The Lakeland Sportsperson of the Year 2006.....

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........is David Atkinson of Carlisle. At the Lakeland Sports Promoters Association Presentation Luncheon the citation pointed out that he was not the most prolific winner, but had won two of the biggest events of the LSPA calendar. At Grasmere he won the 13 stones in an epic final with the Breton Champion, Mathieu Le Dour. The victory was all the more remarkable as he had just returned to the ring after a year of recovery from a badly broken leg sustained at Ambleside Sports.

The other major win was at The Westmorland Show in the mud. He warmed up with a second place in the 13 stones, before winning the 14st Championship Belt with his usual brand of attacking wrestling. He was also commended for his dynamic role as a wrestling coach, especially in the preparation of the English team for the recent Youth International.

Another wrestler, Tracy Hodgson, won the Junior Sports Personality award. Her wrestling is limited because there are not always girls' events on the programme, but she won everything that was open to her. Most notably she won the Open Under 18 Girls at Grasmere. In the process she injured her knee, but still hobbled to victory in the senior event, too. Her citation pointed out that her attitude and presence had led to a big increase of female wrestling events.

Her cousins the Brocklebanks had a good day, too, with Ben, Scott, and Graham all receiving nominations in their categories.

Two other senior wrestlers were also nominated: Richard Fox had good wins at Killington, Ambleside, and The Westmorland Show, and last year's Lakeland Sportsperson was nominated again for a string of wins in the LSPA events.

With the exception of Dave Allen, an ever present track runner, and the veteran runner Matt McMahon, the remaining nominations were mainly for fell runners: Lauren Munro-Bennett dominated the Under 12 Years girls' events and Tom Sessford did the same for Under 14 Boys. Father and son Mark and Ryan Croasdale were both nominated; father figured in the veterans, and son in the Under 12s.

At the end of all the annual awards, a special presentation was made to Dennis Bevins for his lifetime contribution to Lakeland Sports. He was a formidable athlete in his own right in the Post-War years and he kept competing into his eighties, but he was also a great trainer of track and fell runners including the great Fred Reeves.

Academy Shield

Tomorrow's Academy Shield looks like being the most competitive for many a year with six teams in the lists. Nothumberland returns to the fray in the form of a young Rothbury team. The West of Cumbria is represented by Waberthwite re-inforced by new wrestlers from Wyndham School, Egremont, where fifty lads arecently attended a session after school. Carlisle will put in two teams again, and the south of the county is represented by the academies at Kendal and Milnthorpe.

The Academy Shield Competition takes place in Currock House at 7.30pm on Saturday, 2nd December. As well as the main event, there will also be Open Classes at Under 13, 16 and 18 Years, 12½st and All Weights. And although at present there is no place for girls on the teams, there at least will be two open categories for females at 9st and All Weights.

On Sunday 10th December there will be a Slide Show of the 2006 wrestling season at Currock House at 7.30 for 8pm, £3 for adults, £1 children (max £8 per family).

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

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