A to C of Euros D1
The A to E of the Euro's: Day 1
It all looked good on the surface - Part 1
Story by Dave Johnson • Photos by Dave Johnson, Kevin Pack, Greg Andrews

Saturday dawned, and with my two associates covering sections A, B and C, it was left to me to run the final two sections, in itself around 1km in length. My associates on the early sections were briefed with keeping me up to speed with information and taking as many shots as possible, so that we could bring you extensive and comprehensive photo galleries of the event. This in turn created its own problems, as these galleries take time to form and produce. However, bearing in mind that we were the only English media present, time deadlines on getting information to the world were not as critical as usual!

With the five sections heavily spaced, there were TEN end pegs generated, yet because of the random nature of the international draw system, none of the 24 team presents would have more than one end peg over the two days. Only four teams, Germany, Belgium, Wales and the Ukraine missed out on an end peg. I've mentioned before about the superb result sheets produced by the Czech organisers and in particular the special coloured bar chart at the end, which highlights by weight, what the sections effectively produced each day, it was a clear indication as to the distribution of fish. For those of you who like to get their noses right into the technicalities of what really happened, and to who, then these charts are a fascinating insight and analysis of what transpired and are well worth downloading from our previous feature.

A is for Agony!
England's first day draw didn't, at first glance, look to be anything special. Darren Cox, England's best performer over the practice week, had drawn A12, not far from were the team were on Friday. Steve Gardener had pulled just off middle of section B on peg 9. Steve Hemmingray and Alan Scotthorne had drawn near the ends of their respective sections C and D. Will Raison had drawn the beginning of E section, peg 2. Things didn't seem too bad... at first. The warning signs went up about half way through the three-hour match as it became clear that Darren Cox was struggling badly in a small two-peg pocket, apparently void of fish. This pocket increased to a three-peg area the following day, so there must have been some governing factor which was unknown at the time. The detailed bar chart for the section can only be described as erratic in fish holding areas. Darren ultimately finished with just an agonising 550 grams, way below his own high expectations.
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There were however some notable results from what seemed to be from the smaller competing nations, if you can call Russia small! Yuri Siptsov, who'd drawn a few peg away from Darren, had obviously hit pay dirt and showed just what the river was capable of given a suitable draw. he basically paralysed the section with a superb 11,050kg weight, easily clearing second place by over 4kg+. There were some notable blow-outs like Italy's Gian Luigi Sorti who finished in 14th place and his next door neighbour, Belgium's Luc Vercammen who only managed 16th place. One of Hungary's finest, Szilard Magyar, also suffered badly, netting just 2,770kg for an 11th in section. These anglers are no slouches when it comes to river's, and their respective poor returns highlighted the fickle nature of the water, given the preceding weather changes. Section A would ultimately prove to be the most consistently worse section, producing seven weights under a kilo, each of the two days.

B is for Better
In section B, England's long-standing and world-respected Steve Gardener, had the Italian Guiliano Prandi one side and the Ukrainian Gennadly Shmyrov. Steve beat both and finished a creditable 6th in section. He was in a pretty even stretch of pegs from 1 to 20. It was only the last three peg which really took off. Sensas star and French icon Jean Desque, was right on the fringe, on peg 21 and felt the full force of the Russian Ilya Yakushin's surge , finishing over 5kg behind him. Jean even suffered the double ignomany of having the Slovakian beat him. It would seem that something seriously wrong fell off the French teams game plan! More of that later though. A better section producing just one weight under the kilo
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C is for Champion elect
Section C was an improvement on the preceding two sections and it was here that Steve Hemmingray, on peg 18, found himself next to double world champ Tamas Walter on 17. This section started well, dipped in the middle and improved towards the end. Ultimate winner Günter Horler had pulled an early peg and sailed away with the section on 22,490kg. His next door neighbour, Sergey Fedorov of Russia, could only match half his weight, but the Russians' tactics were enough to secure a valuable 2pts for the team in the section. It would be big fish tactics which helped both this individual German and the Russian team in general, to their respective successes. Again, an improvement on the previous section with all weights exceeding the kilo mark.
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IN PART 2: The two upstream sections were widely recognised as being the best and it was here that I felt the individual winner would come from... wrong, in angling there are no certainties!

Read Kevin Pack's interview with England manager Mark Downes at the presentation ceremony in Uherske Hradiste, where he pays tribute to all the 'minnows' (maybe not now!) of world angling... READ