The Northumberland County Show at Corbridge - June 1st .........

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had a wrestling success on its hands: a bigger ring, bigger crowd, bigger entry, and big performances throughout the wrestling programme.

An important element of this excellent event was the arrival in the ring of the first products of the recently re-formed Rothbury Academy. Their coaches, Jason Davidson and Darren Whitfield, had kept the club going right into the wrestling season, in case they lost contact with the lads who had trained throughout the winter. The success of that policy was a big turnout in the boys' events and success, particularly for Jack Haile and Scott McKenzie who wrestled out the Under 14 Years final, and Andrew Ord who wrestled up to Joe Harrington of Kirkbampton in the Under 18 Years.

Northumbrians had other successes unrelated to the new academy: James Raine of West Woodburn began the wrestling programme by giving a passable imitation of Heavyweight Champion Robert McNamara, lifting his opponents high on his chest before twisting them to the ground; and Richard Younger of Ponteland showed immense power in flicking the huge Darren Whitfield up and back from an unpromising position in the semi-final of the All Weights.

The Northumbrian heavyweights had eliminated each other one by one whilst Richard Dixon of Lessonhall made his skilful way up the other side of the draw, buoyed by winning against John Harrington in the first round after a series of hard bouts with him in the previous two weights. The result was that Dixon, the lightest in the field weighing in at around 10st, came face to face with Richard Younger who had tested the scales at 17½st. Faced with this weight and power Dixon tried the hank but was felled off it. Youger relaxed in the next fall, giving Dixon a good ride out on a swinging hipe before grounding him.

Three Carlisle trained wrestlers took the rest of the spoils. Joe Harrington gave a master class in the Under 18 Years, hiping all the way, and rounding it off with a big lift and twist back on Andrew Ord, one of the talents from Rothbury. The Carlisle wrestlers cancelled each other out in the 11½ stones. Richard Dixon took three falls to beat Andrew Carlile in the first round. Then John Harrington had to be at his very best to fell Dixon in the semi-final. Dixon was riding the swings and hipes, but Harrington got him at the third attempt in their final bout. Harrington of Bewaldeth then won the 11½ stones by cross-clicking and inside-hiping Simon Hamilton of Belsay.

John Harrington was also involved with the final of the 13½ stones when he felled Richard Fox of Longtown with a hipe for the first fall. After a dog-fall for the second hold, Fox got into gear and buttocked spectacularly - twice.

Results: Northumberland County Show

Under 12 Years: 1, J Raine; 2, J Brown; 3, M Palmer.

Under 14 Years: 1, J Haile; 2, S McKenzie; 3, J Brown.

Under 18 Years: 1, Joe Harrington; 2, A Ord; 3, F Healey.

11½st: 1, John Harrington; 2, S Hamilton; 3, R Dixon.

13½st: 1, R Fox; 2, John Harrington; 3, A Carlile.

All Weights: 1, R Younger; 2, R Dixon; 3, D Whitfield

Killington Sports..................

...........is another country, a lost world, part of my childhood fifty years ago, when every village had its sports with potato, three-legged, sack, fell and sprint races, pillow fights and wrestling. Only the egg-throwing event is new fangled since War-time rationing ended.

Year by year this event, lost along the narrow lanes and thick hedges of South Cumbria, draws wrestlers and runners in their droves. Jack Haile, for example, came all the way from Rothbury in Northumberland to register his second win in four days when he felled Scott Brocklebank in the final of the Under 15 Years. Brocklebank has grown stronger and taller, but went down to Haile's persistent leg-up buttock for the first fall. He rallied to take the second fall but Haile went on to take the decider.

Richard Fox and Joe Harrington, members of Carlisle Wrestling Club, also made the journey and entertained the crowd with a series of close bouts with tricky footwork and sudden twists as the advantage veered back and forth. Fox eventually won the 13st final in straight falls, but Harrington pushed him every inch of the way.

The rest of the spoils went to Kendal Academy wrestlers. Tracey Hodgson proved to be top sister in the girls' wrestling when she felled both Hannah and Connie. Ben Brocklebank continued his excellent season in felling the Northumbrian, Jack Brown, in the final of the Under 12 Years. And, top of the pile was Joseph Robson who felled the heavy men, John Wilson and Jason Davidson, on his way to the All Weights final with the middleweight winner Richard Fox. Robson seemed to be cruising when he won the first fall of the final, but a dog fall and a win by Fox set up tense decider as the last bout of the day. This time Robson, the bigger man, won by finesse when he cross-buttocked neatly to win.

Jack Brown of Haydon Bridge, who trained regularly at Carlisle during the winter, arrived two hours early to the sports field with his father and Peter Hunter. Five hours later he was still going strong. He may have only gained second place in the wrestling, bur he won lots of other events including the Junior Fell Race.

One of the highlights for me as referee was weighing in the 13 stone men. Although the scales were rusty and dusty, they were nicely balanced..once we removed the dead crow from the innards! With five minutes to go, the weights only added up to 12 stones, but a committee man rushed home and saved the day by returning with a stone of sheep feed in a bag to make up the rest.

Results: Killington Sports June 2nd

Under 12 Years: 1, B Brocklebank; 2, J Brown; 3, D Hodgson.

Under 15 Years: 1, J. Haile; 2, S Brocklebank; 3, J Ewart.

Girls Under: 16 Years 1, T Hodgson; 2, H Hodgson; 3, C Hodgson.

13st: 1, R Fox; 2, Joe Harrington; 3, S Wilkinson.

All Weights: 1, J Robson; 2, R Fox; 3, Joe Harrington

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

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