Wrestlers were well represented in the nominations for the Lakeland Sports Promoters Association Sports Personality Awards at a presentation lunch at Kendal Golf Course, but the main accolade went to a remarkable fell-runner who is closing in on Billy Teasdale's record number of wins for the Grasmere Sports Guide Race. Bill, who lives in Caldbeck, won the event eleven times; the last time at the age of forty-one. This year Rob Jebb won Grasmere for the ninth time and he is still in his late thirties.
Realistically, Rob Jebb's horizons go far beyond this region for his sport, with multiple wins in the races at Ben Nevis, the Yorkshire Three Peaks, and in 2005 he won the Sky Running World Championship, which is a Europe wide event of ultra high altitude, courses. He has a second sport, too, Cyclo-cross, in which he has represented Britain in two World Championships, and ten times has won the Three Peaks Cyclo-cross race.
Despite all these distractions, he still values and participates in our regional events, having moved from Yorkshire to Stavely to be nearer the high fells.
Two wrestlers were the other nominees for the trophy. Connie Hodgson, looked leaner and meaner this year, though always felling her opponents with a cheerful smile. Her prowess is such that she won every event in which she competed this year, and at Grasmere she had a particularly good pay-day when she won at Under 18 Years and then the Women's open event.
The other nominee, Graham Brocklebank, was the pre-eminent wrestler at the LSPA eventswhich tend to focus in the south and west of Cumbria. He had big wins at the three major events, Ambleside, Grasmere and the Westmorland Show, but he also won regularly at the smaller Sports meetings.
The Junior Lakeland Sports Personality was another wrestler who won all the events he entered in 2013, but in his case, he had a tough year where his chief opponent was injury. James Hayhurst, was first completely felled by a broken leg a year ago, playing Rugby, so missed his usual training on the mats last winter. Then in August, as his form was lifting, he injured his ribs and competed only in his age category afterwards, for the rest of the season to diminish risk of further injury. Nevertheless, he still won widely and at the big events.
Two brothers made up the rest of the nominees. Harold Wilson was a clear winner of the Under 12 Years category, and George Wilson with greater difficulty won the Under 15s. In that section Joe Lashley had made the running in the early third of the season and Thomas Gibson at the end, but George Wilson dominated, mid-season and also won the major event at the Westmorland Show.
Another post-season get-together takes place this coming Sunday, when a slide show of the 2013 season will be held at Currock House Community Centre in Carlisle at 7.30. There are images of fifty events through the year ranging from Hethersgill Vintage Rally in early May until Alwinton and Wasdale head in October. Mostly the sun is shining, but there is a poignant image of a soggy Gosforth Show, with two wrestlers in taut action watched by a row of a hundred upside-down and empty chairs, in the rain.
Our wrestling takes place in beautiful surroundings and that is frequently apparent in the images. "Real" photographers come with improbably long lenses and snipe photographs for a minute or two, but our photographs are mostly the distillation of much dross and judicious trimming, from the scattergun approach.
The exception is the work of Julian Richardson who paid rather more for his camera and even supplied sequence shots of significant bouts at Grasmere and Alwinton. All are welcome. CDs will be on sale and you can order individual photographs if an image pleases you. Any profit will go to the Wrestling Association.
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