Academy Shield night at Currock House, Carlisle


Saturday, 26th November 7pm weighing-in The Academy Shield, Currock House, Carlisle.

Saturday, Sept 26th Academy Shield at Currock House Open competitions after the main event:
Males : U11 / U14 / 10½st / 13st / AW.
Females : 8st / 10st / AW

The past weeks have been quiet with little happening for Cumberland and Westmorland Wrestling, but this weekend three buses are arriving at the wrestling bus-stop. Tomorrow is the Academy Shield at Carlisle, and on Sunday we have the Lakeland Sports Personality awards at the LSPA luncheon, while simultaneously the Scots are holding their Open Indoor Backhold Wrestling Championships.

The Academy Shield is the biggest event of the indoor season for our wrestlers. Its roots lie in the period after the Second World War when wrestling was at its most popular. Academies proliferated and the Academy League was formed to organise matches, home and away, throughout the winter. Those who wrestled at that time look back on the most intense period of inter-club rivalry with fond memories, but the intensity also spawned gamesmanship and worse. Teams became unreliable and too many people wanted to ride on the bus without paying the fare.

In 1959, the Academy League foundered and the Shield disappeared for twenty-five years, and only Kendal Academy kept going through the sixties. In 1983 the CWWA secretary, like a conjurer, produced the Shield and a new style competition was begun. I drew up the rules for the Governing Board of the time and aimed to give as many wrestlers as possible a chance to represent their Academy. Youngsters got their chance for the first time, for a team consists of thirteen wrestlers ranging from 6st to 15st and All Weights, and two female classes, too.

The new regime sought to eliminate the situation where a wrestler was not taking part because a better wrestler was competing several times. The biggest change was that each weight was wrestled in a round-robin and the scores accumulated round by round. Some of the old wrestlers did not like the new regime but it has now lasted nearly thirty years as opposed to the dozen years of the first competition.

The Academy Shield is in the hands of Kendal Academy at the moment for they were the winners when Milnthorpe Academy hosted the postponed 2010 event this year. They have a rich seam of talent at the moment, especially in the men's weights, and will be strong contenders.

Their near neighbour, Milnthorpe Academy has been strengthened this year both numerically and on the coaching side by the regular attendance of a car-load of youngsters from the Preston area with Joe Threlfall driving. Club leader David Parsons, has appreciated Threlfall's input for he is a vastly experienced and successful wrestler and a trained teacher, too.

Waberthwaite will be there with almost a full team, but they do have problems in the 12st and 13st area. For the Northumbrian Academy at Rothbury, the main problem is a lack of females and the gap between their thriving youngsters in the lightweights and the class of Jack Hale and Andrew Ord at the top end.

Meanwhile, the host club, Carlisle, has a much stronger team this year, and high hopes of resuming their dominance of the competition which has seen them win the Shield twenty-three times as opposed to Waberthwaite winning it twice and Kendal three times.

The weigh-in starts at 7pm in the main hall at Currock Community Centre, and all wrestling fans are invited to watch what should be a closely fought competition.

On Sunday another big event takes place in the Molendinar Community Centre 1210 Royston Road, Glasgow G33 1HE. The Scottish indoor Championships has thirty-nine categories divided between three age-groups, under 14, under 21 and seniors, and with half those categories for female wrestlers.

A more sedate event on Sunday is the Presentation Luncheon of the Lakeland Sports Promoters Association at the Heaves Hotel near Kendal. As usual several wrestlers have been nominated for the Lakeland Sports Personality of the year, but the envelopes are still sealed. All will be revealed next week.

Written by © Roger Robson. Any Photographs by © Roger Robson, Julian Richardson or Linda Scott (November 24th 2011)


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