INVITATION BY THE CORNISH WRESTLING ASSOCIATION

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In the early Seventies, twice, a group of Cumberland and Westmorland wrestlers travelled down to Cornwall to take part in the Cornish Wrestling Championships. Although the trips were much enjoyed, the connection lapsed, and our two traditions kept a distant watch on each other from opposite ends of England without much direct contact.

Four Years ago, I judged the Belted Galloway Cattle at the Royal Cornwall Show, and afterwards as I wandered down the line of stalls and exhibits, I came upon some fine old wrestling trophies, some keen exponents of the Cornish style and a hearty welcome.

This week I received an email from Peter Sheldon, the secretary of the Cornish Wrestling Association, enquiring “if it would be possible for some Cumberland and Westmorland wrestlers to join with Cornish wrestlers to put on displays of our traditional styles at the Royal Cornwall Show in Wadebridge which runs from 9-11 June. The CWA have been doing displays at the show each year for a number of years. Last year we invited some Breton wrestlers over which proved very popular so this year we thought that we would ask yourselves to join us to add an extra dimension to our display. A team of two or four wrestlers with someone to give a commentary would seem appropriate.

In a subsequent telephone conversation, Peter Sheldon brought me up-to-date with the situation in Cornish wrestling. We obviously have shared problems, particularly the low numbers of senior wrestlers, and the perennial problem of funding sports which are not part of the Olympic movement.

Although we are very much a minority and regional sport, and struggle to keep up numbers of participants, we are significantly better off than the Cornish. They have two clubs; we have five academies. They are fixed in a small County area; we cover four Northern Counties and the Borders of Scotland. They have nine events on their calendar: we have nearly sixty.

The biggest single factor is that in this area wrestling is always attached to a larger event such as Agricultural Shows, Hound trails and Sports meetings, and the host event finds the prize-money, usually through sponsorship. In Cornwall all their events are stand-alone wrestling events with all the financial and organisational pressure that brings.

Unfortunately, the dates probably clash with two events on our domestic programme: Lowgill Sheep-dog Trials and The Roman Wall Show, so our wrestlers are unlikely to participate, but if any one is interested, it should be possible to get the appropriate permissions, and a couple of wrestlers could have a Cornish holiday with a difference. Contact me on 016974 73559.

Date:

Saturday, 5th March 7.30 pm The Academy Shield, hosted by Milnthorpe Academy.

The venue is Leasgill Atheneum, a village hall, two miles North of Milnthorpe in the Kendal area. (Post-code LA7 7ET, for those of you with sat-nav)

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

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