Drennan Barnsley Blacks’ superbly talented youthful line-up fished brilliantly to land a bronze medal at the World Clubs Championship.
Blacks also included the incredibly experienced five-times World Champion Alan Scotthorne who won one of his world titles a little way downstream of the match length.
Although local teams from Slovakia and the Czech Republic took the first two places Barnsley should be justifiably proud to return home with a bronze medal.
The event was staged over two days on the River Váh at Žilina in north-west Slovakia around 120 miles from the capital city, Bratislava, and close to both the Czech and Polish borders.
Situated 2km below Žilina hydroelectric dam the river has an average width of 60 metres and the main target species were vimba to 1kg and barbel to 3kg with trout, carp, perch, dace, roach, chub, bleak, grayling and pike also present.
Twenty two teams of five from all over Europe, each qualifying by winning their home National Championship or equivalent, took part, the outcome being settled on lowest section penalty points over two four-hour events.
Barnsley’s squad of Alan Scotthorne, Matt Godfrey, Lee Kerry, Simon Fields, James Dent and Frankie Gianoncelli quickly got to grips with the venue in practise and posted consistent scores in each match but there was to be no living with the home nation team, SRZ MsO Levice Sensas.
They clearly had honed their tactics over weeks of practise and comfortably won both days, taking a remarkable four out of five sections on the second day and gathering just 21 penalty points overall.
Outside of the home nation only Alan Scotthorne recorded a section win on Day Two.
Overall RSK Pardubice Colmic from the neighbouring Czech Republic took silver with 37 points. Barnsley, who scored 45, took bronze, three clear of AVPS Tarnava Energo-team from Romania.
Young Sheffielder Matt Godfrey, who recently forced his way into the England team, won his section on Day One and told me afterwards, “I’ve never fished anything like it! Huge congratulations to Slavakia for winning, and the Czech Republic for coming second! Buzzing! A massive thank you to everyone who has helped us!”