, Drennan Team England is the team to beat in international angling.”
Chairman of the NFA, Terry Fell commented, “This weekend has been a fantastic showcase for the sport with over 600 anglers providing us with one of the best nationals ever in the Pentax Division One. And with Drennan Team England returning from the World Championships on Sunday with two gold medals and a bronze, angling as a whole should be extremely proud of these achievements as we continue to raise the bar on a national and international level.”