2019 National Outdoor Tug of War Championships Results
The 2019 National Outdoor Tug of War Championships were this year held at the Cumberland Show, which turned out to be a great venue with all of the teams taking part keeping the crowds entertained all day. Despite all of the wet weather the UK has experienced in recent weeks, the weather stayed dry all day, even though some rain had been forecast. The ground conditions were good and all of this made for a very competitive day of tug of war - it was certainly one of the most keenly contested, unpredictable and open national championships we have had in a very long time.
The day opened with the mens 640kg and ladies 520kg, both pulled as a straight group with the top two teams going through to the final and the third and fourth placed teams going on to pull for a bronze medal.
In the mens 640kg competition, Lincoln went into this event as defending champions and won their opening matches before meeting 2018 silver medallists Norton in the last pull of the group given that both teams were the top two seeds from 2018. This pull went 1-1 and with both teams having won all of their matches in the group, both secured their place in the final. The remaining two places to go forward for the bronze were fought out by Sandhurst, Haldon and Felton Eccles with Felton Eccles and Haldon going through to the bronze medal match. Photo: Felton Eccles TOWC
In the match for bronze, Felton Eccles repeated their form from the group to overcome Haldon by 2 ends to 0. Then on to the final, which was a really exciting pull between Lincoln and Norton. Lincoln took a tight first end after which Norton made use of the one substitution that they were allowed. Both teams went to battle again, and this time Norton levelled the match to set up a third end. Lincoln won the toss for the choice of the third end and chose the end which both teams had won on. Another good end of tug of war was witnessed and Norton took the gold medal off Lincoln to regain the 640kg title they last won in 2017. Photo: Norton TOWC celebrate gold in the 640kg
The ladies 520kg competition was another close competition with all ladies teams entered. There was some close pulling with Bedford and Haldon going 1-1 in the group stage as did Kilroe and Upper Eden. All four of these teams progressed to the medal pulls with Bedford meeting Haldon in the final and Upper Eden meeting Kilroe for the bronze. Photo: Upper Eden Ladies
In the bronze medal match Kilroe took the first end, but Upper Eden battled back well to take the second end. On the third end Kilroe took a lot of rope before the pull broke down and both teams started to make mistakes. Upper Eden battled hard and managed to get the rope back and over the line to take a hard earned bronze medal. The final was another close match between Bedford and Haldon. Bedford pulled well in the final and had the edge on both ends and took their first gold medal of the day. Photo: Ladies 520kg teams on the podium
The mens catchweight and 560kg competitions followed.
Norton went into the 560kg competition off the back of their 640kg win, but were soon brought back down to earth in the first round where they lost out by 2 ends to 0 to Upper Eden who got their campaign off to a flyer in this weight. Upper Eden then lost out to Oxney Vines Cross before defeating Sandhurst in their final group pull. Oxney also defeated Sandhurst and met Norton in the final round where a point would ensure that Oxney would be guaranteed a place in the final. Oxney won both ends to reach the final without losing an end, meaning that Norton and Sandhurst would compete for the bronze medal, and it was the first time in over 20 years that neither Norton or Sandhurst would contest the final at 560kg. Photo: Upper Eden Men
In the bronze medal match, Norton took the medal by 2 ends to 0 fairly comfortably. The final saw Upper Eden and Oxney battle it out for the gold medal with Oxney taking the first end. After the first end, Upper Eden made a substitution, bringing on a fresh pair of legs to see if they could turn the tie around. Oxney just had the edge and experience over Upper Eden to take the end and the gold medal, winning their first 560kg title since 1984. Photo: Men 560kg teams on the podium
The mens catchweight competition was pulled in a group with the top two teams progressing to the final. Essex pulled off a surprise by not dropping any ends to progress to the final where they were joined by Lincoln. In the final, Lincoln got their composure back together and they managed to dig deep to win both ends and the gold medal. Photo: Lincoln TOWC
The ladies 560kg competition was the next weight category for the ladies teams. Again, Bedford emerged as the team to beat and they progressed through the group stages without losing an end. In the final, they were joined by Haldon who outscored the other teams and this left Oxney Ladies and Kilroe Ladies to compete for the bronze medal. Photo: Haldon Ladies
The bronze medal match was another exciting pull with Oxney hanging on to take the first end after Kilroe received 3 cautions. Kilroe then went on to take the second end to level the match. Oxney then dug deep and worked very hard to take the third and deciding end and win their first national medal in ladies competition. Photo: Oxney Ladies celebrate their 560kg bronze medal.
The final was another close and exciting match between Bedford and Haldon. Haldon took a close first end and Bedford pulled well to take the second end. After the second end Bedford made a substitution and then both teams battled hard again, but Bedford had the edge and took their second gold medal of the day. Photo: Bedford Ladies
The mens 720kg competition followed and was another keenly contested weight class between 5 clubs. Felton Eccles performed strongly in the group stages to top the group and were joined in the final by Lincoln. The battle for the third and fourth place was close between Holland, Haldon and Essex with Essex and Haldon progressing to the bronze medal match. Photo: Essex celebrate their bronze medal in the 720kg
The bronze medal match was a keenly contested match, but Essex competed strongly and went on to win their second medal of the day by 2 ends to 0. The final was also another good close match between Lincoln and Felton Eccles. Lincoln were the defending champions, but Felton Eccles controlled the pull well to take both ends in the final by 2 ends to 0 to take the 720kg title. Photo: 720kg teams on the podium
The ladies 500kg competition was another good event. Bedford Ladies topped the group unbeaten with Kilroe and Oxney tied level on points in second place. When the TWIF criteria was applied, Oxney progressed to the final and Kilroe Ladies went through to the bronze medal match against Upper Eden. After a challenging nationals for Kilroe Ladies this year, Kilroe Ladies managed to take both ends to secure the bronze medal to win their first medal of the day. The final was between Bedford and Oxney. Bedford Ladies are a very experience ladies team and were up against Oxney Ladies who have been competing in their first season. Oxney put up a great challenge, but Bedford had too much in the end and they took their third gold medal of the day. Photo: Kilroe Ladies
The mens 600kg was another excellent competition, with fine margins between all of the teams taking part, so much so that no team went through the group stage without dropping points and there were a lot of pulls that went 1-1. Oxney went through the competition unbeaten until the final group round where they were defeated by 2 ends to 0 by Norton. Norton had dropped ends earlier in the competition but their win against Oxney meant that they finished top of the group. York progressed to the semi finals in third place and Upper Eden in fourth place. In the semi finals, Upper Eden upset Norton again to win by 2 ends to 0 to make their second final of the day whilst in the other semi final, Oxney defeated York to reach their second final of the day. Photo: York TOWC
In the bronze medal match, York faced Norton. In the group rounds, both teams went 1-1 with each other, and the bronze medal pull was just as close. York pulled strongly to take the first end, however Norton managed to take the second end to set up a third and deciding end. It was another tough pull which Norton eventually won. In the final, Oxney and Upper Eden were up against each other again, and the experience of Oxney won through again and they took their second gold medal of the day by 2 ends to 0. Photo: Haldon Men
The final mens weight of the day was the 680kg competition. Lincoln regained some of their form shown from earlier in the season to top the group rounds without losing an end. Felton finished as runners up in the group, followed by Norton and Oxney. In the semi finals, Oxney were defeated by Lincoln and Felton Eccles overcame Norton. The bronze medal match gave us another three end match with Norton taking the first end and Oxney the next two to cap off a great day for them. In the final, Lincoln recovered from the disappointment of their earlier 720kg defeat and won a tight match against Felton Eccles by 2 ends to 0 to take the 680kg title. Photo: Holland TOWC
The final ladies weight of the day was the ladies 540kg which saw Haldon and Bedford compete for the gold medal. Bedford Ladies rounded off a great day for them to take their fought gold medal of the day by 2 ends to 0.
The national championships concluded with the mixed 580kg competition, which was the largest competition of the day and split into two groups. Group 1 contained defending champions Kilroe, and this group proved to be very competitive, however Kilroe found the competition tough and Haldon topped group 1. Kilroe and York finished in joint second place followed by Bosley and Holland. When the TWIF criteria was applied, York progressed to the semi finals along with Haldon. In the second group, Lincoln finished top followed by Upper Eden. In the semi finals, Lincoln overcame York and Upper Eden overcame Haldon. Photo: Bosley Mixed Team
The bronze medal match saw York and Haldon take to the field again, and as with the group pull, Haldon competed strongly to take the bronze medal by 2 ends to 0. In the final, Upper Eden and Lincoln took to the field, with both teams having won a number of medals through the day. In the end, Lincoln had the edge but had to work hard and they went on to take the gold by 2 ends to 0. Photo: Chief Judge David Kitchener
We would like to congratulate all of the teams, officials and volunteers who helped to make the 2019 National Championships a great event. We had some really exciting competition, and it was the most closely contested championships that we have had for years, with some really exciting ends and unpredictable outcomes - it is always best when you get competitions like that.
“the winning teams from the national tug of war championships will now go on to represent England at the European Championships in Castlebar in Ireland in September and we would like to take this opportunity to wish our England teams the very best of luck in their preparations for this event.
Finally, we would like to thank the Cumberland Show Organising Committee and Upper Eden Tug of War Club and all of their volunteers for their assistance in helping us to stage this event. They made us feel very welcome and hopefully we will be able to return in the future.
The Tug of War Association are always looking for new people to take up the sport and for new teams to form. Help and advice is always available from the Tug of War Association for people looking to get started. The Tug of War Association hopes that this event has helped to inspire more people to give the sport of tug of war a go.
For further information about the sport of tug of war, people are encouraged to visit the Tug of War Association web site at www.tugofwar.co.uk or you can follow The Tug of War Association on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using the handle @englandtugofwar.
A slideshow of images are provided below. Thanks to Jamie Dewsberry, Sue Anderson and Alan Knott for the photos.