The 2012/13 Diary begins to fill up


Friday, Dec. 7th - 6.30 to 8.30pm "Tek Hod" at Tullie House Museum, Carlisle, including competitions at U13 / U16 / 6st / 9st / 11½st / 13½st / AW.
Sunday, Dec. 16th - 7.30pm at Currock House, CarlisleWrestling Club Slideshow of the 2012 Wrestling Season

Winter for Cumberland and Westmorland wrestlers used to mean virtual hibernation. As a young lad in Northumberland in 1960 I was in the wrong place at the wrong time for much wrestling action in the Winter months. Except for an occasional match with the wrestlers from the academies at Rochester and Thropton, a weekly trip from my Alnwick home to the Wooler Academy was all the wrestling excitement to be had from October till June.

These days the Winter calendar is much fuller. As well as the club internal points competitions, we have had two presentation meals. This evening the wrestlers are gathering for a celebratory night of action at Tullie House Museum, Carlisle, to launch David Ellison's photographic exhibition "Tek Hod: The Faces and Fields of Cumberland and Westmorland Wrestling".

On Sunday 16th December the scattergun school of photography (Linda Scott, Julian Richardson, Jill Robson and me) hold our annual slideshow at Currock House to launch the CD of images of the 2012 Wrestling Season sold in support of the Wrestling association. In March various academies have Open Nights to end the indoor training with a flourish.

And, we have warm invitations to two international events: the Breton Backhold Championships in Quimper on February 23rd; and the FILC European Championships in Reykjavík, Iceland on Apríl 24th to 28th.

The Breton adventure is a well-established part of the Winter Season now with regular participation by young wrestlers of all our five academies. Usually, a few cars will venture over the English Channel, but we have even had full coach loads on occasion. For the last five years the Breton Wrestling Club at Guipavas on the outskirts of Brest have been the excellent hosts for the event, but this year the franchise moves further south to the old cathedral city of Quimper. The regular contact is enhanced by Bretons who come over to our wrestling events for a week round Grasmere Sports. We know and are known by so many Bretons that my wife has a year's supply of kissing, Breton style, in one day when she attends the championship.

The organisation of the Breton trip is comparatively simple as there is a place for anyone who wishes to go. The trip to Iceland is a trickier beast. Distance is a problem for there is no quick hop over the Channel, but a long air flight with attendant costs. In Brittany, wrestlers are there as individuals, but in Iceland there will be a team selected to represent the Wrestling Association and that means the problems of selection. In Brittany the wrestling is our own back-hold style throughout; in Iceland the main championships include Gouren, the Breton style. And, in addition the wrestlers will be expected to have a go at Glima, the Icelandic style. Difficult, yes, but if I were fifty years younger, I would be up for the challenge and the adventure.

Iceland was one of the original members of the International Federation and competed in the first Championships in 1986. They hosted the Championships in 1990 and we took a big batch of wrestlers to Reykjavík to compete in two events, the Senior Championships and a junior event for the Icelandair Trophy. By 1995 the Icelanders became only loosely attached to FILC, but instead, a much closer connection grew between them and us. They regularly came to Grasmere and we took a youth team to Iceland as part of their Althing, a national gathering involving sport and culture, held every two years.

This year Ólafur Sigurðsson wrestled and was injured at Grasmere, and Peter Eythorsson flew in for the following week-end and won the 14 stones at Wolsingham. The connection is long-lasting, so it behoves us to reciprocate with a competitive team in Reykjavík in April.

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

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