Cumberland and Westmorland Wrestling was a festival of youth................

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.............last week at Alston Gala, Langdale Gala and Distington Vintage Rally. It was not intended to be like that, but that was the way it worked out. The young wrestlers turned out well and travelled big distances to compete. The senior wrestlers were non-existent except for Thomas Brocklebank at Langdale.

The best competitions were at Langdale where boys from three academies, Carlisle Kendal and Milnthorpe met on neutral ground to compete. In addition boys from Grasmere School who are being coached by Alan Jones and Andrew Carlile showed off their new-found skills. The most exciting wrestling of the day came when Graeme Benson and Graham Brocklebank met in two finals. In the Under 18 Years Benson had the best of it, then that changed when Brocklebank beat him in the final of the 12½ stones.

Benson, a local farmer's son from the Langdale Valley and a member of Kendal Rugby Club, did well without tuition when he first arrived on the scene, but now that he has had a winter of practice at Kendal Academy, he is more assured and skilled. Brocklebank, son of Harry and grandson of Wilf, who were both Heavyweight World Champions, has one of the best pedigrees in the sport. He goes for his chips with power and dash, and as often as not finishes with a somersault over his prone opponent.

Alston and Langdale

Several wrestlers competed at both Alston and Langdale with mixed results. Jack Brown of Haydon Bridge had to give best to the massive James Raine at Alston, but had the upper hand over the Grasmere pupils at Langdale. Scott Brocklebank had a good time at Alston where he felled Fin Healy in the Under 15 years, but failed to make much of a mark at Langdale. Much the same applied to Fin Healy of Tynemouth who had his first senior win when he felled Adam Ridley in the final of the 11½ stones at Alston, but failed to register a win the next day.

Adam Ridley of nearby Slaggyford failed to win at his local event, but he remedied that the next day in the middle of the Lake District at Langdale with his careful, thoughtful style of wrestling, while the tall young newcomer, Andrew Ord from Morpeth, did best of all at Alston by outside-hiping his way to two wins, at Under 18 Years and 13 stones.

A local novice, Bradley Elliott won the All Weights in style, felling a wrestler who was making his first and last appearance in the ring. Brendan Healy, Fin's dad, decided to see what it was like to tread the ring and he reached the final and survived, only to be met by the you-should-have-more-sense-at-your-age argument when he got home.

Distington

Despite a lack of regular wrestlers at Distington the event went off well because of local support. Particularly impressive was Adam Conway who won the All Weights. He had a good stance, strong twist and finished with buttocks. Paul Murray, who travels from West Cumbria to Carlisle for his training in the wintertime, not unexpectedly won the Under 15 Years.

The Cumberland Show will host the first of the Centenary Challenges which will celebrate the hundredth birthday of the CWWA. In addition to the usual programme of wrestling there will be £500 prizemoney and a medal for the Under 15 Years Centenary Challenge and £1000 for the All Weights Men.

Alston Gala

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

Under 15 Years: 1, S Brocklebank; 2, F Healy; 3, C Ridley.

Under 18 Years: 1, A Ord; 2, C Ridley; 3, A Ridley.

11½st: 1, F Healy; 2, A Ridley; 3, S Brocklebank

13st: 1, A Ord; 2, B Elliott; 3, A Ridley.

All Weights: 1, B Eliott; 2, B Healy; 3, A Ord.

Ladies: 1, D Thompson; 2, B Kennedy; 3, K Brown.

Langdale Gala

Under 12 Years: 1, J Brown; 2, H Barnes; 3, P Squires.

Under 15 Years 1, A Ridley; 2, F Healy; 3, S Broclebank.

Under 18 Years: 1, G Benson; 2, G Brocklebank; 3, T Mason.

12½st: 1, G Brocklebank; 2, G Benson; 3, S Wilkinson.

All Weights: 1, T Brocklebank; 2, G Benson; 3, G Brocklebank

Distington Vintage Rally

Under 12 Years: 1, L Harkness; 2, A Chorley.

Under 15 Years: 1, P Murray; 2, L Harkness; 3, J Thompson.

Under 18 Years: 1, D Scott; 2, J Friel; 3, J Thompson.

12½st: 1, D Hewer; 2, C Haig; 3, D Scott.

All Weights: 1, A Conway; 2, S Harkness; 3, D Hewer.

Dates:

July 7 (Fri) 7.30pm Plumbland U12/U15/U18/13/AW

Ju;y 9 (Sun) 2pm Haltwhistle U12/U15/U18/Novice/11½/13/AW

July 15 (Sat) 4pm Cumberland Show U12/U15 CC/U18/12/14/AW CC

July 16 (Sun) Great Eccleston includes U15yrs/8st Ch'ship

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

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