It was only a dominant Portugal in the U18's which denied Italy a clean sweep of all the age groups honours. Although both teams could not manage any individual golds, Italy did secure a silver in the U14's. But it was Italy's team performances in the U14 and U22's which served notice that this country is developing a sound base for their future championship teams. The past two years have seen both Italy and Portugal carve up the gold medals in the three age groups, something which their senior teams have been unable to do. The future would therefore seem bright for both these countries.

England's Young Guns
Ryan Watson, England's new U18 with his day two catch of 3.850kg from D section.Ryan Watson, England's new U18 with his day two catch of 3.850kg from D section.England's relatively inexperienced U18 team, on the other hand, somewhat struggled and could only finish in 6th place, although it was an improvement on the previous years performance. Still, it was a creditable demonstration of what these 'newbies' could be capable of, given time. It's also worth noting that, like the seniors, England's youth teams are unfamiliar with many of the continental type venues, as well as their climates'. Italy's scorching 35-40° weather is world's away from back home and would no doubt have had some affect on the youngsters, but they proved themselves to be very efficient anglers, drawing level over the two days with Italy on points and just losing the 5th place on weight. In fact, the result was closer than that, as the final 2nd to 6th places were separated by just 2pts!

Other factors which saw them slip out of contention on the final day was the approach by several other teams towards big fish. While England pursued a more overall team approach to the venues smaller species, other teams simply sat it out for a 'lump'. That is not England's way, and this time it worked against them. So too did the fact that they didn't draw one of the eight available end pegs over the weekend!
The U22's produced an excellent result by taking the bronze medal. Although it may not have been the gold they had sought, it is still an achievement that they can rightly be proud off, even though they suffered badly on day two from the current trend of splitting sections in half and finding themselves drawn amongst some of the worlds strongest teams. Now this may seem to some, to ultimately even out over time, but it's not an ideal situation as we found during last years seniors event in Holland. If sections must be split, then please let us have a seeded draw in order that the world's best teams are distributed evenly. This year saw Italy up against weaker opposition in their half of the section on day 2, effectively by-passing four of the main contenders... France, Serbia, England and Holland. To be fair, this could have happened to any of these teams. Nevertheless, it's not an ideal way to operate in many peoples opinion and a single section would, I'm sure, be more agreeable to the anglers themselves.
AND AFTER!AND AFTER!Matt Godfrey adds yet another set of silverware to his growing honours cabinet.Matt Godfrey adds yet another set of silverware to his growing honours cabinet.However, there was further good news for England. It came in the shape of triple world champion Matt Godfrey, who once more produced a sterling performance. He looks one of England's finest young talents in the making and could possibly be earmarked for future senior duties! His two day total of three points set him in a group of four for gold, and it was only a difference of 500 grams, that ripped an unprecedented fourth world title away from him. That said, there was a very close finish, with just 1.6kgs separating all four '3-pointers' from that magic gold medal. Even so, England U22s Manager Mark Downes said “All in all it was a great result for the team, and with just a little luck we could have produced a memorable double.”

International Events Manager Dick Clegg, OBE, summed up the Championships stating “Once more England have proven at all levels, that they are the team to beat in World Angling. By taking bronze in the U22's and the ever consistent Matt Godfrey adding yet another medal to his trophy cabinet, we can all be proud of their achievements”.

Day One:   U14   U18   U22
Day Two:  
U14   U18   U22

Our thanks to the Barlow and Godfrey contingent for the photo supply.