The Breton Backhold Championships in Quimper, France



A coach-load of wrestlers and supporters made the long journey from Rothbury and Carlisle to the Breton city of Quimper on the West coast of France for a festival of wrestling, the Breton Backhold Championships. Wrestlers from Scotland, Poland and Sardinia also took part, but the mass of entrants came from the Gouren clubs scattered round Brittany.

In a large Sports Hall four wrestling mats were simultaneously occupied by bouts for several hours to reach a conclusion. The first half of the day was given over to youngsters wrestling and we supplied four of the champions: Lucy Singer (Girls 68kg+), Thomas Wales (56kg), Joe Hale (62kg) and Thomas Gibson (68kg+).

Thomas Wales who does most of his wrestling at the agricultural shows in the Carlisle region has been sticking in well at Carlisle Wrestling Club this Winter and the improvement to his performance is obvious to see. He lost a close bout early on in the competition, but he did well enough in the pool stage to reach the finals. In the actual final he had a torrid time early on and after four bouts he was two-one behind, and teetering towards defeat. In the end, in the sixth bout, he rushed his man forward to win.
Thomas Gibson in the heaviest of the boys categories made short shrift of his opponent, for the lad fell badly after the first bout of the final and was unable to continue. Lucy Singer, in the equivalent category for girls, was head and shoulders below the opposition, including her compatriot, Freya Waddington in the final, but bustled her way to a fine win. Joe Hale was the best of them all technically and was a credit to his coaches, Darren Whitfield and Jason Davidson.

In the Senior events Andrew Sandercock was part of an international melange on the winners' podium in thw 90kg category. Ahead of him were Frazer Hirsh and the winner, the Breton Irwin Villette. The final category to be decided was the 90kg+, the Heavyweights, and that proved to be a long hard battle between the Scot, Ryan Dolan, and the Northumbrian, Andrew Ord. Dolan took the first with a late twist; Ord equalised by back-heeling the hiper; Dolan then hiped the hiper; Ord equalised with another back-heel; and finally, Andrew Ord resorted to the lock-hipe and cleanly felled his man to win the Breton title.
At that point Ord rested on his laurels, but Ryan Dolan entered for the Open Weight competition which concluded the action, and won the final against Irwin Villette in straight falls with back-heels and a hipe.

All that was left then was to enjoy the liberal hospitality of the Quimper club in the evening and then travel back the many miles by road and ferry to arrive back in the North of England in the "wee sma' oors"; for me 4am at Southwaite Services.

Darren Whitfield, the Rothbury organiser, needs a big thanks from all concerned.

Written by © Roger Robson ..... Photographs by © Roger Robson, Julian Richardson or Linda Scott (2014)
(French speakers can visit the Breton Site for ALL RESULTS and more DETAILS)

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