Bob Millican, a great wrestler of my young days in the sixties, has died suddenly at the age of seventy-eight. Although very much a light-middleweight, competing at 11½ stones and 12 stones, he made his reputation in more substantial weight categories, culminating in his historic win in the All Weights World Championship at Ambleside Sports in 1967.
With his long back and powerful short legs, he had a low centre of gravity and was adept at reactive wrestling. He would bide his time and wait for his opponent to attack, then clamp his attacking leg like a gin trap, before twisting over the knee to win.
From 1962 to 1964 he was master of the 13 stones World Championship, felling noted contemporary wrestlers in the finals. At Aikton Sports in 1962 down went Jim Bland in the final. In 1963 the long, lean figure of Jock Elliot of Langholm was beaten at Bellinham Show. And at Barbon in 1964 he felled that hardest of wrestlers, Freddie Jones of Brampton in the final.
There were signs of more to come when in 1966 he was runner up to Alan Coulthard in the All Weights Championship at the Cumberland Show.
His best year of all was in 1967 when he wrestled up to Alan Davidson in the 12st Championship at Hethersgill and then reached the wrestling pinnacle of the All Weights Championship title at Ambleside Sports. He met another lighter wrestler in the final, Tom Harrington who wrestled mainly at 11 stones.
Tom had to do all the heavy work in the early rounds when he felled the great and massive, Wilf Brocklebank, and his even bigger brother John. On the other side of the draw Bob kept fresh and that told in the final.
After his active wrestling career finished he did not become involved with officiating or coaching, with the notable exception of his local event, Skelton Show. Each year he was to the fore in organising and keeping us on our toes with his forthright views. (Elsewhere in the paper there is probably going to be a fuller obituary)
In the meantime, in November, Low Hesket Village Hall, just south of Carlisle is to be the centre and focus of the Cumberland and Westmorland wrestling world: the CWWA Presentation Dinner on Friday, 4th, and the Academy Shield on Saturday the 19th. The Dinner honours the most prolific winners of the 2016 season, but this year will also bring together all the World Champions and their trophies for a rare gathering together of all the valuable silverware that has accumulated since 1906.