The wrestling at Great Eccleston Show, near Blackpool, had its own Big Dipper ride of highs and dizzying lows: the Cumberland and Westmorland wrestling.
The original infrastructure for the event was as high as it could be with David Parsons in charge: good prize-money and potentially more; a fine silver trophy for the Best Wrestler; a slot in the Main Ring right in front of the Grandstand ; Nora Hayhurst with pen, paper and tickets, supported by Gillian Gibson, CWWA Secretary, to organise the table with practised efficiency; and experienced judges at hand.
But, where were the wrestlers; only two had been seen. Was all the preparation going to fizzle into nothing?
Then, the miracle happened: a microphone request for entries brought crowds of children of all sizes and both genders, plus parents, into the middle of the ring. The area round the table became a scrum of activity: a cross between a queue and a wrestling academy as the referee, David Parsons, Max Carlisle's daughter, Diane, and I, coached the basics of the sport while the table struggled to deal with the mass entry of unknown names.
Then, Peter Hayhurst was furnished with a microphone and the action started, once the referee had been able to sort out the grip, heads and stance of each pair of combatants in the Under 9 Years category. The crowded Grandstand nearby was oohing, aahing, laughing and applauding in the right places. All was going so well, and the first final was about to take place.
But, then, into the ring came a battalion of motor-cycles, the Imps, impatient to get started with their demonstration. Nothing could stand up to the revved engines and potential safety issues, so the wrestling had to up-sticks and carry the table and chairs through the ringside crowds to an impromptu wrestling ring in the space in front of the JCB Stand, and start all over again.
With the onlookers sitting on JCB buckets and grabs the action started again, though without the help of a loudspeaker. Ironically, Peter Hayhurst had to shout against the noise of the Main Ring microphone which he had just had to relinquish.
So, what about the actual wrestling? Natural talent shone through: Sophie Foster, with a low centre of gravity and great resilience, punched well above her weight; James Phoenix did well to fell John Gibson, a real wrestler from Carlisle, but much lighter; Holly Clark was athletic and wrestled well but was unable to finish off many of the bouts with killer instinct.
And of course, the two trained wrestlers John Gibson and Tom Hayhurst, were in a class of their own, though pushed hard by strong and fit local lads. When the time came to present the big silver cup, The Bill Threlfall Memorial Trophy, for the best wrestler, there was no doubt about the recipient: Tom Hayhurst, who has been wrestling so well and so frequently this season.
|Under 9 Years||S Foster||H Clark||C Evans|
|Under 12 Years||A Gaynor-Smith||W Wallbank||J Jackson|
|Under 15 Years||J Phoenix||J Gibson||J Gaynor-Smith|
|Under 18 Years||T Hayhurst||J Phoenix||L Walker|
|Ladies||H Clark||D Carlisle||S Foster|
|13 Stone||T Hayhurst||J Gibson||J Phoenix|
|All Weights||T Hayhurst||J Phoenix||J Gibson|
|Best Performance||Tom Hayhurst|