Haltwhistle Carnival

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The Cumberland and Westmorland wrestling at Haltwhistle Carnival has had a high emotional charge in the past two years following the death of local wrestling champion, Chris Walton at the age of seventeen. His memory is celebrated in a conventional way with a fine trophy donated by the family for the Novice wrestling, but the real memorial is the way that local wrestlers enter the lists in droves, and the way that this family organise and compete in the event.

Chris's older brother, Richard, used to be a boy champion, too, but he drifted away from wrestling to favour other sports such Richard Walton of Haltwhistle with the two trophies he won at his home event as Badminton. For some years he has not competed, so it was a pleasant surprise to see him enter the lists in the Novices. He used to be tall and willowy; now he has filled out and is toned from his job in a gymnasium. That physique and his past experience led to a straightforward win, and his mother, Michelle, had the bitter-sweet task of presenting him with his brother's memorial trophy.

And it did not stop there. Younger brother James came a creditable third in the Under 15s, and father, Alan, entered for the 13 ½ stones where a win would have made the script almost too good to be true. In the event he was runner-up in the final, but I do not suppose he was too upset at not winning, for he was felled by his son, the newly resurgent Richard. With his new found strength, Richard was able to pick off his men with sudden twists and attacks when a chance arose. This was his method of felling Alan Jones in the semi-final and his father in the final.

Andrew Ord is making a habit of winning All Weights competitions. He used his assets of height, strength and growing confidence to work his way to the final where he controlled the dangerous John Harrington who had previously impressed with his armoury of throws in winning the 11 ½ stones. Joe Thompson continued his return from injury with a good win in the Under 18s. Thomas Gibson of Southwaite returned to winning ways in the Under 12s where his winter training gave him the edge over the enthusiastic local lads. And the Hodgson family's long journey from Dentdale was rewarded when all three sisters took most of the prize money home from the two female wrestling categories.

The wrestling at Bampton, near Shap, was more low key, mainly supported by the Kendal Academy wrestlers. Joseph Robson in the heavyweights looked a dead cert for the top spot, but was rudely awakened in the first round when a stranger took the first fall. The stranger was Chris Whitaker, a former boy champion fromSt Michael's Academy, who has not wrestled for many years, now with two young lads in tow. Robson then woke up and took the next two falls and went on for an easy win.

Most successful of all was Matthew Atkinson. He was second best to William Hayhurst in the Under 15s, but reversed that result in the final of the Under 18s when his inside-click clinched it. He then went on to feature in all the remaining finals, two of which were won by Anthony Wilson, brother of the Kendal coach, John.

Under 12 Years 1, T Gibson; 2, C Balluch; 3, A Cousins.
Under 15 Years 1, L Crawford; 2, C Moore; 3, J Walton.
Under 18 Years 1, J Thompson; 2, C Ridley; 3, P Petrie.
Girls Under 15 Years 1, C Hodgson; 2, H Hodgson; 3, D Gibson.
Ladies Open 1, T Hodgson; 2, H Hodgson; 3, D Thompson.
Novices 1, R Walton; 2, J Thompson; 3, K Laidlaw.
11 ½ st 1, John Harrington; 2, C Ridley; 3, C Naylor.
13 ½ st 1, R Walton; 2, A Walton; 3, A Jones.
All Weights 1, A Ord; 2, John Harrington; 3, Joe Harrington.


Under 12 Years 1, S Wilson; 2, G Wilson ; 3, J Wilson .
Under 15 Years, 1, W Hayhurst; 2, M Atkinson; 3, G Wilson .
Under 18 Years, 1. M, Atkinson; 2, W Hayhurst; 3, S Wilson .
11 ½ st. 1, A Wilson ; 2, M Atkinson; 3, S Wilson .
13 st. 1, A Wilson ; 2, M Atkinson; 3, W Atkinson.

All Weights.1, J Robson; 2, M Atkinson; 3, W Atkinson.

Saturday, 18 th July 4pm Cumberland Show.U12/ /U15and 7st/ U15/U18/GirlsU15/12/14/AW(£695)
Sunday, 19 th July 3pm Coniston Country Fair U12/U15/U18/11 ½ /13/AW
2.30pm Great Eccleston Show U12/U15/U18/11 ½ /13/AW/Ladies Open
Saturday, 25 th July 1pm Penrith Show U12/U15/U18/11 ½ /13/AW/Girls
Sunday, 26th July 12 noon Flookburgh

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

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