Lakeland Sports Promoters' Association's Awards

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The extended Brocklebank/Hodgson family nearly monopolised the wrestling section of the Lakeland Sports Promoters' Association's awards at the recent presentation luncheon at the Heaves Hotel, near Kendal.

Top of the pile was Graham Brocklebank of Warton, who won eight events on the LSPA calendar. His exploits meant that the guest of honour, Kenny Stuart, announced him as the Lakeland Sports Personality of 2008, to join a long list of famous wrestlers and athletes which includes his Grandfather Wilf Brocklebank.

Graham Brocklebank won at Under 18 Years at Lowgill, but a birthday meant that he could only compete in the adult events after that. The transition can be hard for some wrestlers, but that was not the case for Graham for he won six 13st LSPA events and two at All Weights. Undoubtedly his greatest day was at the Westmorland Show when he won at both 13 and 14 stones despite a large and competitive entry.

Graham's cousin, Scott Broclebank had a near perfect start to the season winning at Killington, Lowgill, Ambleside, Beetham, Rusland, Grasmere and the Westmorland Show. Best of all was at Grasmere when he won both the Under 15s and the Under 18 Years, and was awarded the Guinness Trophy for the best performance in the whole wrestling programme.

Another of Brocklebank's cousins, Hannah Hodgson, was nominated as the female wrestler. She won wherever she went except on two occasions when big sister Tracy felled her. Highlight of her season was the win in the Under 15 girls at Grasmere .

Joe Thompson of Alston's performance was like a mirror image of Scott Brocklebank. While Scott dominated the first two thirds of the season, Joe Thompson only came to life in the LSPA events when he won at both Under 15 and Under 18 at Egremont Crab Fair. Then at Eskdale Show his season peaked when he won a fiercely fought Under 15 Years Championship and then he went on to win the Under 18s in a weighty entry.

At the luncheon there was no sign of James Hayhurst, the Under 12 Years nominee, at presentation time for he was competing on his motorbike in a quarry near Millom. Just as the guests were dispersing he arrived with his dad. The trophy was rescued from big brother William, and re-presented to James by the guest of honour. James won at most places his grandad Peter took him, including the major events at Ambleside, Grasmere and the Westmorland Show.

Ali Johnson, the Tynedale rugby player who was paralysed when a scrum collapsed on him, died of a stroke on Monday. As a boy he and his brother were keen wrestlers and trained regularly at Carlisle Wrestling Club. The last time I saw him before his accident was at the Roman Wall Show where he had been showing sheep. He made himself known to me, and needed to, for he had grown from a boy into a big athletic frame. He spoke fondly of the wrestling and said he might be giving it another go. The next time I saw him he was in a wheelchair.

Wrestling supporters have the opportunity to review the 2008 season in photographs at a slide show

On Sunday, 14th December, 7.30 pm at Currock House, Carlisle . A CD of the photographs and all my 2009 wrestling articles will be available afterwards.

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

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