Venue: River Ure North Yorkshire – 27th June
With 2 gold medals from the last 2 Rivers Internationals, the Welsh Team was really hoping their winning run would continue there on the wild upland River Ure. In reality though this was never going to be an easy job! The English Team were on a real high after a Bronze World position, and a Silver in the Commonwealth. “Facebook” talk was all about England claiming the one colour missing! Making the task even more difficult was the fact that most of the English Team were local to the River Ure, with one Team member being a past Season ticket holder on the actual Competition beats! Did I have any doubts? Yes I did, I’ll be honest! This would be no walk in the park, this was going to be tough – Super tough.
We knew we would have to prepare like never before for this contest, and preparations began around Christmas Time, with Terry Bromwell (the Captain) calling the lads together for a number of training days on the Rivers Taff & later the Ebbw. The ultimate preparation we felt we needed was a visit to the actual Match venue. And so it was that over the late May Bank Holiday weekend all 6 of us travelled North, to check out the River Ure. Dean Kibble, and I had both fished the River 12 years previously as our very first Rivers International, so we had some idea of what to expect. The commitment shown by all Team members, including the Reserve (Robert Bending) was magnificent to behold. This was the BIG one, the one we REALLY wanted to win, and even though I could see that the financial costs were soaring, no-one complained – we wanted it that bad!
Actual Match week started for us on Saturday June 21st, when we left Wales in the early hours, arriving around breakfast time ready for a full days practice. What we found when we arrived was that the River had shrunk ! it was now a fraction of the size it had been back in late May. Being low and clear, the fishing was now much more difficult, but throughout the next few days, we managed to find a few methods that would catch fish fairly consistently. We covered the entire Competition beats (more than once) and we often bumped into old friends from the other 3 Nations during our days on the River.
Eventually, Match day (Fri 27th) arrived. - We had fished, thought, fished some more, drunk a few beers, tied flies, and mulled things over among ourselves. But now this was the real thing, now was the time to finally put all our plans together. I could sense the optimism amongst the guys, they (and I) really believed we could pull this off!
And so it was that at 09:45 the first session started. The sweaty palms disappeared as soon as the first casts were made, and the guys settled into doing what they do best.
I knew I had had a fairly good morning, with a 1st and a 2nd but how had the others done?
We met back at the 3 Horseshoes pub for lunch, and it became clear that we were right “up there”with the English. Scotland and Ireland had a few poor results and we felt must have been some way behind. We started the afternoon final 2 sessions with renewed energy, knowing that this was there for the taking! The Match ended at 17:45, and arriving back at the car, I was informed that after the morning sessions, Wales were 2 points ahead of England. This was great news indeed, but had we kept it going?
Normally, asking around, you would get a feel for how the Teams were doing before the results were calculated. This was different; this really appeared to be too close to call!
On arrival back at the teams Hotel, I was invited (with the other Managers) into the room where the final results were being computed. The Team (totally fished out) were at the bar biting their nails! The 3 rd session results were announced! Wales had slipped from being 2 points in front, to being 2 points behind! The doubts were back, had we blown it? We were so close! Then the last session results were announced ! After a good last session, we had come back and we had actually tied on points with England. This meant that now, to separate the 2 Teams, the total fish points would have to be added up. This took a little time, adding to the agony but finally we were announced the winners having beaten the “old enemy” by the smallest of margins (8 fish points) or 8 cms in other words!
In fairness the other 3 Nations warmly congratulated the Welsh Team on a fantastic performance, and we celebrated well into the early hours.
I would like to thank the Captain, Terry Bromwell, for the sterling work he did from late last year all the way through to the after dinner speech! Dean Kibble, Simon Barton, Kieron Jenkins and Robert Bending – Thanks Guys you were magnificent!
I would also like to thank the members and Committee of Islwyn & District A.C. for allowing the Welsh Team use of the River Ebbw for practice sessions – This has proved to be invaluable!
Written by Paul Jenkins – Welsh Team Manager.
Written by Kieron Jenkins