Dateline: Friday 4th September 2009: 17.55am

Section A, B and C

Thursday morning arrived, following a very wet and windy arrival in Holland for both of us. Although it was our first time on the venue, it looked very much like some of the venues back home. However, the major concern for everyone on A and B sections, was the wind, which was blowing very strongly from right to left. Little did they realise that this would get worse as morning progressed into afternoon, so much so, that many teams eventually packed up, rather than suffer the dreadful conditions any longer.

Of the fancied teams, Italy were the main interest in A section, with the Belgians in section B, box 8. In section C, England were, as usual, the subject of great interest in box 3, especially as Holland were in adjacent box 4.

Having managed a quick chat with Mark Addy and Dick Clegg, we all drove round to McDonalds to grab our breakfast, before returning for the start of the morning session.

Watching the Belgians, it was soon apparent that along with many other teams, they were opting for a two-line approach. However, I felt that they were balling-in on a shorter line than the others, probably at about 7 metres and then cupping on a 13 metre bream line.

From the start, they began catching small fish quite quickly, but it soon became apparent that the venue was not going to be alive with roach, this is where possibly the heavy rain was taking it’s toll.

England had begun quite well with Sean, Alan and Steve looking to be catching best early on, but again it was mainly perch with odd roach. Stu, Will and Des had started slowly, and we presumed there was a difference in their approach, this was later confirmed, although the patchiness of the area was still a surprise to Will.

The wind was getting worse as the session progressed and a quick visit to watch the Italians in A section confirmed that it had ruined the day for a lot of competitors. Jacopo Falsini was struggling just to ship out in the strengthening wind and simply shrugged his shoulders in abject acceptance when asked how he was doing!

The French were also finding that conditions were becoming unbearable New Zealand also suffered although their Dave Dixon was quite confident that they were still learning as time went on.

With the rain pouring down and the wind getting to the point of near hurricane proportion, it was time to get back to the comparative shelter of C section and Drennan Team England. Towards the end of the three hours, Steve Gardener was picking up 'stamp' roach long, while Des Shipp managed to net a bonus bream right at the 'death'!

The overriding impression from the day was that the venue had become harder, not only because of the deteriorating conditions, but opinions in general, were that the influx of cold rainwater had been a major contribution to the poor returns. Teams were therefore beginning to consider a more conservative approach. However, the main dilemma for many is the bream. Even though they seem well spread-out, they're catchable... BUT, they are a gamble. The distinct impression is that while any team targeting them could well have an individual world champion, those looking for the team title will have to catch bits and pick-up the odd bonus bream to secure that prize!

Rob Hewison and Lee Kerry

Sections D and E
Unlike the early sections, D and E where comparatively calm. That's not to say there was no wind... far from it! Anglers here had problems copping with the erratic gusts of wind. Pockets of bream where still evident although like the early sections, small fish did not seem to find the heavy surface chop to their liking!

D section was uninspiring as I walked along it towards E, where I found the Irish in residence. By the end of the session they had managed to include a few slabs from near the bridge. Like their near southern hemisphere neighbours NZ, the Aussies were braving the conditions as well as anyone. Their catches of roach, perch and skimmers, while not being up to the standard of previous days, were nevertheless consistent with the rest in section E. Finally, drawn at the far end on box 8, the Russians managed to take seven bream.

As the session came to a close the heavens opened up and heralded the start of a downpour, which became progressively worse s the evening wore on. As this article comes to a close, thunder and lightening accompany torrential rain outside our accommodation... god only knows what's in store for the final days practice!

Dave Johnson

Friday report follows ASAP