D to E of Euros D1
The A to E of the Euro's: Day 1
It all looked good on the surface - Part 2
Story by Dave Johnson • Photos by Dave Johnson, Kevin Pack, Greg Andrews

D is for Demolition
Although there were two weights under a kilo at the finish, this section was a definite improvement on the three downstream ones. Alan Scotthorne had drawn peg 19, Frenchman Didier Delannoy 20 and current Euro Champion, Italian Umberto Ballabeni, on 21. It was here that an unusual situation occurred. As many will know, when fishing a flowing river, especially a deep one, you normally position your box in the upstream part of your area. Didier, for some inexplicable reason at the time did not! The reasons I learnt afterwards were that Didier felt he could fish further out from that position, obviously sacrificing distance down his peg, for distance out from his peg, strange! But when I quizzed Steve Hemmingray, who drew the same peg on day two, he said that although the downstream area in which Didier positioned his box was easier, he found no problems in the upstream area as all he did was to add extended legs to the front of his platform and he could fish at the correct length. Another factor, we learnt afterwards, about the French tactics was their use of Terre de Somme in their mixes, as opposed to the heavier Terre de Riviere. This effectively clouded up their mix once it hit bottom and as a consequence probably drew more smaller fish into their area.

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Whatever the reasons, the current form of the French side must be leaving many question marks hanging over their selection process and tactics on the day. However it still remains perplexing as to why Didier should have sacrificed that downstream distance on a moving river!

One other sore point to add to Didier's day, was the fact that he got Yellow Carded for having too much groundbait. I followed the bait check process through the section and I must confess that I saw nothing unusual coming from the officials when they'd checked Didier's bait allocation. I was told afterwards that a problem had been raised with the litre markings on the new Sensas buckets he was using. Whatever it was, it compounded his day and made this one of his worse championships to-date!

Q is for Quality!
One cool feature of day one,which impressed me and many others watching, came from 5x WC Alan Scotthorne. Alan connected with what was an obviously good fish, judging by its refusal to come to the surface. After about 3-4 minutes Alan must have realised that his existing landing net frame might not be large enough for the unseen lump. Calling out to the teams 6th man, Stu Conroy, for some possible assistance, Alan then decided that there could be an infringement of rules if someone was to pass any equipment to him during the course of the match, so he set about picking up a slightly larger framed net for himself. Making sure he had sufficient tension on the fish, he slowly made his way, in reverse, off his box and back towards his net bag. Keeping his pole high and taught, Alan then rumaged through the bag till he found a suitable replacement net frame. Returning to his box he calmly positioned his pole between his knees, while he proceeded to unscrew the smaller net from the handle and then screw in the replacement larger net, all the time keeping sufficient tension on the fish. Once the net frame was in place, Alan started to bring the fish under closer control and then gradually eased what turned out to be a barbel of around 1.75kg (3.5lb) to the waiting, newly re-furbished landing net. Much too, I might add, the appreciative applause of the watching gallery. And well deserved it was, that's what you get from a 5x World Champ... Cool quality!

Umberto had set off at a blistering pace netting three bream in the first fifteen minutes while all around him started more sedately. It certainly looked as though the Italian master was eyeing up back-to-back championships. Five times world champ Alan Scotthorne however had other ideas and steadily set about amassing a big weight with some quality bream and the odd barbel! The only others to get anywhere near close to him, was the Slovakian Igor Holecek on end peg 24, Poland's  Zbigniew Milewski on 13 and the Serbian Radovic Goran on 9. His main catch consisted of five barbel and a couple of big bream.

The Russian, Daniil Galuzo on D15, was not having a very good day, as the team plan, like the Serbian one, was to sit it out for big fish and he eventually could only take 5,910kg to the scales. He did manage to lose a good fish during the later stages, and it wasn't a bream! There was a snag in front of Daniil and the fish obviously found it on a couple of occassions. However, it wasn't that which lost him the fish, it was the time he'd had it on the line. It had been there for so long under constant pressure that his hook hold eventually gave up and his rig came back empty. Thats why there is no happy ending to our slideshow opposite... he'd lost the fish, but the preceeding fight was worth making into a small picture show! He would come good the following day.

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A trademark of these championships was the late arrival of fish into certain competitors areas. No more was this evident in this section than with Belgian 'Ace' Guido Nullens. Guido had to resort to bleaking during the first hour as their was little else in front of him. The second hour did see a slight improvement towards the end of the hour, but it was the last hour which Guido hooked-up on. He managed to see his swim come alive and he put together a face-saving 11.190kg net of bream for a valuable 8pts. At the end Alan had demolished all around him, as well as the rest of the section, with a unbeatable 21,230kg. This section also produced just two sub-kilo weights.


E is for Extraction!
If fish movements could be applied to England's first day downfall, then E section must have certainly contributed 'big-time'. An apparent good draw at the beginning of the section for Will Raison turned into a nightmare towards the end, with his downstream neighbour, Poland's Wojciech Kaminski, extracting full advantage from the late arrival of river bream, to completely leave the  Englishman frustrated and despondent. It was no consolation to him that this was, in fact, the best section on the day, with weights reaching double figures in the last quarter of the section. As you may imagine there was no weights under a kilo, the lowest recorded being the Swede, Claes Hedstrom with 1,560kg, who happened to be next to Will. Another high-profile rod to feel the pinch was Italy's Jacopo Falsini on E7. Belgian regular, Hans Slegers, was flying towards the end on E6 and rattled up 14,320kg for 5 points. The Russian in this section, soon to be bronze medallist, was Oleg Sadomtsev on peg 19 who was third with 19,440kg, behind the clear winner Serb Vesligaj Pedrag on 23,300kg and the Polish guy next to Will with 19,840kg.

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When the scores were totted up it looked liked England had really got themselves totally out of the race, but where have we heard that one before. Could they now complete a 'Mission Impossible'? The day belonged to the 'minnows'. Incredibly, Russia had held off Serbia and Germany in what became a three horse race. The big fish tactics of these teams had paid handsome dividends, but there was still one more day to go.
Would all three still be there at the death?