Saturday the 7th May 2011 saw the first competition of the outdoor season at Benburb, Co Tyrone and ably hosted by Leos Boys Tug of War Club. Scales opened at 10.00am to allow for visiting teams from England to avail of a very hearty breakfast laid on at the Bottle of Benburb Pub. The visitors had travelled from Lincoln in the form of Holland Sports and a team from York. It was good to see them at this venue, some visiting for the very first time.
Additional teams arrived from the ITOWA in the form of Mountainview, Killylough and Rockies then added to by the local teams from Bancran, Derryogue and Leos Boys. With all of the weighing done, shortly after 1pm, 9 teams took to the field in the first weight of the day at 610kgs and pulled in one league on two ropes.
Just over two hours of strong and hard pulling by all of the teams brought us to the top four in the competition with Derryogue finishing in the top position, Bancran in second and Leos Boys and Mountainview closely behind. After the draw Derryogue faced Leos Boys in the first semi whilst Bancran were destined to meet Mountainview.
Both Derryogue and Bancran saw off very strong challenges from both of their opponents winning by two straight pulls to nil.
The final was then between Derryogue and Bancran who had been close in each weight category during last year’s championships. Both teams tried one another several times and eventually Bancran succumbed to the strength of the Derryogue team narrowly losing by two pulls to nil. First competition gold to Derryogue.
This competition attracted the same teams from the previous competition with the addition of the Silver medallists from South Africa last year, Holland Sports. This time the event was divided into two sections with five teams competing against one another for the top two positions in each section. In section one, Derryogue once again were strongly featured alongside Mountainview closely behind them in second position. In section 2 Bancran ran out as the section winners with Holland Sports finishing on the same points but having been beaten by Bancran, were deemed to be second. The cross over took place with Derryogue facing Holland Sports whilst Bancran took on Mountainview.
Once again both semi finals were won by the section winners of Derryogue and Bancran who again would contest the final. Much like the previous final Derryogue were well up for the contest and after a very strong contest took the final in two straight pulls to nil leaving Bancran with a Silver medal once again.
The last competition of the day was initially going to have six or seven teams at Catchweight but when the call went out, only three brave souls answered the call. This competition was ran around twice with the final being contested by a very strong team from Holland Sports and an ever improving Leos Boys team. Holland with the vast experience behind them and being much heavier had no problem in disposing of Leos Boys winning the Gold medal.
After all of the presentations teams adjourned to the Bottle of Benburb for a well deserved BBQ and a little aperitif followed by many post mortems and stories of daring do on the field of Tug of War.
Thank you to the visiting teams from England, Holland Sports and York, the teams from Mountainview, Killylough and Rockies as well as all of those from the NITOWA who turned out and made this first competition of the outdoor season such a success. A lot of energy was expelled and a competition of a very high standard was witnessed by all who attended on the day. Our guests from England and R.O.I. all expressed a wish to return next year.
Leo`s club would like to acknowledge the financial help from our major sponsor on the day, Dungannon & South Tyrone Borough Council and also the Benburb Community Group. The prizes were presented by the Community Group chairman, Charlie Pogue and before the English group left our village they had a short Historical tour of the area guided by the Benburb Historical Society members Brendan Mc Anallen and Art O Dalaigh.