IFCW European Championships in Kilbride

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No traditional wrestling competition is tougher than the IFCW European Championships. That is what our wrestlers were told in training, and that is what they found in the Wright Sports Centre, East Kilbride. Nine regions with strong wrestling cultures gathered to compete in our backhold style and in Gouren, the jacket style from Brittany .

We were fortunate that four of our five wrestlers were competing in their own style on the first of the two days of action, but Craig Naylor was blown away by the opposition in the lightest group (64kg), Joseph Robson went near with his hipes, but went out in the pools stage, and Richard Dixon was put through the mincer by Ewen Salaun.

Salaun, who regularly competes at Grasmere, hanked Dixon onto his head in the first hold and went two falls ahead in the best-of-five match. There were falls off the mat and dog falls, but Dixon kept his cool and inexorably recovered lost ground to win. That woke him up, and from there he won his way through the pool section and the cross-ties with hipes and buttocks to meet Robert Clark in the final. He doesn't like to be bossed, said coach Alan Jones, so that was the strategy, and it worked. Clark won one fall with his trusty hank, but otherwise Dixon gave him no chance to settle, neutralising his hank and bossing him with hipes and twists. On the following day Dixon performed well in the Gouren to win a bronze medal and prove himself the best wrestler in his group.

John Harrington brings Hector Garcia of Leon to groundJohn Harrington had a comparatively easy ride in his first bouts in the 74kg, but the difficulty of the task was made clear when the Leon star wrestler Hector Garcia felled him in the pool stage. This meant that Harrington went into the cross-ties in second place where he met the notoriously awkward Canarian, Avilla Acosta, who is as wide as he is tall. In a tense series of bouts they ended up with two falls each, and Harrington won the day with an all-or-nothing inside-click as soon as the referee said Wrestle!

This win put him through to the final for another go at Hector Garcia, and once more it ended up with a winner-takes-all fifth fall. Again Harrington leapt into instantaneous action from the outset, seized a slight hold, outside-hiped, just, and twisted him down, just, for a famous victory. In the Gouren Harrington had the rare achievement of winning by a lamm, which is a perfect throw that finishes the bout.

On the second day our hopes focused on Richard Fox who had done well in the Gouren on the first day, winning two of his four falls, but not well enough to reach the finals. In the backhold he carried all before him in the pools, with a single exception, John Taylor of Scotland . Fox went through to the cross-ties, won his bout and once more met Taylor , this time in the final. Taylor was in imperious form, and whatever Fox did he had an answer. Not unexpectedly, John Taylor was voted unanimously the best backold wrestler of the championships.

Then towards the end came an unexpected bonus when Craig Naylor who had finished last in his own style, started winning at Gouren, to the extent that he gained a bronze medal.

The Cumbrian team with medals: l to r Joseph Robson, Richard Fox, John Harrington, Richard Dixon and Craig Naylor

The first wrestling of the 2009 Grass Season, and the first championship of the year (Boys Under 18 Years/10st), takes place on Sunday at Carlisle Airport , where Hethersgill Vintage Society will hold their annual rally.

Results:

International Federation of Celtic Wrestling, European Championships, East Kilbride .

Team Results: 1, Canary Islands 97pts; 2, Brittany 91pts; 3, Leon 90pts; 4, Scotland 59pts; 5 Cumbria 59pts; 6, Austria 45pts; 7, Friesland 43pts; 8, Sardinia 20pts; 9, Iceland 18pts.

Individual Cumbrian Results: Backhold Gold medals: Richard Dixon (68kg); John Harrington (74kg) Silver medal: Richard Fox (90kg) Gouren Silver medal: Richard Dixon (68kg); Bronze medal: Craig Naylor (62kg)

Dates:

Sunday, 3 rd May (12.30pm) Hethersgill Vintage Society, Carlisle Airport . U12/U15/U18&10st Ch'ship/U18/12 ½ /AW

Saturday 9 th May NorthCumbria YFC Field Day, Moor House W

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

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