Northern counties Annual dinner and presentation evening

Wrestlers and wrestling supporters gathered from all corners of the Northern Counties of England for the Annual Dinner and Presentation Night at Carlisle, when the most successful and keenest wrestlers received trophies.

For the second year in succession Daniel Ewart of Westward was the winner of the Under 12 Years Victor Ludorum Trophy. He has been a regular at winter training sessions at Carlisle Wrestling Club for several years and that shows in the variety of chips in his repertoire. As well as the skill factor and the strength factor, he also has the parent factor. His father, Alan, takes Daniel and big brother Jack to most events in Cumbria.

The popular winner of the Under 15 Years Trophy had never heard of Cumberland and Westmorland Wrestling two years ago, nor could he speak English. When Watchai Noimai arrived from Thailand to live with his mother and step-father at Anthorn, he made friends with Michael Harrington at school, and from there developed an interest in wrestling. Once more parent power is important, for Watchai was taken to most wrestling events and to the Academy in the winter-time. As a result the crowds throughout the North have been treated to some unconventional, lithe wrestling from Watchai.

Joe Harrington, the winner of the Under 18 Years Trophy, has had a more conventional route into wrestling. In fact, with his surname it would be difficult to avoid being a good wrestler. That, of course is easy to say, but the reality is that Joe like any other wrestler has had to put the hours into training and competing to reach his present status. We have watched his ups and downs as he came up through the age categories until he is now tall, athletic and brimming with skill. Apart from winning most points in the season, he has also won several prestigious “best wrestler” awards.

John Harrington weighs in at under 11½st but is capable of felling anyone on his day. Heavyweight wrestlers must flinch when they are drawn against him for he will seize on any slight error to win a fall. That skill and his willingness to travel widely won him all the senior trophies. He had most points in the Lightweights (11½st), Middleweights (13st) and the Heavyweights.

Darren Whitfield had the most wins in the Heavyweights, but John Harrington's eleven second places swung it in his favour. Just for good measure, John was also awarded the coveted “Wrestlers' Wrestler Trophy”, voted for by the active wrestlers on the night itself.

This year for the first time there was a Victrix Ludorum Trophy. Women's and girls' wrestling has taken place on an unprecedented scale this year and the overwhelming winner of the Ladies Trophy was Tracy Hodgson from Dentdale, who trains at Kendal academy. Anyone who has not yet seen the “Blood, Sweat and Tears” exhibition at Tullie House, Carlisle, should do so soon for it will close in January. The exhibition puts Cumberland and Westmorland Wrestling in its regional context with Fell Running, Hound Trailing, Horse Racing, Foot ball and Rugby and other sports. Our wrestling counts as “Sweat” in the publicity poster, with Cock Fighting as “Blood” and Carlisle United as “Tears”. (The Exhibition was set up with United in the Conference League!) Anyone with an interest in our regional sporting heritage will find the displays fascinating.

In conjunction with the Exhibition an illustrated talk: “Wrestling Tales: Cumbrian Sport - Its History and Practice” is scheduled for 7.30pm on Thursday, 17th November. The two speakers will bring a “mixture of real sporting experience and historical perspective” The “historical perspective” comes from Dr Mike Huggins, lecturer in Sports Studies and History at St Martin's College, Lancaster: The “real sporting experience” comes from me. I, for one, am curious to hear what an academic like Dr Huggins will make of Cumberland and Westmorland Wrestling. If the talk is to go ahead, enough tickets have to be sold before November 9th from the Box Office (01228 534664)

Next week sees the first Academy Shield Competition to be held at Milnthorpe Academy (7.30pm November 12th in Milnthorpe Cricket Pavilion) Carlisle Wrestling Club will be picking its team after its first Points Night of the season on Wednesday, 9th November. A team from Northumberland may be joining the established academies of Carlisle, Kendal, Milnthorpe and Waberthwaite. A new academy is being set up in Rothbury, which is the main base for wrestling in Northumberland.

Written by © Roger Robson. Photographs by © Roger Robson, Julian Richardson or Linda Scott (November 2nd 2005)

Disclaimer ©2008 Webmaster