England Tug of War Teams in the Medals at the 2019 British and Irish Tug of War Championships!
This weekend, the British and Irish Outdoor Tug of War Championships took place in Coleraine, Northern Ireland, hosted by the Northern Ireland Tug of War Association. The British and Irish Championships sees each country field up to two teams in each senior weight class, with countries also being allowed to field “C” teams of under 23 pullers in addition if they wish to do so. The British and Irish Championships is always a tough competition, with many teams taking part regularly featuring amongst the top 10 nations at World and European Championships.
England had a full complement of teams in each of the senior weight classes. The weigh in took place on the Thursday afternoon with the competitions for the international events taking place on the Friday., The day started with a short opening ceremony, followed by the mens 600kg and ladies 520kg.
Photo: England C 520kg Under 23 Ladies
The mens 600kg was a long competition, pulled as a straight group of 10 teams, with each nation entering two teams. England A were represented by Oxney Vines Cross and England B were represented by Upper Eden who were representing England for the first time. Both teams met in the first round of pulling and shared the spoils winning one end each. This was a very competitive weight class with all 10 teams fighting for a place in the top 4 to progress to the semi-finals. Unfortunately both teams missed the cut and the semi finals saw Northern Ireland A progress in first place, Scotland A in second place, Ireland A in third place and Northern Ireland B progress in fourth place.
Photo: England A 600kg team - represented by Oxney Vines Cross
The semi finals were certainly very competitive with Scotland A overcoming Republic of Ireland A by 2 ends to 0, but the two Northern Irish teams were involved in a closely competitive match which went all the way to three ends, which saw Northern Ireland B progress. Both of the Northern Ireland teams left a lot on the field and had to recover in the time allowed to go out and compete in the bronze medal pull and the final. In the bronze medal match, Ireland A defeated Northern Ireland A by 2 ends to 0, and in the final, Scotland A proved to be too strong for Northern Ireland B and took the gold - the first time that Scotland has won the 600kg title.
Photo: England B 600kg team - represented by Upper Eden
You can watch a video of the Mens 600kg final below
The ladies 520kg saw Bedford Ladies represent England A and a composite team represent England B. England also had a C team in this weight class represented by a team of Under 23 ladies. This weight was again another competitive weight class, with England A performing well in the group stages, only being defeated by defending champions Scotland A. England B also performed well in the group, but just missed out on a spot in the top four to Wales A. The England C under 23 ladies gave a good account of themselves too, and despite finding the competition tough, they gained a lot of valuable experience from the event.
Photo: England A Ladies 520kg team - represented by Bedford Ladies
The conclusion of the group rounds saw Scotland A progress in first place, England A in second place, Scotland B in third place and Wales A progress in fourth place. In the semi finals, Scotland A overcame Wales A and England A overcame Scotland B. Before the final took place, Scotland B and Wales A took to the field to fight it out for the bronze medal, which Scotland B won by 2 ends to 0. In the final, Scotland A and England A had a good tight battle, but in the end, Scotland A just had the edge and took the gold medal by 2 ends to 0.
Photo: England B Ladies 520kg team - represented by a composite team
The afternoon saw the ladies 560kg and mens 680kg competitions take place.
The ladies 560kg saw England A being represented by Haldon Ladies, and England B being represented by Oxney Vines Cross Ladies who were representing England for the first time. England A’s representatives Haldon were going into the event as defending champions. In the group stages, both teams performed well with England A finishing top of the group ahead of Scotland A, England B and Wales A, meaning that the England ladies were guaranteed a medal, so it was a case of which colour, and whether it would be one medal or two. In the semi finals, England A progressed to the final along with Scotland A, which meant that England B and Wales A went into the bronze medal match.
Photo: England B 560kg Ladies team - represented by Oxney Vines Cross Ladies
The bronze medal match was a really tough pull between England B and Wales A. At this stage of the competition, guts, determination and a will to win are just as important attributes of strength and technique. England B gave absolutely everything and won through with an great two ends to 0 win to take a hard earned bronze medal.
Photo: England A 560kg Ladies team - represented by Haldon Ladies
The final was an equally tough and exciting match between England A and Scotland A. England A fought well to take the first end, and then Scotland A battled hard to take the second end meaning that a third end was needed to decide the winners. England A won the toss for the choice of ends and both teams went to battle again. This time, Scotland A just managed to take the end and the gold medal, meaning that the England team had to settle for silver on this occasion.
You can watch the ladies 560kg final below.
The mens 680kg competition was another full group of tough competition, with England A being represented by Lincoln, who were defending champions from 2018, and England B were represented by Felton Eccles. Both teams performed strongly in the group stage with neither team dropping any ends against the other nations. When the two teams met each other in the group stage England A won the match by 2 ends to 0. Both teams went through to the semi finals in the top two positions in the group and were joined by the A and B teams from the Republic of Ireland.
Photo: England B Men 680kg team - represented by Felton Eccles
In the semi-finals, England A defeated Ireland A by 2 ends to 0, however England B had a tough match up against Ireland B with this match going to three ends. With the match tied at 1-1, England B made a substitution and took the third end to progress to the final to set up an all England final. The final was a good match up, however England A, represented by Lincoln, had the edge on this occasion and took the British and Irish Championships gold medal by 2 ends to 0 for the fourth year running (fifth year when the predecessor UK championship is taken into account).
Photo: England A mens 680kg team - represented by Lincoln
You can watch a video of the Mens 680kg final below
The closed competitions concluded with the mixed 580kg competition. England A were represented by Lincoln/Bedford, and England B were represented by Upper Eden. Both teams competed well in the group stages to progress to the semi finals along with Scotland A and Scotland B. In the semi finals, England A overcame England B and Scotland A overcame Scotland B.
Photo: England A Mixed 580kg team - represented by Lincoln / Bedford
The final and the bronze medal match were both pulled at the same time because of time constraints. In the bronze medal match, England B were too strong for Scotland B and took the bronze medal by 2 ends to 0. The final however was a great match between England A and Scotland A which went to three ends. Scotland A took a tough first end, and England A had to dig deep to level the match and take the second end to set up a third and deciding end. Another good battle followed with England A taking the gold medal.
Photo: England B Mixed 580kg team - represented by Upper Eden
In the evening the presentation meal was held where all of the medal winning teams were awarded their medals in front of fellow competitors and supporters. We would like to commend all of our representative teams for being smartly turned out in their formal England attire at this event.
Photo: Upper Eden mixed team at the presentation evening
Closed Competition - Results Summary
Men 600kg - Gold - Scotland A - Silver - Northern Ireland B - Bronze - Republic of Ireland A
Ladies 520kg - Gold - Scotland A - Silver - England A (Bedford Ladies) - Bronze - Scotland B
Men 680kg - Gold - England A (Lincoln) - Silver - England B (Felton Eccles) - Bronze - Republic of Ireland
Ladies 560kg - Gold - Scotland A - Silver - England A (Haldon Ladies) - Bronze - England B (Oxney Vines Cross Ladies)
Mixed 580kg - Gold - England A (Lincoln/Bedford) - Silver - Scotland A) - Bronze - England B (Upper Eden)
On the Saturday, the open club competition took place, with English Clubs Haldon Men, Felton Eccles, Lincoln, Oxney Vines Cross Men, Upper Eden Men, Bedford Ladies, Haldon Ladies, Oxney Vines Cross Ladies, and Upper Eden Ladies taking part.
There was some great pulling across all weight classes, with English Clubs again being amongst the medals. The results summary is provided below:
Open Club Competition - Results Summary
Ladies 560kg - Gold - Bedford Ladies - Silver - Haldon Ladies - Bronze - Upper Eden Ladies
Men 680 - Gold - Lincoln - Silver - Castlegregory (Republic of Ireland) - Bronze - Felton Eccles
Ladies 520kg - Gold - Ayrshire (Scotland) - Silver - Bedford Ladies - Bronze - Haldon Ladies
Men 640kg - Gold - Lincoln - Silver - Greenhills (Northern Ireland) - Bronze - Felton Eccles
Men 560kg - Gold - Cornhill (Scotland) - Silver - Greenhills (Northern Ireland) - Bronze - Bancran (Northern Ireland)
Men 600kg - Gold - Cornhill (Scotland) - Silver - G&B (Republic of Ireland) - Bronze - Lincoln
Mixed 580kg - Gold - Cornhill (Scotland) - Silver - Elgin (Scotland) - Bronze - Haldon
Photos courtesty of Jamie Dewsbury.
A huge selection of photos from this event is available on the TOWA Facebook Group, kindly posted by Jamie