European Championships report

Despite boasting two section winners and finishing just five points off the gold medal position on Day One, Drennan England could only finish fifth in the European Championships fished on the Prince Albert Canal in Leige, Belgium at the weekend.

The host country were convincing winners in the end, with 42.5 points on a 200 metre wide canal that provided  roach, small skimmers, perch, ruffe, bleak and the occasional bream, and which coach Mark Downes admitted was very fair. 

Belgium also provided the individual gold medal winner in Guidy Nullens (four points), who remarkably rarely finishes out of the top ten in European Championships. Italy’s Roberto Trabucco won the silver.

England’s two section winners were former world champ Alan Scotthorne, cheered on by his wife Sandra, and England’s new boy Shaun Ashby. Out of the squad of six it was four times world champ Bob Nudd who was made reserve after the official practice days.

However, Alan could only manage an 11th in section on Day Two, while Shaun’s sixth in section on the first day followed by a section win on Day Two claimed him 12th overall in a match which saw some of the world’s top anglers struggle to make 1lb.

England’s dependable Will Raison was sixth overall after collecting six points, four on Day One and two on Day Two. Steve Gardener also scored six points, and finished eighth overall.

The most disappointing result from Day One was that of Stuart Conroy. He finished eighth in section and in accordance with team policy made way for the reserve, Bob Nudd, on Day Two. Bob however had an unmitigated disaster, and finished 19th in section, probably his worst ever result for his country.

Joint manager Mark Downes commented: “Although we came fifth with 57 points, our Day One effort was quite good and we were only five points adrift of the top team.

“However, obviously you can’t handle a total of 30 points from two of the team on the second day. If Alan or Bob had landed a bonus fish it would have been a very different story. We have no complaints about the water – it was very fair.”

Result: 1 Belgium, 42.5pts; 2 France, 48.5; 3 Poland, 51; 4 Italy, 54.5, 5 England, 57; 6 Portugal, 81.5; 7 Russia, 81.5; 8 Germany, 96.5; 9 Luxemborg, 122.5; 10 Holland, 126.5.

Individual: 1 Guido Nullens, Belgium, 4pts (3810gr); 2 Roberto Trabucco, Italy, 5 (5660gr); 3 Rodolfo Friggeri, Italy, 5 (4990gr); 4 Andrzej Bukrak, Poland, 5 (3680gr); 5 Hans Slegers, Belgium, 5 (3180gr); 6 Will Raison, England, 6 (5500gr); 7 Giles Caudin, France, 6 (5480gr); 8 Steve Gardener, 6 (4190gr); 9 Christophe Gazannois, France, 3670gr); 10 Alain Dewimille, France, (2980gr).