The open club competitions got underway today at the European Tug of War Championships in Assen, the Netherlands. 44 teams competed in the men’s 680kg which was run in 5 groups with two teams from each going through to the last 16. Four Irish team competed, Boley, Lakehill and Gortletteragh pulled very well to top their respective groups but Bremore just missed out on qualification for the last 16. In the last 16 Gortletteragh were defeated by Sins from Switzerland.
Boley pulled well to defeat Bosley in a repeat of the final for the last two years. Lakehill also overcame Vorden from the Netherlands to qualify for the last 16. In the quarter final Lakehill came up against Sins and pulled very well to win two straight to qualify for the semi final. Boley joined them there by overcoming a strong German team. The semi final line-up was Lakehill versus Fam Janssens (Belgium) and Boley versus Eibergen (Netherlands). Boley produced a great display to come from and end down to beat Eibergen to qualify for the final. Lakehill ensured an all Irish final by defeating Fam Janssens in straight ends. It was a great advertisment for Irish Tug of War and progressions made in recent years as arch rivals Boley and Lakehill faced each other in a repeat of the national final in Bonniconlon back in June. However it was the crafty Boley team with their never say die attitude who turned the tides this time round by making it three 680kg gold medals in a row at International level. Fam Janssens defeated Eibergen to win the bronze medal.
Irish teams Fairywater, Glenhill, Gortletteragh and Killylough took parts in the men’s 600kg competition in the afternoon. This was a very tuff competition which was run in four groups. Killylough finished runners-up in their group to qualify for the quarter finals. Gortletteragh produced another fine performance to join Killylough in the quarters. Killylough faced Oxney Vines Cross from England in the last 8 and pulled well to qualify for the semi finals. Gortletteragh pulled very well taking the strong Swedish team, Bjorke, to a third and deciding end. The Leitrim men were unlucky to loose the toss for choice of ends and just missed out on qualification. Killylough faced Engelberg from Switzerland in the semi finals, the first end of the contest lasted over 10 minutes but the Swiss team were too strong and they went through to the final where they were joined by Veenseboys from the Netherlands. Engleberg won the gold medal with a straight end victory. Unfortunately for Killylough Bjorke from Sweden were too strong and the Monaghan men also missed out on the bronze medal.