Haltwhistle Carnival

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Sam Wilkinson hoists Tom March so high that he nearly falls over backwards Referee, Joe Harrington, wrestler Joe Hale in the red, and his coach, Jason Davidson at the back Luke Benn fells Jack Hale in the first round of the Under 18 Championship

Luke Benn was presented with the Under 18 Years World Championship trophy by Michelle and Alan Walton, parents of the late Chris WaltonLuke Benn, a wrestler rarely seen outside his own area, proved again that he is the best of his age, when he retained the Under 18 Years World Championship at Haltwhistle Carnival. Last year he had even further to travel from Millom when he felled Graham Brocklebank in the Championship final at Rothbury Mart. With nineteen wrestlers contending for the title at Haltwhistle, Benn had to fell a series of big strong and skilful wrestlers to keep his title.He set the tone in the first round encounter with Jack Hale of Rothbury. After a scrappy first hold won by the last twist, he went on to cut through Hale's hyper-activity with a perfectly timed outside-hipe. In the second round Benn met the James Oliver of Jedburgh, gained all the hold and wrenched him forward off his right shoulder and hip. The second fall was won with a counter to Oliver's attempt to lift.An even bigger opponent awaited in the third round. The lofty Fin Healy of Tynemouth was cut down to size by the stockier Benn with a right leg back-heel finished off with a twist over the knee. In their second bout, Benn lifted Healy up in the air and twisted back. In the semi-finals Benn had a rest in the form of a bye, and watched Sam Wilkinson of Milnthorpe use his usual tactics of gaining hold and twisting to fell Jack Ewart of Westward. Benn's winning falls in the final echoed those in the first round against Jack Hale. The first hold was a twisting-all-action-anyone-could-win bout with Benn putting in the final twist. In the second his outside-hipe cut through all the action to leave him a worthy champion for another year.The Under 18 Years Championship had a special poignancy this year when Michelle and Alan Walton, the parents of the late Chris Walton, presented Luke Benn with the trophy.Last year Chris won both the Under 18s and the Novice wrestling at his local Haltwhistle event. In his memory, the Waltons provided a beautiful challenge cup for the Novices. Many of his friends entered their names and gave a good account of themselves, but in the end the three prizewinners were all trained wrestlers. After a slowish start to the season, Jack Ewart is now in full flow, beating Nathan Birdsall of Rothbury in the final.In a new initiative, the Rothbury wrestlers used some of their travel grant from a National Lottery award to fund a minibus for the day, travelling first to Distington in West Cumbria, before returning to compete at Hatwhistle.In the Saturday rains, entries were low at Alston and Plumbland, with lightweight star, Richard Dixon, winning all the senior events, and felling local heavyweight, Tom Graham, in the All Weights final. Later at Plumbland Dixon' winning streak continued in the 13 stones, but ended surprisingly when Watchi Noimai defeated him in the final of the All Weights. Noimai somehow gained some hold and then trapped Dixon's long legs with a left leg back-heel. Noimai's exploit was rewarded with a splendid trophy for the best performance of the night. Richard Dixon then resumed his successful week-end at Haltwhistle where he won the 11½ stones.John Harrington shone at Distington, where he won the two senior events, but was flickering along at Haltwhistle until he reached the final of the All Weights with Darren Whitfield. Despite many stones disadvantage, he hiped Whitfield for the first fall, went down to an outside hipe for the second and then won the third and deciding fall by going to buttock, but changing direction suddenly with a cross-click which left Whitfield without a leg to stand on.The prize for the highest throw of the day, if not the year, went to Sam Wilkinson, who lifted the hefty Tom March over head height, nearly fell over backwards, but managed to twist clear as gravity re-asserted itself.

Results:

Alston Gala

Under 12 Years 1, J Watson; 2, J Holt; 3, J Goodfellow.Under 15 Years 1, J Thompson; 2, J Brown; 3, C Humphry.Under 18 Years 1, J Ewart; 2, J Thompson; 3, J Oliver.11½st 1 R Dixon; 2, W Noimai; 3, J Brown.13st 1, R Dixon; 2, F Healy; 3, W Noimai.All Weights 1, R Dixon; 2, T Graham; 3, F Healy.Ladies 1, D Thompson; 2, C Hodgson; 3, A Ridley.

Plumbland

Under 9 Years 1, R Miller 2, B Breeze; 3, B Hunt.Under 15 Years 1, J Thompson; 2, G Winder.Under 18 Years 1, J Thompson; 2, W Noimai.13st 1, R Dixon; 2, W Noimai; 3, J Thompson.All Weights 1, W Noimai; 2, R Dixon; 3, J ThompsonGirls Under 15 Years 1, H Hodgson 2, S Miller; 3, C Hodgson.

Distington

Under 12 Years 1, G Crane; 2, A Armstrong.Under 15 Years 1, J Thompson; 2, P Murray; 3, G Crane.Under 18 Years 1, N Birdsall; 2, J Wragg; 3, J Hale.12½st 1, John Harrington; 2, J Wragg; 3, R Dixon.All Weights 1, John Harrington; 2, N Birdsall; 3, J Davidson.

Great Langdale

Under 12 Years 1, J Hayhurst; 2, A Dent; 3, S Wilson.Under 15 Years 1, S Brocklebank; 2, W Hayhurst; 3, M Atkinson.Under 18 Years 1, S Brocklebank; 2, J Hall; 3, W Hayhurst.Girls 1, H Hodgson; 2, C Hodgson; 3, E Hayhurst.11½st 1, M Atkinson; 2, B Brocklebank; 3, B Thompson.13st 1, T Brocklebank; 2, F Davis; 3, G Brocklebank.

Haltwhistle Carnival

Under 12 Years 1, Joe Hale; 2, J Coates; 3, J Lithgoe.Under 15 Years 1, J Thompson; 2, J Brown; 3, G Crane.Under 18 Years World Championship 1, L Benn; 2, S Wilkinson; 3, J Ewart.Novices 1, J Ewart; 2, N Birdsall; 3, J Oliver.11½st 1, R Dixon; 2, C Ridley; 3, D Parsons.13st 1, R Fox; 2, John Harrington; 3, W Noimai.All Weights 1, John Harrington; 2, D Whitfield; 3, R Fox.

Dates:

Sunday, 13th July 2pm Bampton U12/U15/U18/12½/AW

2.15pm Great Eccleston U12/U15/U18/11½/13/AW

Saturday, 19th July 4pm Cumberland Show U12/U15(7st)/U15/U18/12/14st Ch'ship/AW

Sunday, 20th July Coniston

Friday, 25th July Langholm Common Riding

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

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