The Year Ahead


Wednesday 14th March - Final Junior Points Night Carlisle Wrestling Club.
Wednesday 21st March - Final Senior Points Night, Carlisle Wrestling Club
Saturday 24th March - Waberthwaite Open Night.

March is a month for tidying up the indoor wrestling season and looking ahead to competition for six months in sixty grass rings throughout the Northern Counties and the Borders of Scotland. But for a few weeks the focus is very much on the Academies and their wrestling mats.

Carlisle Wrestling Club concludes its Points Night competitions in the next two weeks, and they are particularly strong at the younger and smaller end of the spectrum. Attendances have been boosted in recent weeks by the attendance of Young Farmers who are preparing for the North Cumbria Field Day. Although there are many trained wrestlers in the YFC, there is also a significant number of "volunteers" who have never seen a wrestling ring before or whose experience is entirely limited to previous Field Days. In the interests of safety the organisers insist that all wrestlers have attended a wrestling training session at one of our academies.

This week wrestlers from Egremont, Lamplugh, and Longtown were on the mats at Carlisle under the watchful eyes of Alan Jones and Andrew Carlile, while Tom Harrington kept the regular crowd of youngsters fully active on another corner of the mats.

Two academies are planning Open Nights to finish indoors with a flourish. Waberthwaite has a long established tradition of pies and peas and good wrestling, and once more on Saturday, 24th March this wholesome fare is on offer. As usual there is a plethora of categories by age, weight and sex, not dissimilar to the range of opportunities on offer in Brittany in February.

A week later, Kendal is abandoning its modern Sports Centre base and putting on a similar Open Night in Grayrigg Village Hall with food, drink, chat, and wrestling action.

Milnthorpe Academy is not holding a Finals Night this year, but coach David Parsons is confident that "our lads will shine" at the other academy events. Always a small club, Milnthorpe has had more wrestlers this year, and help on the coaching side from Joe Threlfall, who travels up from Preston with three of his lads.

All the Cumbrian academies can be expected to join in these events, but away on the other side of the wrestling world, Rothbury Academy ploughs its lone furrow. Darren Whitfield and Jason Davidson have plenty of young wrestlers at the beginning of each training session, but have lost a lot of their older wrestlers to the distractions of education and world travel. They have in the past travelled to compete on the Waberthwaite mats, but according to my satnav they are 120 miles and three hours away.

But isn't it good that the our traditional wrestling is taught throughout our region.

Written by © Roger Robson. Photographs by © Roger Robson, Julian Richardson or Linda Scott (2012)

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