News and views from around the North

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News and views from around the North as Roger gives us his unique insight of Cumberland and Westmorland Wrestling.

Last night I discovered that the internet is like my desk: desperately cluttered and needing a spring-clean. News of a new Grasmere Sports web site, and the offer of a shared berth there for the Wrestling Association inspired me to see what was presently available if you type in the words Cumberland and Westmorland Wrestling and search the web. And then I waded through the top two hundred sites.

The results were dispiriting. Top of the pile was an academic article by Dr Mike Huggins of St Martin's College Ambleside The Regular Re-invention of Sporting Tradition and Identity: C&W Wrestling. I have read and enjoyed this piece before, but it was not to be seen last night for the page was unable to be displayed.

By some system that I know nothing of the same article was supposedly available on a huge range of search engine sites, but none would display it. Almost half the sites on our wrestling were thus rendered barren.

Dominant on the first page of results were four different references which led to the Power Books web site promising details of wrestling and a calendar of events.

The only problem is that it fell defunct in 2000. A Londoner, Donald Black, who stayed with me one week-end in 1999 set it up, full of excellent photos and detail, but that initiative died six years ago.

In the top ten hits only the sites run by The Cumberland News and Radio Cumbria had any up-to-date references to wrestling.

Scattered throughout the web are interesting snippets, though many of them out of date: Cross-Buttock Ale from Jennings, my obituary for Bob Clarke in the Westmorland Gazette; the Scottish Wrestling Bond site(last up-dated 2003)..

Amongst all the internet dross were some gems: The Lakeland Country Fair, Torver site is an example to all, up to date and lively with wrestling weights and times for this years event. The Cumberland County Council site had interesting old photos.

And at 199 was a gem: Annabelle Smith's site displaying a sample of wrestling and rugby figurines and sketches.

For up to the minute information on wrestling the best sites were those of Radio Cumbria and The Hexham Courant, a sister publication of the Cumberland News.

On the Courant site every wrestling article published in the Cumberland News is there in full with photos and dates.

The lesson to be learned from all this is that if the Wrestling Association does establish a web-site, either in conjunction with Grasmere Sports or independently then it has to be regularly maintained or it just becomes more internet litter.

The offer is from Roy Lomas, the author of the wonderful book on Grasmere Sports - The first 150 Years, is the man behind the initiative, so the prospect of a good dynamic web-site full of good photos and information is a realistic prospect.

Written by © Roger Robson. Photographs by © Roger Robson, Julian Richardson or Linda Scott (February 10th 2011)

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