County Durham’s Ladies and Yorkshire’s GENSB Tug of War teams are celebrating after they both won for a third consecutive year at the national final, which was held at the Tenbury Show in August.
Sarah Parsons, who was an anchor in County Durham’s Tug of War team, was over the moon to help win the hat trick, especially as this is her final year competing.
Sarah, who’s an accountant but is still involved in her family’s farm, said she “cheered and cried” at the result.
“It was an emotional end to my Young Farmers’ career but the best way to go out,” Sarah explained. “I think I’ll still rock up to training and shout at them, I’ll be on the side line!”
The winning Ladies’ team, which is made up of members from clubs across the county, trained twice a week, which increased to three times a week in the weeks leading up to the final.
The team pull on a rig and train on grass with their experienced and dedicated coach Alan Maddison. Sarah’s advice to other teams was to do the things you don’t find easy.
“We have some training sessions where we’re doing things that are not on the rig. It’s really hard. It mixes it up and at the time you hate doing it, but you do see the benefit as it improves your pulling.
“Work on the weaknesses you have. Don’t do the same thing in training as it gets boring and repetitive and that’s where people won’t enjoy it as much,” added Sarah.
While most of the team are relatively new to Tug of War, the training sessions and competitions have created firm friendships.
“We love going because we love being together. It’s one of the good things about our team, we have all made friendships from it and we enjoy going to training no matter how hard it is,” said Sarah.
Hard graft is certainly a familiar story for all the teams in the final and it helped the Yorkshire team also win for a third year in a row in the GENSB competition.
Samuel from Penistone YFC, studies at Askham Bryan College, and said the team practised three times a week under the instruction of their coach Andrew Howe.
“Andrew trains us really hard and he doesn’t give up on us. He’s always pushing us to do even better.” said Samuel, who lives on his family’s dairy farm. “You get a buzz from taking part and everyone working as a team – we all get on well. You get to see people from different places too by competing.”
Most of the team are made up of Penniston YFC members and they all plan on defending their title in 2024.
“It was brilliant to win, we’re on a winning streak. It just gives you more confidence to keep going and keep winning,” said Samuel. “We’ll definitely be entering again next year. We’ll keep trying to get the win again!”
It was a comeback year for Anstey YFC in Devon who wanted to win the Men’s Tug of War competition again after winning it in 2019.
Jack Routley from Anstey YFC said the team were relieved to win.
“I gave a sigh of relief when we won, after all the hard work we had put in. We hadn’t won the trophy since 2019 but we came back stronger this year.”
Tug of War is the competition of choice at the North Devon club and the members took part in gruelling training to prepare for the final. Coached by a former Anstey YFC member, they trained twice a week, which included running up steep inclines.
Most members of the team are involved in farming and many of them also take part in Tug of War competitions outside of YFC – a few will be competing at the world championships in Switzerland later in August.
“It’s amazing to win,” said Jack who is an agricultural engineer. “Our coach pushed us hard but we wanted to get the trophy back off the Staffordshire men’s team – and we did!”
NFYFC is grateful to the Tenbury Agricultural Society for financially supporting the competition and allowing the Federation to host its Tug of War competition at the Tenbury Show.