Our tug of war champions were at it again as they powered their way to a full set of medals at the European Championships in Ireland.
The Scalford-based Lincoln Tug of War Club began by winning bronze in the 680kg open club class, before becoming the 720kg champions the following day.
The squad, coached by Scalford villager Tim Lee, then finished a gruelling championship schedule by representing England at 680kg in the international tournament, reaching the final and claiming the silver.
They have swept all before them at national level for many years, and they continued their success against the European elite teams.
“We knew we were on form, and hoped for a top-four spot,” said Tim.
“The 680 open was a very tough competition, and we had to qualify from a group of 11 for the semi-finals, so we were pleased to win bronze.
“I had already entered us for the 720, but didn’t decide until the night before that we would compete, and that was the one we won!”
They qualified to represent the country at 680 after winning the national title in June, and went on to fly the flag at the British and Irish Championships, in Northern Ireland.
There they continued their dominance of the weight category by winning gold for the fifth year running.
Despite having decamped their training base to the Melton village almost a decade ago, the club retains their Lincoln name which is renowned in the sport’s global circles.
The club was formed almost 60 years ago from within Lincoln’s Irish community, and its current squad are dispersed right across the Midlands.
Tim’s son Will, who also lives in Scalford, is the exception, with the rest facing a commitment-testing commute to the village twice a week for late evening training, some from as far afield as Kempston, near Bedford, and Derbyshire.
“They come straight from work and train up until 10 and don’t get home until 11 or 11.30 at night,” Tim added.
But despite the club’s proud heritage – they also have been catchweight champions at the AAA Championships for the last six years – their pullers are entirely self-funded.
Little money comes into the minority sport, even at national level.
“We desperately need sponsors,” explained Tim.
“In the 30 years I’ve been involved, if we have had £1,000 that is all we’ve had.
“Between 14 lads in the club it costs us £30,000 a year. We went to South Africa last year to compete at the worlds and had to find the flights and accommodation, and just going to Ireland this year cost £1,000 a man.
“Boots cost £150 each time, and there’s £200 a year each on kit.”
“You are really relying on hard-working lads putting their money in all the time for the love of the sport.
“When you are at the top you have to keep going.”
While the search for cash goes on, at least a new home has been secured as they move from their long-time Ironstone Lane home over to a new base, also close to Scalford.
“It’s a big season for us,” Tim added. “We start in the middle of January and go right up to September, and now we are moving our training ground.
“Penny and Dick (Clemmons) have been brilliant and have done such a lot for us and didn’t particularly want us to move, but we came to an agreement.”
* If you can help sponsor the club, call Tim on 07774 734674 or email email@example.com