The annual international tug of war competition run by Leo`s boys and girls tug of war club from Benburb took place this year at the Ballygawley playing fields because the local Benburb grounds are undergoing a major new facelift. Clubs and guests from Scotland, Wales and the Republic of Ireland all joined the local N Ireland clubs to witness a mighty days tug of war under the blistering sun. This year the NITOWA was trying to promote the female side of the sport and this involved more weight classes than normal. The chief judge on the day was Vernon Hurst ably assisted by Wm Montgomery, Jim Burns, Geraldine Fox and Noel Hara.
The day started with the 680kg competition and the favourite was the G & B club from County Leitrim, but to everyone`s surprise, Green hill beat them in the round robin section. The 2 semi-finals saw Leo`s V Greenhill and G & B met Derryogue from Kilkeel. Greenhill and G & B reached the final and this time it was the favourites G & B who emerged as 680k winners and took the Kieran Mc Anallen cup home to Leitrim.
6-a-side has been a new feature of tug of war in recent years and so next up was the 470kg competition, the round robin witnessed some very long pulls and emerging teams were difficult to predict, however, the 2 semi-finals were Derg Valley narrowly beating the G & B club and the other semi was Bancran V Derryogue. Bancran defeated an exhausted Derg valley to win the Willie Donnelly cup and the 470k title on the day.
Alongside this competition was run the 6-a-side ladies competition and after a 3 ender final Greenhill beat Leo`s ladies in the final and the start of much more ladies tug of war in the coming season.
The final weight class was the very interesting mixed competition with 3 men and 3 women forming a 6-a-side team, we had 5 teams enter, Leo`s, Greenhill, Derg Valley, Cappagh, and Derryogue. This new feature was the highlight of the day because nobody was sure who might emerge from the pack to reach the final. Because of time restrictions we had no semi-finals just the top 2 teams pulling the best of 3 ends. Well after about 20 minutes, 3 full ends and much to and froing of teams the Greenhill team just piped Leo`s by 2 pulls to 1 , and the winners lifted the Frank Powell memorial cup and started a whole new feature in tug of war, mixed 3 x 3. Our hosts on the day, Leo`s team officials thanked all the clubs that travelled, the judges, and Mrs Walker for the food. a lot of exhausted men and women retired for the day.
Patrick Kernan Ph 02837548542 / 07703122960