12th and 13th February Bell Sports Centre, Perth , Scotland
The UK Championships were held in the Bell sports Centre in Perth, Scotland. Two teams from Northern Ireland, Ballyhegan at 600kgs and Finvoy at 680kgs represented in the Championships. The competition commenced on the Saturday morning at 1030 after a short opening ceremony conducted by the Lord Provost of Perth. All of the teams had been weighed the previous evening and were then stamped on the morning prior to the commencement of the competition. The 600kg Championships were first up with five teams entered, two representing Scotland, two from England and one from Northern Ireland.
The two judges from Scotland and Northern Ireland were well up to the task and took the teams to the mats expecting a good competition. All of the teams fought well for the top four places with two teams from Scotland joining one team from England and the Ballyhegan team who were our representatives.
England had a very exciting young team of pullers at under 23 present who acquitted themselves very well against stiff competition.
At the end of the first rounds the four top teams were Scotland A and B along with England A and our own team Northern Ireland A. In the first semi final Scotland beat Northern Ireland with the Scotland A team going through to the final. The second finalists were the England A team who beat the Scotland B team. In the bronze pull off the Scotland team proved too strong for Northern Ireland with our tem being beaten in two straight pulls. The final looked set up for a fantastic battle with two of the top teams in the world competing. Scotland proved to be very strong and took both ends convincingly winning the 600kg Championship.
The 680 squads had a lot to live up to and they rose to the occasion superbly. The representing team from Finvoy had borrowed a man from Ballyhegan to strengthen the team. With only four teams in this category it was always going to be a game of cat and mouse prior to the semi finals and final. In the semi finals both Scotland teams met with our team meeting a very strong England team. At this point the Scotland A team beat their rivals from the B team whilst England managed to dispose of the Northern Ireland team.
The bronze medal match proved to be an excellent competition with two very different sized teams. Scotland weighed in at 590 kg whilst the Northern Ireland team weighed in excess of 670 kg. The Northern Ireland team took the first end but the Scotland B team put up an excellent fight to suggest that they were still in it. In the second end Scotland attacked their heavier opponents from the drop denying the Ulstermen the chance to settle. Eventually Northern Ireland broke and Scotland took the end.
The deciding end was another tough pull for both teams with Scotland going on the attack from the drop. Again Scotland took a much unexpected bronze medal being 80 kgs lighter that the Northern Ireland teams weight.
The final saw the 2010 World Champions at 680 Kg face up to the 2010 World Champions at 640 Kg. Scotland took the competition by the scruff of the neck and ran out with the Gold medal winning by two straight ends. A well deserved result.
The final closed Championship was the mixed 600 Kg. with two teams representing England and Scotland. England A looked dominant throughout closely followed by Scotland A. England B looked to be some way ahead of Scotland B and that was the order in which the group matches concluded. In the semi-finals the two A teams progressed with the B teams left to contest the bronze medal.
In the end it was a good statement of intent by mixed teams for this event and one which I believe will prove to be popular in the future. Keep up the good work.
The final event of the day was the International Clubs’ 640 Kg. This attracted a big entry with teams from the Basque Country, Italy and Southern Ireland joining the teams from England Scotland and Northern Ireland.
The class act of the group phase was Mountain View who didn’t drop a point throughout the whole contest. These teams were joined by Sokarri of the Basque Country and Ballyhagen who contested every pull to end up in the top four for the pull offs.
In the first semi final Mountain View were very strong as had been evidenced earlier in the competition and at home where they once again dominated Ballyhagen winning both ends in just over 40 seconds. The second semi was a different event where Sokarri sought to wear BRC down. BRC eventually won their semi final and were going forward to meet the ever improving team from Mountain View.
Mountain View were clear favourites but the Scotland team BRC were up for the battle but the strong team from BRC proved that their tactic worked better taking the Gold medal again.
Sunday morning came and once again with all of the teams having been weighed on the Friday night it was a simple job getting the teams stamped and ready for the fray once again. Ballyhegan and Finvoy both entered teams in as many weights as possible making use of additional pullers who had travelled to fulfil their weight choices. The Northern Ireland teams had to compete at a very high level due to time constraints following the fire alarm and evacuation from the centre. The competition was now down to a simple final in each weight between the top two teams in the group. Unfortunately due to the overall strength of the additional teams our lads didn’t manage to make the top two but acquitted themselves well in all of the competitions. They can be very proud of their achievements and now know how much additional work is required to get to the pinnacle.
The best final event of the day was in the men’s 600 Kgs where the teams from Kilroe and Mountain View were the dominating teams. At the end of the round robin, Kilroe finished in first place with Mountain View one point behind.
The final between Kilroe and Mountain View was taken out onto the mat and with the spectators on the edges of their seats, saw Kilroe attack from the beginning. It was a hard fought end but Kilroe eventually took the first end. The second end was a different matter with both teams attacking from the beginning. Both teams picked up cautions and eventually the centre judge blew the pull back to the middle and both had to start all over again. From the drop this time Mountain View took the lead and finished Kilroe off by taking the second end. The teams turned around after the toss and once again the Mountain View men took the bull very firmly by the horns, steadily taking ground and eventually finishing Kilroe off and thus winning the prestigious 600kgs Open Championship.
Following this competition a new Trophy in Memory of our Frank Powell was presented to the winning team from Tinto by Patrick Kernan on behalf of the Powell family who had presented the trophy in memory of Frank.
On the Friday afternoon prior to the Championships there was a viewing of the proposed accommodation for the World Championships in 2012 which is being hosted by Scotland. We were shown around the facilities of the Crieff Hydro Hotel, including self catering accommodation.
|Men 600||Scotland A||England A (Kilroe)||Scotland B|
|Men 680||Scotland A||England A (Sheen)||Scotland B|
|Mixed 600||England A (Sheen/Sheen Ladies)||Scotland A||Scotland B|
|Open 640||Ayrshire (Scotland)||Mountain View (Ireland)|
|Men 560||Kilroe||Mountain View|
|Men 600||Mountain View||Kilroe|
|Men 640||Sheen||Mountain View|
|Men 680||Tinto||Mountain View|
|Ladies 650||Sheen Ladies||Ayrshire|