The Wrestling at the Westmorland Show .............

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............. could have been a washout as the rain reached comical proportions and just kept going, with the occasional long brattle of thunder thrown in, but a dense crowd gathered under brollies to watch competitions of the highest quality and intensity.

More than £2,500 of prize-money, two Centenary Challenges and the 14st Championship kept wrestlers focused and the crowd enthralled.

Entered for the Under 18 Years Centenary Challenge were 21 lads and each round raised the level of skill and tension until the two best wrestlers, Graham Brocklebank and Joe Harrington, met in the final. Harrington's best chip is the inside-hipe and he set about loading Brocklebank onto it. Brocklebank fought hard but in the end he was lifted up and round on the hipe and dumped into the mire, twice.

Last month the Breton wrestlers gave the Cumbrians plenty of practice in defending against the hank, but they were unable to deal with Rab Clark's version. He is a rare visitor to our competitions now, but he returned on top form to win the 11½st Centenary Challenge. His final opponent, Jonjo Pattinson turned in one of his best performances to date on the treacherous surface.

Sodden long-johns may have felled the 14st Champion, Joe Robson, before he even started, for he was not weighed out by much. Four Carlisle Wrestling Club wrestlers contested the semi-final. In the end David Atkinson prevailed in the final against Richard Fox. Fox took the middle fall when he trapped both of Atkinson's legs as he over-reached himself in trying to engage his trademark hipe. For the decider, though, it was business as usual as the hipe worked as smoothly as a well-oiled machine.

A year ago Atkinson was in plaster after breaking his leg at Ambleside. The 14st Championship win confirms his return to the highest standards of wrestling. At present he is studying Law at Newcastle University, and has been invited to help with the coaching at the new Rothbury Academy this winter.

John Harrington was awarded the trophy for the best performance at the Westmorland Show for the quality of some of his falls, but in many ways that was only a beginning to a remarkable week-end when he surged back to the sort of form which put him ahead of everyone last year. Earlier in the season he had handed over championship trophies to Andrew Carlile, but at last at Egremont Crab Fair he laid his hands on one again when he felled Richard Fox in the final of the 13st Championship. Fox struck first with a surprise hipe, but Harrington came back with an outside-hipe to set up one of those nerve-jangling encounters for the decider. This time there was no neat finish as the two wrestlers lay out almost horizontally trying to find the last ounce of power and purchase. Harrington was the man to do it and he went home with four cups, including the Guinness Trophy, to mark his success.

At Borrowdale, the following day, he was unbeaten all afternoon, winning all three weights, while Jack Lashley of the Milnthorpe Academy had his best day yet with a double win in the boys' wrestling.


Westmorland County Show

Under 12 Years: 1, W Hayhurst; 2, B Brocklebank; 3, D Hodgson.

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

Under 18 Years Centenary Challenge: 1, Joe Harrington; 2, G Brocklebank; 3, G Benson.

11½st Centenary Challenge: 1, R Clark; 2, J Pattinson; 3, G Benson.

12st: 1, John Harrington; 2, R Fox; 3, G Benson.

13st: 1, R Fox; 2, D Atkinson; 3, A Carlile.

14st Championship: 1, D Atkinson; 2, R Fox; 3, John Harrington.

All Weights: 1, D Whitfield; 2, J Robson; 3, T Brocklebank.

Girls Under 14: 1, K Brown; 2, C Hodgson; 3, H Hodgson.

Ladies Open: 1, T Hodgson; 2, K Brown; 3, D Thompson.

Egremont Crab Fair

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

Under 15 Years: 1, J Brown; 2, P Murray; 3, R Woodburn.

Under 18 Years: 1, Joe Harrington; 2, K Naylor; 3, W Noimai.

11½st: 1, A Carlile; 2, W Noimai; 3,

13st Championship: 1, John Harrington; 2, R Fox; 3, D Barnes.

All Weights: 1, D Barnes; 2, D Atkinson; 3, R Fox.


Under 12 Years: 1, J Brown; 2, L Thompson; 3, T Osborne.

Under 15 Years: 1, J Lashley; 2, C Ridley; 3, J Brown.

Under 18 Years: 1, J Lashley; 2, J Ewart; 3, R Cardwell.

11½st: 1 John Harrington; 2, J Lashley; 3, C Ridley.

13st: 1, John Harrington; 2, R Fox; 3, A Price.

All Weights: 1, John Harrington; 2, R Fox; 3, A Price.


23 (Sat) 12 noon Langholm Show U12/U15/U18yrs Ch'ship/12½/AW

30 (Sat) 3pm Eskdale U15/U18/10½/12/AW

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


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