Left to right: The bronze medal winning England Under-15s squad for 2017 of Jason Kirk, Joe Roberts, Josh Newman, Joshua Paling, Mick Gibbs, William McCranor, Ryan Kennison, Billy Kirk

Team England under 15’s won the Bronze medal in a memorable debut in the FIPS-ed World Youth Championships in Ireland, while England’s Sensas U20’s and Drennan U25’s narrowly missed out on bronze medals of their own as both teams finished in agonising fourth place.

Ireland hosted the 2017 FIPS-ed World Youth Championships over the weekend of the 12th and 13th August. The event was held at Inniscarra Lake in Cork and for the first time in recent memory, Team England were competing in all three categories as Joe Roberts led the newly formed under 15 team while Steve Sanders and Mark Downes led the Sensas U20’s and Drennan u25’s respectively.

Ten nations were represented in the U15 category and it was England’s debut in the competition and the squad lacked any experience of international fishing however, every member of the squad had progressed through the Angling Trust’s England Talent Pathway programme which had given them access to high quality coaching, focused around international style fishing.

The species caught were predominately roach and perch in some very deep water varying from 1.5 metres to 7 metres which made the fishing varied from peg to peg.

The teams had to fish the slider on a lot of the pegs which three of the squad had never fished before, this made their final result all the more impressive! France led after day one with a total of seven points while England’s inexperienced team had a fantastic day and ended in second place, scoring 15 points while Hungary and Poland both ended the first day with 19 points.

England entered the second day full of optimism however, a bad draw in B1 which was only 3-4 feet deep, was cause for concern and it proved to be costly for England as the team ended up with 19 points, enough to tie for second place with Poland, however the Bronze was awarded following count back on weight. The French team again performed brilliantly, adding just five points to their total of seven on day one giving them the Gold medal with 12 points.

The England U15 squad consisted of Josh Newman, William McCranor, Billy Kirk, Ryan Kennison and Joshua Paling. Joe Roberts, England U15’s Manager said “I am delighted with the result and winning bronze. All five of the team have progressed through our Talent Programme and have gone on to win a medal on the world stage and this is testament to their skill, hard work and dedication to their sport. The youngsters and their parents who came to support them were all fantastic and it was a pleasure to work with them all. I’d like to thank Mick Gibbs and Jason Kirk for their support to myself and the team. We are actively looking for a sponsor for the team and we hope we can go to Italy in 2017 and go one or even two better in the medal stakes. If there are any companies out there looking to support our elite young anglers then please get in touch with us.”

In the U20 category it was a story of individual success and team heartache as England’s Sensas U20’s angler Sam Collett won silver in the individual category but the team narrowly missed out on a medal and finished in fourth place. Sam, another graduate of the England Talent Pathway programme produced a phenomenal performance over two days, finishing first on day one and third on day two on his way to securing individual Silver. The team fought hard as they always do and worked even harder as each angler used 20 litres of groundbait and 2 litres of live bait everyday. The team caught 959 roach over the two days of competition and ended the championship in fourth place, France u20’s emulated their u15 teams achievements and took the Gold medal.

The Sensas England U20 squad consisted of Sam Collett, Joshua Smith-Trow, George Orga, Andrew Cranston and Jordan Holloway.

Drennan U25’s mirrored the result of England’s u20’s team and finished in fourth place. England scored 23 points on day one. Rory Jones performed well and took second place from C10 while Matt Barnett took a fifth from a shallow end peg on D13. Brad Gibbons scored seven points from B4 and Alex Clements drew badly, manager Mark Downes commenting it was possibly the worst peg in the match with just 3m of depth at 13m, where 4.5m was required to catch the roach. Alex battled well for nineth place as the same peg finished last on day Two.

On day two England drew better and believed Silver was a possibility. Alex drew peg 9, again on A section and finished sixth, while Matt was on B8, Rory on peg 10 turned in an excellent performance to take a third with 11kg+. Brad produced a late surge with skimmers to give him a third, weighing in over 13kg.

Mark Downes commented “23 points could easily have been 20 on day one even off this poor draw, a few grams each way makes a big difference. All in all this was a tough championship and the French did brilliantly on day one, they had a good draw but really put us to the sword. We have great anglers, it showed by Alex and Brad drawing next to their respective French anglers on day two and beating them. Well done to the French, Belgium’s and Polish for making the podium.”

“Congratulations to Alexander Caudin From France who turned in a perfect two point score, winning both days in the process and giving his hordes of spectators a real lesson in match fishing, a thoroughly deserved Gold medal.”