'Young Farmers Do It In Wellies'.

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The signs in Land Rover rear windows say, 'Young Farmers Do It In Wellies'. Wrestlers, on the other hand 'Do It Whatever The Weather' and that was particularly true at Carlisle Racecourse last Sunday. The theory and planning were excellent: the day that Carlisle had its richest race of the year, the £40,000 Coors Cumberland Chase, was designated the Countryside Day, and trail hounds, terrier racing, falcons and wrestlers were to entertain the crowds and especially all the children, on this bumper family day out.

Carlisle Wrestling Club had it all meticulously planned. Two training sessions, between races, taken by champion coaches Andrew Carlile and Alan Jones, would take place on the club's wrestling mats on a tarmac area near the children's' play area. A certain Roger Robson was to give an amazingly erudite and entertaining commentary to the massed crowds. Wrestling after all had been a key attraction at the old Swifts Racecourse down by the River Eden since 1809.

So, what happened? Rain, gale, rain, gale, more rain and more gale: that's what happened.

Brothers, David and Kieron Miller, take hold under the watchful eye of referee Roger Robson. In the background a horse attracts all the public attentionOn the day itself the heavy rain would have made the wrestling mats into a skating rink; the Public Address system was liable to electrocute the commentator, so Plan B was invoked, thankfully. This consisted of moving the demonstration to a flat, grassy area beside the Parade Ring. The wrestlers were divided into two shifts so that they only got wet and muddy once in the afternoon. My commentary was heavily abridged to the role of referee and the frequent repetition of 'On your guard.wrestle'.

The wrestlers would appear from under their umbrellas, immaculate in traditional strip, shake hands, wrestle, and squelch each other into the mud until they looked like Rugby League players on a water-logged pitch. The ring was in an excellent spot for the depleted crowd (no children to be seen), but mostly we had only passing trade as punters moved from Parade Ring to the bookies, which was a shame, as the wrestling skills of all the junior and senior wrestlers were a joy to watch.

As the soggy wrestlers made their way home, it was good to know that we had been given a good donation to Club funds, and an invitation to do the same again on a sunnier day.


Friday, 6th November - Wrestling Association Presentation Dinner, The Auctioneer, Carlisle (Tickets from Alf Harrington)

Wednesday, 11th November - Carlisle Wrestling Club First Junior Points Night

Wednesday, 18th November - Carlisle Wrestling Club Senior Points

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

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