When Joseph Robson of Grayrigg wrestles ................

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........as well as he did last week, I am tempted to claim him as close next of kin, but in fact he is only my father's great-great-nephew. Last year he won the 14st World Championship at the Cumberland Show, then sustained an injury in the All Weights that kept him out of the ring for virtually the rest of the season.

This season he has risen to new levels, and last week he won the All Weights at Ambleside and Langholm, in addition to the 15st World Championship at Langholm. In the Championship his route to the final was far from easy. Richard Fox in the first round gave him a fright by taking a fall with a right side buttock, but Robson took the decider with a hipe and a twist over the knee. Thereafter he felled Alan Jones, Robert Leiper and Jason Davidson with the same combination of chips: one fall would come from a buttock, the other from a hipe. His final fall against Davidson in the final was a hipe off a back-heel which sent long legs flying all ways.

The savants round the ring agreed that his wrestling is refreshingly instinctive, which of course belies the years of coaching and training at Kendal Academy. He has the confidence to launch an attack without necessarily knowing where it will go, for he has so many twists and buttocks and so much strength and speed that he can usually rescue himself when he finds trouble.

The Harrington clan and off-shoots, all of them cousins, did especially well at Ambleside, with Joe Harrington of Kirkbampton winning the Under 18s with his hipes, John Harrington of Bewaldeth taking the 11½st and the Guinness Trophy for the best performance in all the wrestling, and cousin Richard Dixon felling Trevor Hodgson in the final of the 14 stones. Dixon who is tall, but weighs in at under 10½st, wrestled indifferently by his standards in the lighter weights, but showed his true mettle in the 14 stones against the bigger men.

Cockermouth Show with its crowded grassy ring continued the theme of excellent wrestling and big crowds. John Harrington scored a double to underline his return to form after a niggling injury, but the day there belonged to Carl Clark of Arlecdon who made a successful return to the ring after a work injury. True, he was massively bigger than his final opponent, John Harrington, but he knew that unless he used his power positively and made no mistakes, Harrington would trip him up, literally. That happened in the middle fall which was over before it had started when Harrington's sharp inside click trumped Clark's power and sat him on his backside. The final fall was close and tense but Clark got the final twist.

Flookburgh Steam Gathering had one of its best wrestling for some years amongst all the machinery. Graham Brocklebank took prizes in four categories. Joe Parsons, once a boy champion, made a successful and welcome return to the ring when he won the 11½stones. Joe Harrington had a double win and Thomas Brocklebank was unbeatable in the All Weights.

The furthest travelled and most successful wrestler over four days of wrestling was Jack Brown of Haydon Bridge. He is not the biggest of boys but he wrestled with great skill to win three Under 12 Years competitions and come second in the other. He and Ben Brocklebank are a perfect match, with Brocklebank beating him in the final at Ambleside, only to have that reversed at Flookburgh.

This Saturday sees a historic occasion as Rab McNamara seeks to beat Ted Dunglinson's record of nine Heavyweight World Championships at Powburn Show in Northumberland. Ted accumulated his nine over many years, whilst Rab has been unbeaten in the last nine years. On the evidence of his performance at the Centenary Challenge at the Cumberland Show, McNamara must be odds-on favourite to accomplish the task, but in Cumberland and Westmorland Wrestling you never know what might happen.

Results:

Ambleside Sports

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

Under 15 Years: 1, A Ridley; 2, S Brocklebank; 3, J Campbell.

Under 18 Years: 1, Joe Harrington; 2, G Benson; 3, A Mason.

11½st: 1, John Harrington; 2, S Wilkinson; 3, G Brocklebank.

12½st: 1, R Fox; 2, John Harrington; 3, G Brocklebank.

14st: 1, R Dixon; 2, T Hodgson; 3, A Jones;

All Weights: 1, J Robson; 2, T Brocklebank; 3, R Dixon.

Guinness Trophy: John Harrington

Langholm Common Riding

Under 12 Years: 1, J Brown; 2, K Hodgson; 3, C Friel.

Under 16 Years: 1, F Healy; 2, A Ridley; 3, C Ridley.

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

15st World Championship: 1, J Robson 2, J Davidson; 3, R Leiper.

All Weights: 1, J Robson; 2, J Davidson; 3, John Harrington

Cockermouth Show

Under 12 Years: 1, J Brown; 2, R Lister; 3, J Graves.

Under 15 Years: 1, A Ridley; 2, C Ridley; 3, D Ewart.

Under 18 Years: 1, P Housby; 2, D Walton; 3, J Graves

11½st: 1, John Harrington; 2, R Dixon; 3, A Carlile.

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

All Weights: 1, C Clark; 2, John Harrington; R Dixon.

Flookburgh Steam gathering

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

Under 15 Years: 1, S Brocklebank; 2, J Hodgson; 3, Douglas Parsons.

Under 18 Years: 1, Joe Harrington; 2, G Brocklebank; 3, L Benn.

11½st: 1, J Parsons; 2, G Brocklebank; 3, S Brocklebank.

13st: 1, Joe Harrington; 2, G Brocklebank; 3, David Parsons.

All Weights: 1, T Brocklebank; 2, L Benn; 3, G Brocklebank.

Ladies: 1, T Hodgson; 2, G Hodgson-Stainton; 3, C Hodgson.

Dates:

Aug 5 (Sat)2pm Beetham Girls/U12/U14/U16/U18/12½/AW

2pmPowburn U10/U13/U16/11½/14/AW Ch'ship/Local Novice

Aug 6 (Sun)1pm Lowther U12/U15/U18/Ladies/12/14/AW (Costume requested)

Aug 8 (Tues) 1.30pm Kirkby Lonsdale U12/U15/U18/13/AW

Aug 10 (Thu) 3pm Ings U12/U15/U18/12½/AW (Costume requested)

Aug 12 (Sat) 12 noon Dalston Show U12/U15Ch'ship/U18/11½/13/AW

Aug 13 (Sun) Forestburngate includes U18yrs/10st Ch'ship

Aug 16 (Wed)Gosforth Boys

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

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