Stretching out in Coruche Part 2
After the first day, each team captain draws a section, for each angler, for the following day. And, Mark Addy, true to form, pulled out another half-decent draw, in fact it was a stunning draw as far as Alan Scotthorne was concerned. Having already known from the previous evenings' section-draw that he would be in E section again, the Sunday morning peg-draw by the 'Master' gave Alan peg 17... the end peg... surely nothing now could prevent him achieving a remarkable treble in individual golds. For those of you not aware, Alan already has World Individual and a World Club Individual. A gold here would add that elusive third 'gong' to his already enlarged trophy cabinet!

The remainder of the sections saw Steve Gardener on A4 (peg was 4th on day one), Will Raison on B15 (peg, 13th day one), Steve Hemingray on C1 (peg, 9th day one) and Darren Cox on D12 (peg, 12th day one). It wasn't too bad, although the concerns were for Darren, Steve H and William as these were poor areas on Saturday. Our video interview with Mark Addy on Sunday morning sounded quite encouraging but as he pointed out, both Portugal and Italy had drawn well.

Analysis – Day Two

As the match unfolded, the England team looked to be doing OK, as were the Portuguese and Italians. In A section Steve Gardener was holding his own against the Portugal's Ricardo Sousa on A16 and it became clear as we approached the final hour the both these anglers had the section between them. Even so, word was circulating that the San Marino guy, Sergio Scarponi was also doing quite well, but the final run in had Steve nearly 300gr in front of Sousa, with Scarponi a further 400gr+ behind. What was interesting in this section was that every other anglers below Steve, down to 9th place, had fished the pole seriously for some period of the match. It was also surprising to see Scarponi with nearly half the quantity of fish that Steve had, and he was only 700gr+ away!

The section B draw for William didn't at first seem to do him any favours, as the better weights had come from the other side of the small bay separating pegs B13 from B14. But with Will, nothing could stop him from producing what I would describe as the outstanding performance of the day by a England team member. Bearing in mind that his peg had only recorded 1.245kgs the previous day, his final section winning haul of 4.265kgs underlines how much his class, skill and determination sums up Drennan Team England's whole attitude, in getting the most out of poor situation... and then trying to squeeze out more! Will's final weight was with the assistance of the pole in the last 20 minutes when he added at least another 600-700grs to hold off one of Portugal's most famous anglers, Jose Calado, who had drawn the same peg as his team mate Sousa, the day before. Jose no doubt benefited from Sousa's extra advice, as he fished almost exclusively with the waggler.. and then generously supplied one of those rigs to us after the weigh in (which is shown above). So far England and Portugal were neck and neck, having each taken a section first and second, but all that was about to change!

Section C, like D, was always looking a bit suspect for England to get top points, so it was here that Italy started to make some inroads, although their poor showing in A section had effectively put paid to any overtaking manoeuvre! Always a star performer, Jacopo Falsini put in a strong finish to just overhaul Portugal's Marcio Gaio by the narrow margin of 75gr (2.5 ounces). Spain and Hungary both improved in front of Steve Hemingray to leave him in 5th place, still, not a bad result from the draw. Again, use of the pole at the right time helped Steve, as it did the Portuguese.
Looking back down the stretch from D section.Looking back down the stretch from D section.
As the match wore on, section D was looking like a stroll for Portugal's Goncalo Martins and Italy's Giuliano Prandi. In fact, at one stage, I witnessed Prandi cast four times and then strike each time just after the float had hit the water. Unfortunately he only managed to convert one of those bites into a net fish, but it did show at least that he was in the right area. With Martins holding the advantageous end peg, Prandi really produced a great performance from peg D11, which had only been good for 1.675kgs the previous day. Germany's Claus Muller, on the next peg, looked to be matching him at one point but obviously fell away in the later stages to finish down in 8th place.

It was a case of you either needed plenty of those bonus 500gr+ barbel, like Prandi, or a couple well over a kilo, which was precisely what Welshman Nigel Evans managed to 'snare'. These shot him up the rankings into 3rd place. That was Wales' best score on a day which was marred, somewhat, by news of their team manager Eric Humphreys taking an upside-down trip into one of Portugal's notorious road gullies. Eric remained strapped upside down in the vehicle, as it rolled over, and had to wait for the emergency services to free him. Both he and his wife Pam, where taken to the local hospital for a precautionary check-up and were later released later, under orders to take things easy. Many on the bank were constantly enquiring as to both their conditions throughout the day, and most thankful they seem to have come out of it unscathed. We are now proud to present Eric with his new nickname “Batman”.

News was constantly filtering back from E section, that Alan was at first winning it easy, then perhaps not. What did happen was that Spain's young star, Angel Perez, pushed him all the way, as he too was looking for that elusive second section win! It proved a great battle, with Alan just stealing it near the end by 160 grams. All the top three finishers fished both waggler and pole to take barbel, carrasio and the odd mullet in their 5-6+kgs nets. Disappointment came to Italy as they once more suffered at the hands of England, this time Gianluigi Sorti, who was next peg to Alan, had a couple of fish disallowed for running into Alan's line. Sorti eventually finished down in 7th place. Frances' Stephane Linder, although setting up the obligatory array of Top 4's, seemed to have grasped the need to go for the big fish on the far banks' tree-lined forest! He finished in a creditable 4th place, one of the best his country managed during the whole two days of competition.

The final signal goes and the 2010 European Championships are over until next year in Poland.The final signal goes and the 2010 European Championships are over until next year in Poland.The final result in section E confirmed Alan had, at last, taken the final piece of gold in the three-piece jigsaw. It also confirmed that Portugal had pulled back a deficit of two points on England and increasing it by two to take the team gold, a very commendable performance. That left England with silver. Italy slipped further behind, as did Spain with final scores of 22 and 32 points respectively. It was a creditable performance from Spain, considering their disaster in Merida and they did it the hard way by relying on the pole more than the waggler. Wales confirmed their 5th place status with another consistent performance over the two days. Belgium put a poor day one firmly behind them with an excellent comeback score of 28pts, to send them rocketing past Hungary, France and Holland. These championships were disappointing for many teams, not least of which was Jan Van Schendel's Dutch team. They must have fancied their chances after the successful campaign in Merida, and they must have left Coruche sorely disappointed I suspect.
Above left: A tense moment as Baptista looks anxiously at the scales... has he done enough? Above right: The scalesmen ask for quiet as they wait to hear the bleep that tells them the digital scales have set on a final weight for Alan Scotthorne.Above left: A tense moment as Baptista looks anxiously at the scales... has he done enough? Above right: The scalesmen ask for quiet as they wait to hear the bleep that tells them the digital scales have set on a final weight for Alan Scotthorne.
The answer whether Alan has won is in his smile, as he signs the official weigh sheet record!The answer whether Alan has won is in his smile, as he signs the official weigh sheet record!And then it's just time for a quick celebratory bath!And then it's just time for a quick celebratory bath!If a team silver and individual gold medal were not enough cake and icing for England, Will Raison's outstanding performance in securing an individual silver must certainly rank as a cherry on the top of it all. It's hard to imagine an England team without the talents of Scotthorne, Raison and Gardener, but let's remember that these internationals are just part of a 6-man strong affair and the support that Ashby, Hemingray, Cox, Shipp and Conroy bring to the table add, in no short measure, to the overall dominance of Drennan Team England. Oh yes... and don't let us forget the 'backroom' influence of the 'Dynamic Duo'... Downes and Addy!

As an Englishman, it's very difficult not to be over patriotic, when results like this seem to consistently flow forth from each passing international. But when I look around and see other nations struggling to achieve any short of effective and consistent opposition to Drennan Team England, with the notable exception of Italy, I find it difficult to understand why this is. They have all watched, video'd, photographed and discussed England for many years, yet, for political or other reasons, cannot seemingly follow their simple lead. I know all of these nations contain anglers of great technical ability, so perhaps the reasons could be 'overall' mental attitude or official interference?

I constantly hear of differences between anglers, management and Federations during my visits to these championships... why? It doesn't happen with England to my knowledge. One of the possible drawbacks for managers and their teams, is that their own Federations tend to set rules which 'tie their hands', like divisional selections! Let managers pick who they feel will get the job done, not some bureacratic system which picks out anglers who might have had a good day fishing a selection match! As far as I'm aware, this is something which doesn't occur within a 'hundred miles' of Drennan Team England. The lessons are there for all to see, so why can't they be applied more effectively?