The Academy Shield



The Academy Shield Match at Rothbury brought together four wrestling academies to do battle for the trophy which was originally the coveted prize for the winner of the CWWA Academy League in the years immediately after the Second World War. That enormous enthusiasm fizzled out in less than 15 years and the silver shield went missing, or rather Billy Edgar, the Association Hon Secretary, kept it in his attic. In the quieter but longer sustained rebuilding of the academies in the seventies, the shield reappeared and was the prize for a very different form of competition.

Instead of it being a clash of the best men in the various academies at three weights, the new competition spread the action throughout the total membership of the club with tiny wrestlers under 6 stones being as valuable to the team as the adult champions. A full team numbered 13 wrestlers in categories from 6st to 15st and All Weights, and with two sections for females. Any gap in the team meant lost points in the round-robin system, and this had its effect this year.

Carlisle Wrestling Club came out clear winners in the end, but their success was in doubt for much of the action. After nine categories had been wrestled the margin was only two points between them and Milnthorpe. Unable to field a female wrestler, and someone at 15 stones, Milnthorpe's hopes faded, as Carlisle kept picking up good points.

For Carlisle Alfie Storey (6st), David Miller (11st), Jack Brown (12st), and John Harrington (14st) took all three falls in their categories. For Milnthorpe, James Sweetnam (7st), Josh Threlfall (8st) Jake Winter (10st), Stuart Mason (13st) and Joe Threlfall (AW) achieved the same feat; and for Rothbury, Beth Lamont in the females and Jack Hale at 15st were unbeaten. The trophy for the best performance awarded by the four main academy coaches went to Stuart Mason of Milnthorpe.

On the following day the Lakeland Sports Awards of the Lakeland Sports Promoters Association were presented at a luncheon at Heaves Hotel, Levens, and many of the protagonists from the previous night's Academy Shield were in attendance. The main award, the Lakeland Sports Personality of the year, was judged to be too close to call, and two wrestlers, John Harrington and Graham Brocklebank, shared the honour. The Junior Trophy went to another Brocklebank, Ben, who had won seven events and been placed many times in the LSPA events. Other nominees for these prestigious awards were Harold Wilson (Under 12), Archie Singer (Under 15) and Jack Brown (Under 18). Connie Hodgson picked up yet another nomination for her pre-eminence in the female wrestling.

An intriguing indoor event is scheduled to take place at Tullie House Museum on Friday, 7th December. To mark the opening of an exhibition of wrestling photographs by David Ellison, the museum is laying down the wrestling mats and hosting a wrestling event which will involve wrestling demonstrations and competitions. The exhibition is called 'Tek Hod, the Faces and Fields of Cumberland and Westmorland Wrestling', and will run until 10th March 2013.

As a result of this event the planned slide-show of the 2012 wrestling season at Currock House has been put back one week to Sunday December 16th.

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


First Second equal Third Fourth
Carlisle 26 points Milnthorpe and Rothbury 20pts N/A Kendal 12pts

OPEN Competitions

Event First Second Third
Under 8 Years W Aycliffe R Hodgson M Bates
Under 10 Years T Davidson G Singer T Hodgson
Under 12 Years H Bertram T Hayhurst M Wharton
12½ Stones B Brocklebank J Wragg K Miller
All Weights J Hale J Harrington J Ewart

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