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Saturday, 19 April 2014

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Bad weather fails to dampen wrestling

“Young Farmers, the Cumberland and Westmorland Wrestling is about to start in the field next to the obstacle course,” so I headed into the wind to find a mown ring in an expanse of lush green.

af mica graham
Flat out: Mica Graham leaves Lyn Murray prostrate in the women’s over 10 stones competition in the Young Farmers’ northern field day

A sprinkling of high-speed rain hit my face so I moved the car nearby for a refuge. By the time the paperwork was done and various wrestlers winkled out from cookery demonstrations and dialect competitions, it was time for the waterproof leggings.

The first section, the 9½ stones, was lit up by two regular wrestlers, Paul Murray, of Greysouthern YFC, and David Miller, of Wigton, who took on lads much bigger and taller than themselves, and bamboozled them with science, while their coach at Carlisle Wrestling Club, Alan Jones, looked damply on.

Murray made life easy for the judges by executing a gymnastic handstand over his fallen victims.

The rain grew heavier.

Inevitably, Richard Dixon, of Wigton, and John Harrington, of Caldbeck, reached the final of the 11½ stones. It seems unfair on the others to have two world champion, international wrestlers in the lists. There was plenty of power and endeavour from the novice wrestlers, but the two experts picked them off with hipes and other sneaky moves. Dixon then won a hard-fought final.

The wind revved up a few more notches, and John Harrington hastily retrieved his woolly hat.

In the heavyweights, the same pattern emerged with champion wrestler Richard Fox, of Longtown, in fine fettle, swinging and buttocking and back-heeling his opponents in the lashing rain.

Then the weather deteriorated. Wrestlers became parcels of hoodies and woolly hats and shepherd’s leggings.

Helen Housby, of Wigton, used to tag along to Carlisle Wrestling Club with her brother and cousin, but that was years ago, and she is now double the height she was then. I remember her amazing gymnastic contortions when she wrestled and the way she could swing round the bars set in the ceiling of the Currock House Gym.

From those days she remembered one devastating move, the hank, and she cut a swathe through the opposition to first place in the girls’ 10 stones.

Then the sun came out. The women over 10 stones set the weather at nought with bare arms, legs and mid-riffs, and some startlingly good wrestling from Mica Graham, of Carlisle. She won the event last year and took up where she left off. Some women wrestlers have reservations about flinging an opponent to the ground, but not Mica. With high-speed reactions, superb balance and a natural twist she was the inevitable winner, though Lyn Murray did manage a fall against her in the final.

RESULTS

Cumbrian Young Farmers’ Northern Field Day

9½st: 1, P Murray (Greysouthern); 2, D Miller (Wigton); 3, C Pears Caldbeck.

11½st: 1, R Dixon (Wigton); 2, John Harrington (Caldbeck); 3, C Ackerley (Kirklinton).

Over 11½st: 1, R Fox (Longtown); 2, M Laurie (Kirklinton); 3, I Clemetson (Aspatria.

Girls 10st: 1, H Housby (Wigton); 2, V Lawson (Kirklinton); 3, F Reed (Brampton).

Girls Over 10st: 1, M Graham (Carlisle); 2, L Murray (Greysouthern); 3, M Housby (Wigton).

Dates

May 16, 2pm - Sedbergh Gala U12/U15/U18/12½/AW

May 25, 1.30pm - Northumberland Show, Corbridge U14/U18/11½/13½/AW. May 28, 6pm - Killington Sports

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