A weekend of Social occasions


Sunday May 4th - 1.00pm Hethersgill Vintage Rally U12 / U15 / U18 / Ladies Open / 12st Championship / AW.

Wrestling provided my social life last week-end: Friday, a referees meeting; Saturday, Kendal Academy's Open Night; and Sunday was Cyril and Doreen Bragg's diamond wedding celebration. Three very different events, but each demonstrating important threads of the wrestling pattern.

The referees' meeting hidden away in a back room at Carlisle Rugby Club was all that it should be with a comprehensive review of the rules that control referees and judges in our sport. The mood was affable, at times impassioned. Minutiae were scrutinised and important issues raised. But looking back at it, the thought that leaps out at me is the commitment of so many people, for it was a well attended meeting, who had travelled from Northumberland and Kendal and West Cumbria to take part. The cost of the meeting was limited to the hire charge for the room, as not a whiff of travelling expenses or any other compensation was in the air. Cumberland and Westmorland Wrestling depends on goodwill, time and commitment; a professional sport run in the best amateur spirit.

At Kendal Academy Open Night, the real focus of our wrestling was on display: the wrestlers. The categories began at under 5 stones and finished with two Williams contesting the final of the All Weights. William Atkinson made his way to the final by felling James Hayhurst with a right-leg outside-stroke, a bout where they visited the bar before being stopped, and then another outside stroke to reach the final with William Hayhurst. Earlier William Atkinson had won the Under 18s with one of the falls of the night, when he twisted James Hayhurst, reached a point of balance and then finished emphatically with a cross.

Two Hayhurst brothers in action at Kendal open Night

Not only was there a good night of sport, but the dynastic nature of the sport was there to be seen. There were plenty of good lads new to wrestling, but there was also young Nathan Bland, great-grandson of Gilpin Bland winning the five stones. The Hayhurst family were main movers in the opening of Kendal Academy in the 1950s and years later Peter was on the mike and his grandsons starring on the mat. And then there were the Wilsons and the Hodgsons.

More than fifty years ago, a long way from my Northumbrian home, I was bamboozled and felled in a muddy field at Aikton by Cyril Bragg, the only time we ever met in the ring. Last Sunday, along with many wrestling friends, we were part of Cyril and Doreen's Diamond wedding celebrations. As a triple champion he was a lightweight force to be reckoned with all those years ago, and after he stopped wrestling he gave decades in service as judge, Board Member, and President of the Association.

Doreen took on a more reserved role at the table at the edge of the ring, making sure that events ran smoothly and fairly. The wrestling community sustains an element of the traditional heritage of the area, an ephemeral human element to add to the enduring beauty of Lakeland.

Occasionally, the rest of the world is privileged to glimpse our world, and tonight a television programme on ITV at 8pm follows actor Warwick Davis and his family take part in the wrestling at Torver amidst the Coniston Fells.

Warwick Davis talks wrestling to Alf Harrington and me The line-up at Torver with Warwick Davis and his wife judging the costume competition


Kendal Academy Open Night
Event First Second Third
5 Stone N Bland T Jamieson M Stainton
7 Stone Harker K Harrison J Guy
9 Stone T Hayhurst T Hodgson K Harrison
Girls 10 Stone O Wilson R Hodgson.  
Ladies Open H Hodgson O Wilson R Hodgson
Under 13 Years H Wilson J Harker K Harrison
Under 15 Years G Wilson T Hayhurst J Wilson
Under 18 Years W Atkinson J Hayhurst G Wilson
11 Stone S Wilson J Wilson A Miles
13 Stone J Hayhurst A Miles S Wilson
All Weights W Atkinson W Hayhurst M Atkinson


Written by © Roger Robson ..... Photographs by © Roger Robson, Julian Richardson or Linda Scott (2014)

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