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Friday, 11 July 2014

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Richard Fox fights back to win 14st championship

When the going gets tough… Richard Fox gets going. The 14st Championship will rarely have had a smaller entry since Ted Dunglinson won the new event in 1951, but it will also rarely have seen a better final.

Richard Fox photo
Richard Fox

In the soggy ring at Powburn, Frazer Hirsch, of Dundee, always a powerful and skilled competitor, seized Fox by the ears and full-buttocked him high and handsome for the first fall.

With the winning post so near, Hirsch put all he had into gaining a good hold in the second bout and going for the hipe. Three and four times it looked as if Hirsch would pivot Fox on the inside-hipe, but always Fox stuck out his long leg and every inch of toe to touch the ground first and prevent the completion of the throw.

Eventually, Fox landed better, caught Hirsch off balance and scrambled a twisting win at the edge of the ring.

The decider was another intense bout, but Fox kept away from the Hirsch hold and won the day with a back-heel to put his man backwards and a twist over the knee to finish him.

The All Weights event was one of the strangest of the season so far. The new All Weights champion, Andrew Ord, met the even newer 14st Champion, Richard Fox in the first round and brushed him aside with two flicking outside-hipes. Another Ord win looked inevitable until he met Jack Ewart of Westward in the semi-final. Ord seemed to be bossing the bout and throwing his man, but twice his knees dropped to the ground before Ewart’s long body landed.

The Rothbury coaches have pointed out that Ord, brilliant wrestler though he is, cannot do a forward roll on the mats. If you watch the likes of John Harrington and Graham Brocklebank completing a hipe, they will follow their man down and roll over the top of him so that there is no resistance possible. Perhaps that was what allowed Jack Ewart to twist enough to gain the falls.

Ewart still had John Harrington to beat in the final, and that was what he did with a left leg inside-hipe which caught Harrington as he stepped in. The final fall was a classic counter chip. Harrington tried to nullify Ewart’s long legs by attacking with the inside-click, a chip which he uses sparingly but usually effectively. On this occasion, Ewart fell back, but in doing so, with years of Tom Harrington’s coaching prompting the right response, he twisted the right way and brought his man under for a most satisfying conclusion.

John Harrington won twice at 11½ stones, at Powburn and Gilsland. Richard Fox went one better by winning an extra two events at Gilsland. James Hayhurst again won two Under 15 events and took good falls amongst the men. Scott Brocklebank, leaner and taller, won the Under 18s at Kirkby Lonsdale after a long absence from the ring.

But, one of the best performances of the week came from a seven-year-old. Gus Singer won the plaudits for his style and panache as he won the Under 10s at both Powburn and Gilsland.

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