Medal Success for England Tug of War at 2022 World Championships
On 17 and 18 September, the England tug of war squad were fighting it out for world titles at the World Outdoor Tug of War Championships held in Holten, Netherlands.
It was a busy couple of days with England being represented in every weight category across the mens, ladies, junior and under 23 weight classes.
The mens 680kg competition was run as a straight league with the top four teams going through to the semi-finals with England being represented by Felton Eccles. There was some strong competition in this weight class, but England battled through and qualified for the top four on level points with Belgium, with Switzerland and Netherlands going through as the top two teams. In the semi-finals England faced the Netherlands and the other semi-final saw Switzerland face Belgium. In the semi final, England went down to a 2 ends to 0 defeat against the home nation, so went in to the bronze medal match with Belgium. This was a really hard fought match with the first end going to almost 8 minutes and the second end for almost 6 minutes, with England winning both of them to take a hard won bronze medal. The gold medal eventually went to the Netherlands with Switzerland finishing in the silver medal position.
Gold – Netherlands – Silver – Switzerland – Bronze – England (represented by Felton Eccles) – 4th - Belgium
Photo - England Men 680kg team represented by Felton Eccles
Junior Ladies 480kg
The junior ladies 480kg saw the England Junior Squad taking part. After missing out on a medal in the open competition earlier in the tournament, they were determined to get a medal wearing their England shirts and they put in a much improved performance. They competed in the semi finals after finishing third in the group and they faced South Africa who they drew 1-1 with in the group stage. This time around, South Africa raised their game and defeated England by 2 ends to 0, so England went into the bronze medal match against the Netherlands. England had already defeated Netherlands in the group and had high hopes for a repeat victory secure the bronze – and they did just that with a great 2 ends to 0 two win bronze, which was a fantastic achievement – well done to everyone involved!
Gold – South Africa – Silver – Scotland – Bronze – England – 4th - Netherlands
Photo: England Junior Ladies 480kg team
Junior Men 560kg
The junior men 560kg saw the England Junior Squad competing in a straight group competition with the top four teams going through to the semi finals. This was a really competitive weight class, and England were up against countries with top quality youth programmes. Unfortunately, England didn’t make the top 4, but didn’t disgrace themselves, finishing in 6th place in the group behind Switzerland, Netherlands, South Africa, Germany and Chinese Taipei. England finished ahead of France and Thailand with some good wins in those matches. Another great effort from our juniors.
Gold – South Africa – Silver – Chinese Taipei – Bronze – Netherlands – 4th – Switzerland
Photo - England Junior Men Team
Senior Mixed 580kg
The mixed 580kg was split into two groups of 7 and this was a long and hard fought competition. England were represented by a composite teams after the other clubs who qualified to represent England at this weight had selected other weight categories and were unable to represent at this weight class. The composite time had had limited time to prepare, but battled through well in a group containing Italy, USA, Switzerland, Chinese Taipei and South Africa. England finished up in 4th place in the group so missed out on the chance to go through to the semi finals. As there were two groups, England went into the 9 – 10th place match against Lithuania and had to go through a tough 3 end battle to secure 9th place.
Gold – Netherlands – Silver – Sweden – Bronze – Germany – 4th – Switzerland
Photo: England Mixed 580kg team
Under 23 Mixed 560kg
The under 23 mixed 560 saw the England Under 23 squad taking part in a straight group with the top 4 teams progressing to the semi finals. This was a really competitive weight class with none of the teams taking part going through the competition without dropping ends. England had a tough start against Sweden losing out by 2 ends to 0, then faced Switzerland and Chinese Taipei leaving England needing to win their remaining pulls to get through to the semi finals. England defeated Belgium by 2 ends to 0, but then had a setback against South Africa which meant that it was no longer possible to qualify for the semi finals. England finished with a 1-1 draw in their final match against the Basque Country to secure 5th place overall which was a good result.
Gold – Switzerland – Silver – Sweden – Bronze – Chinese Taipei – 4th – South Africa
Photo: England Under 23 Mixed 560kg team
The ladies 500kg was a straight group of 10 teams which was a very long competition. England were represented by Bedford Ladies and they started with a tough 1-1 draw with Switzerland. England progressed through the group well, only dropping ends to Chinese Taipei. England progressed to the semi finals along with Chinese Taipei, Switzerland and Germany. In the semi-finals, England were up against Switzerland, and in a close, hard fought match, went down to a 2 ends to 0 defeat. England then faced Germany for the bronze medal who England had already defeated in the group rounds. It was tough going this time around, and it was Germany who went out to win the bronze medal by 2 ends to 0.
Gold – Chinese Taipei – Silver – Switzerland – Bronze – Germany – 4th – England
Photo: England Ladies 500kg team represented by Bedford Ladies
The mens 560kg saw England being represented by England. This weight class was split into two leagues, and England were drawn against Italy, USA, Switzerland, Chinese Taipei and South Africa. There was lots of tough competition across the two groups, and in England’s case, they were up there with a chance of progressing to the semi-finals, but after defeats to Switzerland and Chinese Taipei, England finished third in the group to miss out on the chance of competing for a medal. England therefore went into the 5th place match against the Netherlands, which the Netherlands won by 2 ends to 0, so England finished in 6th place overall. The competition was eventually won by Switzerland with Basque Country winning the silver medal.
Gold - Switzerland - Silver - Basque Country - Bronze - Germany - 4th - Chinese Taipei
So that wrapped up the first day of international competition with England coming away with two world championship bronze medals.
The final day of competition saw the mens 720kg and 640kg, ladies 540kg, under 23 ladies 500kg, under 23 men 600kg and junior mixed 520kg competitions take place, and in contrast to the first day of competition took place in wet and rainy conditions
In the mens 720kg, England were represented by York, who were representing England at a world championships for the very first time. It was a valuable experience for the team and they more than held their own, defeating France and Israel and went 1-1 with eventual semi-finalists Lithuania. Unfortunately they were unable to accumulate points from the other contenders in the competition and they finished a respectable 7th place overall. The eventual winners of this weight class were the Netherlands.
Gold – Netherlands – Silver – Switzerland – Bronze – Belgium – 4th – Lithuania
Photo: England 720kg team represented by York
Under 23 Men 600kg
In the under 23 600kg competition, England were represented by a squad team of under 23 pullers around the country, all of who were in their first season of Association competition and most of who have a few more years in this age category. Unfortunately it was very tough going for the team in this competition which was a large group of 11 teams. It was a very competitive weight class, with England eventually finishing in 10th position. The eventual winners of this competition were Switzerland
Gold – Switzerland – Silver – Germany – Bronze – South Africa – 4th – Belgium
Photo: England Under 23 Men 600kg team
Under 23 Ladies 500kg
In the under 23 ladies competition, England were represented by a squad team of under 23 from around the country. As the team included some pullers from the military, there was some uncertainty prior to the tournament as to whether they would be able to attend following the death of the Queen, however thankfully they were able to attend and England were able to field a team in this event – and what a team it was! In the group stage, England finished third in the group to reach the semi-finals along with Chinese Taipei, Switzerland and South Africa. In the semi-final, England met Switzerland with Switzerland having won the group match by 2 ends to 0. England went into the semi-final with a great attitude and got Switzerland rolling from the drop on both ends to take a great 2 ends to 0 win and reach the final! In the final, England met the formidable team from Chinese Taipei who went on to win the gold medal by 2 ends to 0. Still, this was a great result for the team who made a little bit of history by becoming the first England under 23 ladies team to win a medal at a world championships in this age category. Congratulations to everyone involved in this wonderful achievement.
Gold – Chinese Taipei – Silver – England – Bronze – Switzerland – 4th – South Africa
Photo: England Under 23 Ladies celebrating their silver medal
Junior Mixed 520kg
The junior mixed competition saw England hoping to repeat their medal success from the open competition. This was a closely fought weight class and at the end of the group rounds, England were in joint 4th place with Scotland. The match between these two teams went 1-1 in the group stage and with both teams level on matches won and cautions, it came down to weight to determine which team went through. As the lighter team, it was Scotland that went through which meant that England missed out on a spot in the semi-finals. It is always disappointing to go out this way, but those are the TWIF rules and that is how it goes sometimes. Nevertheless it was a great weekend for our junior teams that culminated in two bronze medals in the open and closed competitions along with a number of creditable performances in the other weight classes across the open and closed events. We hope that all of the junior teams learned a lot from their experience and we hope that they enjoyed competing at the event as much as we enjoyed watching them.
Gold – Chinese Taipei – Silver – Switzerland – Bronze – South Africa – 4th - Scotland
Photo: England Junior Mixed 520kg team
The ladies 540kg saw Melton Mowbray Ladies representing England for the first time at a World Championships in a large group of 10 teams. Again, this was another keenly contested weight class and England were more than competitive beating a number of good teams on the way to an eventual 6th place finish – a great result at a first attempt of representing England.
Gold – Chinese Taipei – Silver – Netherlands – Bronze – Sweden – 4th – Switzerland
Photo: England Ladies 540kg team represented by Melton Mowbray Ladies
The mens 640kg wrapped up the competition and was another large group of 11 teams. England were represented in this weight class by Lincoln. There were certainly no easy matches for any of the teams in this competition. In the wet conditions, it was certainly a long competition, with many long ends with the competition eventually concluding as it was starting to go dark. As the group progressed, there were a number of ends dropped by a number of teams, but the top four nations pulled well clear of the other countries, with England, Switzerland, Belgium and the Netherlands eventually progressing. Switzerland progressed on maximum points, followed by Belgium, with England 1 point behind in third, and then the Netherlands. In the semi-final, England faced Belgium which ended up being a long war of attrition. Belgium took a long first end before England battled back to take the second end. For the third end, England made a substitution and we had another lengthy pull which was eventually declared a no-pull for inactivity. The rope was moved over to fresh ground and England attacked from the drop and soon got a good advantage over the Belgian team, eventually taking them over the line to reach a hard earned final. In the final, England met the Switzerland team, and despite their best endeavours, didn’t have enough to bring the Swiss over and it was Switzerland who took the world title with England taking the silver, which in the end was a magnificent achievement after a very tough route to the final.
Gold - Switzerland - Silver - England - Bronze - Netherlands - 4th - Belgium
Photo - England Men 640kg team represented by Lincoln
All in all, it was a great weekend for the England teams, coming away with 2 silver and 2 bronze medals in the closed weight classes and a silver and 3 bronze medals in the open competitions. Congratulations to all of our teams for their hard work and efforts over the course of the season and hopefully we can build on these successes next year!
Image Credits - Jamie Dewsberry - you can view Jamie's photos from the event on Facebook by clicking here
Photos taken at the event (along with a number of albums from past international events) by Dutch Photographer Eddie van Raamsdonk can be viewed by clicking here
If you are using any photographs from the photographers above on your facebook pages, web sites, etc. then please make sure that you credit the photographers and that you ask for permission if you are intending to use them on a commercial basis.