Alston Gala

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After a ten year monopoly by the great Scots wrestler, Robert McNamara, ending in 2007, the CWWA All Weights World Championship has become a more open contest. The young heavyweights, Russell Housby and Richard Younger, shared the spoils for the past three years, but when the entries were taken for the championship at Alston Gala, neither was in the draw. The holder, Richard Younger, who won at Langhom Common Riding last year, was at home nursing a broken jaw, so his father had to return the big championship trophy. As a result there was bound to be a new champion. Would it be one of the heavier, older wrestlers or one of the rising generation? Round by round the more mature wrestlers saw off the challenge of the young. Joe Threlfall had rude awakening with his first bout when the Under 18 Champion, Jack Hale, hiped and twisted him for the first fall, but he recovered to win the next two holds with controlled style. In the semi-finals he was back-heeled the Northumbrian heavyweight, Andrew Ord, for the first fall and then took the second with his well-honed twist over the knee. In the other half of the draw, Darren Whitfield, the Rothbury Academy coach, warmed up in the first round by hiping the big Wigton lad, Jack Ewart, twice. In the semi-final he met the new 14st Champion, David Atkinson, and practised his twists and buttocks, giving the lighter man no chance.

So, the final brought together two wrestlers, Threlfall and Whitfield, who would surely have held the championship in the last decade, but for Robert McNamara. At first each bout seemed like a stalemate, with Threlfall gaining the better hold and Whitfield fighting against it, but all that changed in an instant when Whitfield feinted right and then twice brought his man down with a quick buttock to win the All Weights Championship for the first time at the age of 37. This was not, however, Whitfield's first championship, for he held the 14st belt for three years in 1991-3, before he grew too big, and Big Mac came on the scene for the Heavyweights. Following his career as a Civil Engineer, he spent some years in the South of England and was only an occasional competitor in the Northern rings. Having returned with his family to Rothbury he has become a major player in the renewal of Rothbury Wrestling Academy , and is giving so much back to Cumberland and Westmorland Wrestling. One of his young protégés, Joe Hale, had an excellent day, going home with an armful of trophies. Carlisle wrestlers, Andrew Carlile and David Atkinson, showed their class by winning the 11 ½ st and 13st respectively. Carlisle smoothly eliminated the younger wrestlers with neat twists and hipes. Atkinson was in full flow with his speciality hipe off the right hip.

David Atkinson and Andrew Carlile in the final of the 13st wrestling at Alston Gala Darren Whitfield with his All Weights trophy. The runner-up, Joe Threlfall is to the left Thomas Gibson hipes Sam Wilson at Patterdale Country Fair

At Patterdale Country Fair the wrestling was in direct com petition with the England v Germany gabe in the football World Cup, so spectators were thinner than normal, whilst the wrestling entries were surprisingly good, mainly because of the Kendal Academy contingent. William Atkinson wrestled well in both boys' and men's events, but the undoubted star was Graham Brocklebank, who won both the 13 stones and the All Weights. In the final of the All Weights, Jimmy Hall gave him a shock by taking the first fall and pressing hard for the other two, but in the end Brocklebank managed to twist him over the knee.


Alston Gala
Under 9 Years 1, L McLaughlin; 2, H Wilson ; 3, J Threlfall. Under 12 Years 1, Joe Hale; 2, T Gibson; 3, T Athey. Under 15 Years 1, W Atkinson; 2, Joe Hale; 3, T Gibson. Under 18 Years 1, J Hall; 2, J Brown; 3, J Wragg.
Ladies 1, D Thompson;2, M Gibson. 11 ½ st 1, A Carlile; 2, W Atkinson; 3, C Ridley. 13st 1, D Atkinson; 2, A Carlile; 3, J Wragg.All Weights World Championship 1, D Whitfield; 2, J Threlfall; 3, A Ord.

Patterdale Country Fair
Under 12 Years 1, T Gibson; 2, S Wilson; 3, G Wilson . Under 15 Years 1, W Atkinson; 2, T Gibson; 3, Jack Hall. Under 18 Years 1, James Hall; 2, M Atkinson; 3, W Atkinson. 11 ½ st 1 W Atkinson; 2, B Brocklebank; 3, S Wilson . 13st 1, G Brocklebank; 2, W Atkinson;3, B Brocklebank. All Weights 1, G Brocklebank; 2, James Hall; 3, M Atkinson.

Saturday, 3rd July 12 noon Skelton Show U13/U16/U18/11 ½ /13/AW
Sunday, 4th July 2pm Langdale Gala U12/U15/U18/11/13/AW/Girls

12.30 Distington U12/U15/U18/12 ½ /AW

Sunday, 11th July Haltwhistle Carnival including 12st World Championship

Written by © Roger Robson. Photographs by © Roger Robson, Julian Richardson or Linda Scott (July 1st 2010)

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