The Academy Shield at Kendal Rugby Club

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The winning academy team, Carlisle Wrestling Club. (Back row l to r) Andrew Carlile, Richard Dixon, John Harrington, Joe Thompson, Joe Harrington, Donna Thompson, Jack Ewart. (Front row) Katy Brown, Jack Brown, Kieron Miller, David Miller, Paul Murray, Craig NaylorThe Academy Shield at Kendal Rugby Club should have been boring, because Carlisle wrestlers were unbeaten in the first nine weights and quickly established an unassailable lead in the team competition.but it wasn't. Every bout fizzed with energy; every single step was a challenge for the Carlisle wrestlers, and the noise level rose and rose.

The Academy Shield is a series of round-robin competitions starting at 6 stones rising a stone at a time up to 15 stones. In addition there is a female 10 stones and women's and men's All Weights sections. Six teams from all over Cumbria and Northumberland took part. Two brothers, Kieron and David Miller from Carlisle set the standard in the first two categories, winning by finesse rather than power. Jack Brown at 8st had a real challenge to make the weight and was running the back streets of Kendal, heavily dressed, before he managed the weight and then had enough energy left to fell good wrestlers like Bradley Thompson and Sam Lashley.

Paul Murray at 9st had a particularly tough group, including as it did the likes of Andrew Woodend, Ben Brocklebank and Isaac Hammond. Andrew Woodend caught the eye with his emphatic style, so when Murray and he met late in the section there was a special buzz. Murray is adept at gaining hold and wrestling off the right side. Despite Woodend's power he managed to get in front and rush him forward

Craig naylor, winner of the Best Performance Trophy, in action against Jamie Nicholson


Craig Naylor hales from Wasdale and began his wrestling at Waberthwaite, but heis now a sports student at Newton Rigg, and has regularly attended Carlisle Wrestling Club. For his new academy he turned in a performance of such quality, with hipes and hanks and twists as necessary that Jim Bland, when the dust settled, awarded him the trophy for the best performance of the night. Katy Brown won the first ever female section of the Academy Shield to keep the Carlsle pot boiling In Andrew Carlile, Richard Dixon, and John Harrington, Carlisle had the men's wrestling sewn up, each performing with the sort of class that has brought each of them a championship this year.



Only in the 14 stones was Carlisle's dominance challenged. Graham Brocklebank, just turned 18 this summer, was in great form for Kendal, taking all his falls. Even then Carlisle went back to winning ways when Joe Harrington won the first bout of the 15 stones against former champion, Joseph Robson, and went through unbeaten. In the ladies All Weights two Carlisle wrestlers ended up with four wins each. Lynn Murray for Carlisle B upset the form book by felling Donna Thompson, but was in turn felled by Sandra Woodend of Waberthwaite.

The most even section was the men's All Weights, when three wrestlers, Thomas Brocklebank (Kendal), Jason Davidson (Rothbury) and Joe Lowry (Waberthwaite) all gained four falls out of five.

In the open competitions after the main event, Jack Hale of Rothbury excelled himself by winning the All Weights, no doubt making the long ride back to the North-East more palatable.


Academy Shield

1, Carlisle 69pts; 2, Kendal 42pts; 3, Waberthwaite 30pts; 4, Rothbury 27pts; 5, Milnthorpe 23pts; 6, Carlisle B.

Best Performance Trophy: Craig Naylor, Carlisle,

Open results:

Under 12 Years 1, J Hayhurst; 2, A Dent; 3, J Hale.

Under 15 Years 1, J Thompson; 2, J Hall; 3, J Brown.

Girls Open 1, D Thompson; 2, K Brown; 3, E Hayhurst.

12 ½ st 1, John Harrington; 2, J Wragg; 3, C Naylor.

All Weights 1, Jack Hale; 2, Joe Harrington; 3, J Robson.

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

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