Cumberland and Westmorland Wrestling Association Trophy Night


Wednesday 19th November Carlisle Wrestling Club Men's Points Night.

Wrestlers and supporters from all corners of Cumbria and Northumberland converged on Low Hesket Village Hall for a feast and the craic, but mainly to honour the best performances from the 2014 Cumberland and Westmorland Wrestling Season. Points are awarded for the first three places in every affiliated competition from May to October and then totalled to reveal the most prolific winners in seven different categories. Skill and persistence win the day.

The winners at the Wrestling association Presentation Dinner  (l to r) Richard Fox (Heavyweights), Gemma Coulthard (Under 12s), Jack Brown (Lightweights, Middleweights and Wrestlers’ Wrestler trophy), Abi Marston (Ladies), George Wilson (Under 15s and Under 18s)


The youngest category, the Under 12 Years, created a problem for Alf Harrington, the CWWA Secretary, for instead of engraving the trophy "VictorGemma Coulthard with her spoils from the Westmorland Show2014Ludorum", the winner of the games, he had to polish his Latin and change it to "Victrix", for the winner for the first time was a girl: Gemma Coulthard, a farmer's daughter from Rosley. Initially in 2011 she sat on the sidelines at Carlisle Wrestling Club too shy to put a toe on the mat until Tom Harrington gently got her involved. At the Northumberland Show 2012 she was in a funk about competing in the ring until her mother extravagantly bribed her. Two years later she is a confident young girl who enjoyed more and more success as the season progressed.

Initially, Mark Wharton was winning everywhere, but hit his twelfth birthday just after a successful day at Ambleside sports. Then Ryan Armstrong proved a strong rival in August, but his challenge faded and Gemma amassed 49 points and nine wins, including Grasmere and the Westmorland Show.

George Wilson of Kendal Academy is a tall, strong young man, yet still able to compete in the Boys Under 15 Years. His complete dominance of the boys' wrestling was such that he also won the Boys Under 18 Years Trophy. In the younger category he won the Under 15 Championship at Penrith Show from a huge entry. In all he gained twenty wins at under 15 years.

There were wrestlers to fell him in the Under 18s, for James Hayhurst was capable of winning whenever he turned out; Sam Wilson, George's cousin, troubled him at first, but a more determined attitude kicked in half-way through the season and George eased ahead. Another potential rival, Thomas Gibson, broke his leg in the school yard and missed the mid-season wrestling. Joe Hale dominated in Northumberland. Despite all this George accumulated 16 wins with his hiping and new found confidence.

The Ladies' trophy seemed wide open this year. Previous winner, Connie Hodgson, was missing for much of the season when she went to the USA to coach sport at a Summer Camp, but on her return she won ten events straight off. Donna Thompson was capable of winning whenever she wrestled. The tall Freya Waddington was dominant in Northumberland. Anna Coulthard at last took to the ring and had immediate success. But the clear winner of the trophy was a much slighter and younger wrestler, Abi Marston, who travelled furthest, and also took good falls from bigger opposition. When the Bretons were here she worked out how to fell them. She had success against Freya Waddington. She won the 10 stones at Grasmere. With 79 points she was the clearest winner of them all.

At the dinner, active wrestlers vote for a prestigious award, the Wrestlers' Wrestler, and this went to Jack Brown of Haydon Bridge. It was no wonder really, for he was the winner of both the Lightweights and the Middleweights Victor Ludorum Trophies, and came second in the Heavyweights. Standing at well over six feet and weighing a sinewy 11 stones, he is fit to fell anyone. Add to that many years of training and a huge mileage following the sport and you have a worthy winner. His job as the stereo-typical strong man, the blacksmith, puts a few more rivets in his armour.

His main rival was Andrew Carlile, the 10½st and 12st Champion who pushed him hard in both categories. John Harrington went out of the reckoning when he broke his leg at Allendale, and the likes of Graham Brocklebank and Richard Fox were restricted by their weight to competing only in the 13 stones.

Richard Fox, though, still came away with a trophy for he headed the heavyweights. In a year of glorious success he won the Guinness trophies for the best performance in all the wrestling at the Cumberland Show, Grasmere, Keswick and Egremont Crab Fair; and the 13st Championship at the Westmorland Show. For the Heavyweights Trophy he scored 59 points

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


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