Rothbury Mart and Woolsingham Show

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A roof is wonderful thing in a sodden year. Rothbury Mart had a roof, buckets to catch the drips, a grand crowd on the tiered seating, a bar, loads of prize-money and loads of wrestlers from all "airts" as they say in Northumberland. Three wrestlers travelled down from Dundee, and Luke Benn, who won the Under 18 Years Championship at Rothbury last year, came with two companions all the way from Millom, which is nearer to Two veterans, Alan Jones and Trevor Hodgson, in the 15st Championship eventIreland than Rothbury.His journey was worthwhile as he fought his way through a big crowd of big lads to win the Under 19s. In the final, the local star, Nathan Birdsall took the lead with a late twist, but Benn came back with an outside stroke to equalise. Benn's winning fall came from gaining hold, lifting and twisting back. The biggest draw of the night was the 15½ stones with its £500 first prize. Twenty-three wrestlers entered the draw, and after several rounds of dynamic wrestling Robert Leiper and the 15st Champion, Joseph Robson faced each other in the final. Both are big powerful lads, but on the night Robson just had too much in his armoury for the Northumbrian. Leiper made a good shot at hiping but Robson rode it, and then immediately used the momentum to hipe the hiper. The second fall was an anti-climax after the swirling action of the first, but the winning chip was one for the connoisseur, a neat outside-stroke and twist where timing beat power.

Wolsingham Show, the only Agricultural show in Britain to defy the weather last  weekendTwo days later Joseph Robson was at Wolsingham Show, which did not have a roof, to defend his 15st World title. The Dundee wrestlers had been stranded in Rothbury, but they and a good contingent of young contenders managed to escape the floods to compete in the Wolsingham mud, and it was one of the Scots, John Hirsch, who sprung a surprise by defeating the champion in the first round. The first fall looked like a slip, when Robson, feet shot out from under him. He rallied in the second with another crisp outside stroke, but in the third an attempt to hipe left him face down in the mud. Hirsch continued his success in the second round John Harrington lifts Richard Dixon high and handsomeby felling John Harrington in straight falls and then gained a bye into the final. His opponent there was Richard Fox of Hethersgill who had warmed up nicely by already winning the 14 stones, before cutting a swathe through the Northumbrians in the championship. Ross Wilkinson had felled him at Rothbury, but Fox put that right, twisting Wilkinson off the inside-click which had done for him at the mart previously. Ironically, Jason Davidson used the same counter to fell Fox in the next round, but Fox came back with a right leg back-heel. Davidson attacked for the decider with his well-honed outside-hipe. All seemed lost for Fox, but somehow he squirmed out of Davidson's grip and defied gravity longer to take a close fall. In the semi-final Fox had too much for Nathan Birdsall, and he won with a back-heel and a buttock. And that was exactly what won him the final with John Hirsch. Having gone ahead with a back-heel for the first fall, he was like a sprinter on his blocks waiting for the gun. "Wrestle!" said the referee, and a second later Hirsch was on his back, buttocked, and Richard Fox was the new 15st Champion. With plenty competitors at both venues, quality still shone through and several wrestlers won at both Rothbury and Wolsingham. Kendal wrestlers James Hayhurst and Joseph Robson, and Carlisle's Richard Dixon, John Harrington, Richard Fox and brother and sister Joe and Donna Thompson all achieve double wins.

Rothbury Mart
Under 9 Years 1, C Whitfield; 2, T Davidson; 3, H Bertram.Under 12 Years 1, J Hayhurst; 2, Joe Hale; 3, C Whitfield.Under 16 Years 1, J Thompson; 2, S Mason; 3, W Hayhurst.Girls Under 16 Years 1, K Brown; 2, C Hodgson; 3, H Hodgson.Under 19 Years 1, L Benn; 2, N Birdsall; 3, S Mason.11½st 1, John Harrington; 2, R Dixon; 3, S McKenzie.13½st 1, R Dixon; 2, R Wilkinson; 3, John Harrington.15½st 1, J Robson; 2, R Leiper; 3, L Benn.Women's Open 1, D Thompson; 2, K Brown; 3, J Thompson.All Weights 1, R Younger; 2, D Whitfield; 3, J Robson.
Wolsingham Show
Under 12 Years 1, J Hayhurst; 2, Joe Hale; 3, T Davidson.Under 15 Years 1, Joe Thompson; 2, W Hayhurst; 3, J Hayhurst.Under 18 Years 1, N Birdsall; 2, Jack Hale; 3, W Hayhurst. Women's Open 1, D Thompson; 2, H Hodgson; 3, C Hodgson.11st 1, R Dixon; 2, J Hayhurst; 3, Joe Hale.12st 1, John Harrington; 2, R Dixon; 3, J Hayhurst.14st 1, R Fox; 2, A Jones; 3, R Wilkinson.15st World Championship 1, R Fox; 2, J Hirsch; 3, N Birdsall.All Weights 1, J Robson; 2, J Davidson; 3, John Harrington.

Saturday, 13th Sept 12 noon Stanhope U12/U15/U18/Girls/11½/13/AW
3.30pm Whitfield U12/U15/U18/12½/AW

Ingram Sports Cancelled Saturday, 20th Sept 2pm Egremont Crab Fair U12/U15/U18/11½/13/AW

Sunday, 21st Sept Borrowdale Cancelled

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

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