With lighter nights, something stirs in the world of CWWA Wrestling

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The lighter nights mean that things are stirring in the world of Cumberland and Westmorland Wrestling. The indoor season at Carlisle Wrestling Club is reaching its climax with Junior and Senior Points Nights in the next fortnight. Team selection for the European Championships of the International Federation of Celtic Wrestling is imminent. And next Friday, 13th March is the Annual General Meeting of the Cumberland and Westmorland Wrestling Association

Already the Carlisle wrestlers have had three opportunities since November to amass points towards the annual trophies, and some categories remain on a knife-edge. The system rewards skill, but persistence and consistency are important factors too. Closest of all is the 8½ stones where both Paul Murray and Jack Brown are struggling with the weight and have gained ten points each. All the Junior sections will be settled on Wednesday 11th March, and the Senior Points will follow a week later.

The team for the International will mainly be selected from the wrestlers from two academies, Rothbury and Carlisle , with the addition of Joe Robson from Kendal who has also been attending the training sessions. An unexpected extra is the availability of David Atkinson who is an experienced international, but has been away from the sport for some time, living as he does in the Bristol area. Another imponderable is whether Richard Fox will wish to be considered for selection. He too, has been an absentee over the winter months, shearing sheep in New Zealand, but has returned this week. In general the Carlisle wrestlers are strong at the lighter end of the categories, whilst the Rothbury wrestlers, in general, are hefty and lofty. Carlisle coach Alan Jones continues to hammer home the message that a high level of fitness is essential for all members of the team whatever their height or weight.

The Annual General Meeting gathers together representatives of affiliated events and academies from throughout the North as well as personal members. Most items on the agenda are routine, but one item for discussion is prompted by a strange bout last year when a wrestler, whilst still retaining hold, reached and grabbed hold of his opponent below the thighs, to fell him with a sort of rugby tackle, twice.

There will also be a vote on a proposal that each affiliated club be allowed to put forward a representative as a member of the Governing Board and that representative can be an active member. The motive behind this proposal is to involve younger people in the running of our traditional sport.

Carlisle Wrestling Belt 1855Meanwhile, a reminder of our heritage arrived by email from Guy Jaouen, a Breton friend who stayed with me last week. In his possession is a Carlisle wrestling belt, red leather with gold lettering, dated 1855. In that year the All Weight wrestling at the old Carlisle Race Course at the Swifts attracted 130 wrestlers 'including many of the best men of the day'. The final was contested between Thomas Longmire and a wrestler returned from retirement, William Robley. 'Up to that time he had not deemed it necessary to strip into wrestling costume, but impressed with the magnitude of the work before him he now appeared in tights, which displayed to great advantage his brawny and well knit frame. His efforts went unrewarded, as he was 'sent reeling beneath the powerful back-heel of his antagonist.'

Dates:

Wednesday, 11th March at 7.45pm, Carlisle Wrestling Club Junior Points Night

Wednesday, 18th March, Carlisle Wrestling Club Senior Points Night.

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

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