There's some good Cumberland wrestlers...........

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.............don't come from Cumberland, observed former champion Alan Coulthard of Justicetown who had been studying the form at the first day of the European Espoirs Championships at Lime House School Sports Hall, Dalston. Young wrestlers from Leon in Northern Spain, from Austria and from Brittany had hiped and hanked and cross-buttocked with the best.

The day was mostly given over to Gouren, the Breton style of wrestling, but two weights of our own backhold wrestling took place. A fully fit Richard Dixon would have been the likely winner of the 68kg category, but an injury which had kept him out of the ring for several weeks made him vulnerable. He won some good falls, and was within a single fall of going into the final, but the Breton took the fifth bout decider and Dixon had to be content with third place.

John Harrington, the team captain, was also subject to a fitness scare, when a knee swelled up earlier in the week, but no-one watching him wrestle could guess that he was in any way impaired. He calmly rode all attacks and was in command in every bout. His main weapons, the inside and outside hipe, were lethal most of the time, and there when his opponent resisted too much, he would cut him down with a simple inside-click.

The best performance by one of our wrestlers in the Gouren style came from Richard Fox of Hethersgill. In his very first bout he swept his opponent away, winning with a Lamm, a knock-out throw where a wrestler lands plumb on two shoulders. The job grew harder after that, but he was always able to find enough energy and drive to mount a quality attack which took him into the next stage. Only in the final did his luck run out, but only after prolongation, when a close bout has another two minutes of action added to try to sort out a winner. If it were a horse race his Breton opponent would have won by a nose.

Heavy weight, Richard Younger, looked uncomfortable in his first bouts, but gained in confidence until he was within twenty seconds of a win which would have taken him to the final of the over 90kg class. He was clearly in the lead on points, but an awkward fall which damaged his knee, left him in third place.

At the end of the first day all the teams are capable of winning the team trophy. In theory the Cumbrians should be able to pick up valuable points on the second day as they wrestle in their own backhold style in five out of seven categories, but if the first day is anything to go by, they will have to be on top form to beat the visitors.

Dates:

Oct 28 (Sat) Buttermere Show

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

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