Lakeland Sports Personality Presentation

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So, how was the Academy Shield? It should have been the zenith of winter wrestling, a great gathering of wrestlers from our Northern Counties. But, Rothbury coach Jason Davidson, a hundred mile away from Milnthorpe, already had a foot of snow on his car roof; Tom Porter in Waberthwaite worried about transporting other folks' children on dubious roads in temperatures fit to freeze up the Atlantic sea-ways; so the decision was made to postpone the event, and Minthorpe coach, David Parsons, was left with the problem of what to do with a hundred meat pies.

What seemed like a different tale saw the Lakeland Sports Personality Luncheon go ahead in the same area on the following day, but with daylight on the side of the travellers. The Lakeland Sports Promoters Association, which holds the awards ceremony, was set up in the sixties when a determined attack was made by elements of the Amateur Athletics Association to outlaw “professionalism”. For them this included winning a couple of shillings in the egg and spoon race at the local gala, and all our local wrestling events. The LSPA affiliated to the AAA and provided a mechanism which allowed children to run or wrestle at Grasmere and also take part in school sport. The professional/amateur debate is dead but the LSPA still continues to provide a framework for runners and wrestlers at the traditional Lakeland sports.

Shows prizewinners at the LSPA Lakeland Sports Personality Awards luncheon (Left to right): Tommy Sedgwick, Gordon Eland (main trophy winner) Melanie Hyder, James McGlincy,Joint-Junior winner , Charles Lowrie, Stuart Mason, Thomas Gibson,Joint-Junior winner, William Atkinson, Emma Flanagan, Graham Brocklebank, and Connie Hodgson.

The Lakeland Sports Personality Trophy, presented this year by Fell-Running legend Tommy Sedgwick, was won by a veteran runner, Gordon Eland, a stalwart of the track running circuit and someone who is bringing on the next generation of runners in his area. Also nominated in the Senior category was wrestler, Graham Brocklebank, who weighs in at 13 stones but is well capable of winning against heavier opposition.

In the Junior sections, wrestling had four nominees. Connie Hodgson has moved on from being the little limpet, impossible to shake off, to a strong and confident wrestler able to attack positively. She had a wonderful day at Grasmere where she won two girls' events and came second in the Open Ladies category. Stuart Mason is a worthy product of the Milnthorpe Academy . Always a clever wrestler, this year he has bigger shoulders to hold his own against bigger competitors. William Atkinson has had a fine year, unbeatable in the Under 15 wrestling at eight of the LSPA events. Thomas Gibson, at Under 12 set his stall out to attend as many LSPA events as possible, and he amassed victories at ten events. The quantity and quality of his result brought him a share of the Junior Sports Personality Trophy. His co-winner was James McGlincy, an Under 17 track-runner.

In the morning, the McGlincy family had left sunny Grassington in West Yorkshire to attend. Returning home was more difficult. They found their home route entirely blocked and spent the night in Skipton.

And who did eat all the Milnthorpe pies? The family of John Wilson the Kendal Academy coach easily browsed through half of them, and the others were frozen for the Academy Shield on a new date.

If you want a ticket for the Carlisle Wrestling Club Fortieth Anniversary Celebration on Saturday 11th December (7pm at Currock Community Centre) please let me know today (Tel 016974 73559) or you may not be fed.

Written by © Roger Robson. Photographs by © Roger Robson, Julian Richardson or Linda Scott (December 2nd 2010)

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