Triumphant Tracy’s six of the best in action-packed weekend

HOW do you best sum up in a few paragraphs six wrestling events with 46 age and weight categories and which totalled 15 hours of action?

The statistics shows that several wrestlers had double wins, and that Watchai Noimai, Richard Dixon and Joe Threlfall had three wins.

John Harrington had five and most prolific of all was Tracy Hodgson of Dent, who had the weekend of her life winning twice each day for a total of six wins.

Two Icelandic sisters, Solveig and Svana Johannsdottirs, took first and second prizes in the Ladies Open at Grasmere, making it Tracy’s only failure in a remarkable weekend.

The chronological approach reveals that on the Saturday wrestlers were split between the north and south of the county.

The main event was the 13st Championship held at Millom and Broughton Show, so several of the northern wrestlers travelled to unknown territory to compete.

The journey from Northumberland proved especially fruitful for Alan Walton, now in an Indian Summer of wrestling form, who felled Alan Jones in the final.

“He was too strong for me”, said Jones. “I couldn’t get to him”.

Walton struck first with a back-heel and then took the second with a twist.

Meanwhile, a car load of Icelanders and a minibus full of Scots added to the fun at the Holm Show in Liddesdale and afterwards at Bellingham Show. The star performer was John Taylor of Yoker in Glasgow, who gave a glimpse of the dynamic wrestling that proved so successful at Grasmere the following day.

Bellingham Show had one of those special sessions when serious wrestling blended with fun as a throng of wrestlers who only ever wrestle at the one event came out of the crowd to compete.

Josef Stefansson’s long and expensive journey from Iceland was made worthwhile for him when he took the biggest scalp in wrestling, felling Robert McNamara, the nine times heavyweight champion. To be fair to Rab, he was wrestling with an injury, and Bellingham was a try-out before Grasmere where he remained a spectator.

Grasmere Sports had the worst of the weather and the best of the wrestling.

Joe Harrington had a great day winning the Under 18 Years with such style that Max Carlyle awarded him the Guinness Trophy for the best performance in all the wrestling.

Richard Dixon did his usual trick when he loses in his age category by going on to win the 12 stones title instead.

The new 13st Champion, Alan Walton, reached two finals but was beaten by a Scottish wrestler in each. And a Rugby League player from Manchester, James Atkins, took some surprising scalps with his unorthodox and untrained attacks. Joe Threlfall won the All Weights title which he first won in 1984 at the age of 21.

Silloth and Keswick had the weather and the crowds that Grasmere lacked. The closely fought and unpredictable wrestling between John Harrington, Richard Dixon, Joe Harrington and Richard Walton continued unabated with each wrestler gaining success. Joe Threlfall had two more wins but lost a few individual falls on the way.

The what-I-remember-best approach takes me to two bouts at Grasmere.

A remarkably good crowd under their umbrellas were entertained by good sport throughout the day, but on two occasions especially the electricity of the wrestling lit up the dull day.

Joe Harrington and Graham Brocklebank wrestled their hearts out in the final of the Under 18 Years. First Brocklebank went ahead with a buttock, only for Harrington to equalise with an inside-hipe. That set up the decider which thrilled the crowd before Harrington’s hipe came into play again to settle the matter.

And absolutely best of all, even though it ended in anti-climax when John Harrington broke his hold, was the bout between him and John Taylor. I have rarely seen such a level of intensity as the two wrestlers flew at each other with skill.

They went from one side to the other, hiped and buttocked and twisted incessantly without getting the killer blow, until it all ended tamely with that broken hold.

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