High Wycombe on the pull

Tug-of-War has traditionally been a sport played out in the country by farmers at village fairs or county shows…

It’s not always been that way, as the sport has a great history in this country after Team GB shocked the world by winning gold, silver and bronze at the 1908 Olympic Games in London. The public’s misconception is that you have to be a massive guy with hands the size of shovels, feet the size of a family car and a beard the size of a small hay bale – WRONG!

Just like boxing the sport is governed by weight. There are a number of weight categories for teams to compete in. Normally teams are made up of 8 people on the rope at any one time. Weight categories range from 540kg for eight people right through to the catch weight where there is no weight limit!

All of these qualities have been found in abundance at RAF High Wycombe this season, as the Station team made its way to the first RAF Championships for many years, held at RAF Cosford in July. The draw saw a tough first round against the Defence Language School but following some last minute technique work and some dogged determination, the team progressed quite comfortably. Next up was the team from Cosford, or to be more precise, the School of PT made up of PTIs! Waiting in the next round was a confident Marham side, but their confidence was short-lived, as a High Wycombe side, still buoyant from beating the PTIs, powered to the final round against a strong ‘Barbarian’ side made up of people from Wyton, Brize and Benson. The Barbarians made a strong start, pulling High Wycombe towards the line very quickly. A determined ‘dig in’ saw the Wycombe side absorb some serious pressure, as the Barbarians sensed the win, but they were tiring and Wycombe knew it. With a huge heave Wycombe pulled as a team, forcing them off balance. Capitalising on the momentum, Wycombe won the end. Confident at 1 end up (best of 3), they fought hard from the beginning. The Barbarians were clearly tired from the first end and it was over as a contest very quickly, thus handing the title of RAF Tug-of-War Champions to RAF High Wycombe.

The connection with Tug-of-War and RAF High Wycombe didn’t stop there this season, as a clash of fixture dates meant that the Inter Services was in need of a host Unit. The PEd Flight ensured the facilities were in great shape and an arena was created out of 12x12s and lots of mine tape! Selected for the full RAF representative side were 5 men and 2 women from RAF High Wycombe, who attended a training camp here with the Combined Services coach in the days leading up to the competition. The competition went very well, despite the weather, with the RAF putting in some very credible performances, beating a Navy (Barbarian) side, but getting beaten by a very well-drilled Army side in the men’s competition.

The Ladies event made Service sports history, as RAF High Wycombe hosted the first ever Inter Service event. This was a much closer event, with the Army, once again, taking the overall title and the RAF as runners up.

Many thanks to the PEd Flight and the Station Commander for having the vision to host an Inter Services event; RAF High Wycombe certainly put on a great show.