Battle of Wounded Knees

NUMBER games and statistics do not always make good reading in the world of Cumberland and Westmorland Wrestling, where entries can be in short supply. But last week there were some happy numbers.

How about the fact that there were no fewer than 18 wrestlers who had wins last week at four different venues: Ambleside Sports, Langholm Common Riding, Cockermouth Show and Beetham Sports? Or how about the 25 entries in the under-12 years at Beetham or 17 in the under-18s at Ambleside? Of course, numbers are only a rough guide to anything, for it is quality that really counts to the ringside crowd. And that was there in abundance, too.

David Atkinson was in sublime form at Ambleside, where he won two weights with an astonishing range of throws. He is sometimes seen as a one-chip wrestler, with his trademark right-leg inside-hipe, but that myth was exploded when he won spectacular falls with a leg-up buttock, left-leg hipe and a combination of inside-hipe leading to a back-over twist to finish with an outside hipe. The Guinness Trophy for the best performance can rarely have been easier to allocate, even though Andrew Carlile, Richard Fox and Graham Brocklebank all impressed.

Russell Housby, too, was on great form when the all weights became The Battle of Wounded Knee.

First Jason Davidson in the semi-final and Joe Threlfall in the final succumbed to knee injury after the first fall. Housby was in a strong position with Davidson but looked like slipping out of the ring for a restart. Instead he hoisted his man up and carried him several paces up the hill before thumping him down with a twist off the chest. Even though injured, Davidson did pull one back when he gained a good hold and rushed Housby forward, but he collapsed under pressure from Housby in the decider. In the final Housby stepped over Joe Threlfall's favourite twist over the knee and twisted to win the first fall. The second fall ended oddly when Threlfall was exactly where he wanted to be with a powerful grip, but had to stop wrestling because of doubts about his knee. Housby also won the heavyweights at Cockermouth where the last bout of the day, his final with Carl Clark, was also one of the closest and best.

John Harrington missed Ambleside because of a family wedding, but he made up ground with a win against Andrew Carlile at Langholm when he was able to escape and counter Carlile's best efforts.

At his local event, Cockermouth Show, he was bested by David Barnes in the final of the under-18 years, but then went on to win both the lightweights and the middleweights.

At Beetham, Sam Brocklebank, son of the George Brocklebank who won the heavyweights at Grasmere at the age of 14, won the under-18 years. "Is he built like his father and grandfather? said I. "Well, he's shepped like a brick," said Peter Hayhust

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

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