Northumbrian wrestlers try to keep the Cumbrians at bay.

THE Northumberland County Show was swamped with sunshine and people, so it was no surprise that a big crowd gathered to watch the Northumbrian wrestlers try to keep the Cumbrians at bay.

Andrew Carlile, of Carlisle, dominated the lightweights. He bossed it, said Alf Harrington. Those bossed included Jonjo Pattinson in the final and John Harrington who was easily felled in the semi-final. Wrestling never lets you rest on your laurels, though, and John Harrington turned the tables in the next weight when he attacked Carlile from the onset. The Northumbrians dominated the heavyweights with Robert Leiper of Ponteland showing great form against Jason Davidson in the final. For the first fall he swung Davidson and nudged him with an outside stroke when he landed on one leg. For the second fall he did not need the follow-up chip for his swinging inside-hipe finished the job decisively. Alan Jones of Hallbankgate started his second year of not retiring from wrestling with a straightforward win in the 13 stones. He played less of the waiting game than usual when he felled Alan Walton in the semi-final, and wrenched and twisted John Harrington in the final.

In the boys wrestling, local novice lads had it all their own way in the Under 12 Years. Chris Walton of Haltwhistle had to be on his toes against active opposition in the Under 14s, but won easily in the end.

Most interesting was the under 18's when some of the favourites had wake-up calls in early rounds. Chris Walton took the first fall off Richard Dixon in the first round, and Dixon in turn gave John Harrington, the eventual winner, a shock in their first fall. Later, Dixon hurt his shoulder in what seemed an innocuous fall and has a chipped collar-bone which will keep him out of action for six weeks.

Wrestlers were shocked to hear of the death of Bill Threlfall, who for so long was the major driving force behind wrestling in North Lancashire. He had been ill for some time but seemed in good form recently. In March, at the age of 66, he was by far the oldest person to gain the CWWA Basic Coaching Certificate. He wrestled occasionally when a young man, but he took the sport up seriously in 1967 at the age of thirty. With his strength and wrestling knowledge, he was always a formidable opponent, but his lack of early training meant that he never quite fulfilled his potential. He was placed at Grasmere twice, and over a period of twelve years he met Big Wilf Brocklebank in about eighty finals in Lancashire and South Cumbria. His proudest record was that against the great Ted Dunglinson. His score of three for and 12 against was better than most wrestlers managed. He was the foremost organiser of wrestling in Lancashire for decades. In the Summer he was responsible for many events; in the Winter he ran the Wrestling Academy at St Michael's-on-Wyre which produced so many good wrestlers and champions. Amongst these was his son, Joe, who won several championships at 14 stones and All Weights, and he paid tribute to his father's role as coach and wrestling strategist. He had wide interests and excelled in all that he did. As a dairy herdsman he ran one of the highest achieving herds in Lancashire. As a snooker player he won the individual championship in both the Preston and Longridge leagues. At the age of thirteen he was the best draughts player in Lancashire, and for many years played for the county.

He leaves a wife, four children and ten grandchildren. He was pleased last year when he watched one of those grandchildren, Joshua, compete for the first time in the sport which was for Bill Threlfall an obsession and a delight. His funeral service will take place at 11am on Monday 7th June at St Stephen's, Inskip.


Northumberland County Show

Under 12 Years: 1, J Charlton; 2, T Parkin; 3, M Lines.

Under 14 Years 1, C Walton; 2, R Scott; 3, W Noimai.

Under 18 Years 1, John Harrington; 2, R Pattinson; 3, R Dixon.

11st 1, A Carlile; 2, J Pattinson; 3, John Harrington.

13st 1, A Jones; 2, John Harrington; 3, A Walton.

All Weights 1, R Leiper 2, J Davidson 3, A Murray.


Saturday, 6th June 1pm Carlisle Vintage Society, Cargo, Nr Carlisle U12/U15/U18/12/AW

Saturday, 12th June 2pm Roman Wall Show U15/U18/11/13/15st World Championship (500 for Championship)

Sunday 13th June Morpeth Boys/10st World Championship/13/15/AW

Saturday 19th June 2pm Kirkheaton U12/U15/U18/12/15/AW

Written by © Roger Robson. Photographs by © Roger Robson, Julian Richardson or Linda Scott (May 4th 2011)

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