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BWLA North West Equipped 2006

On a drizzly, cold Manchester morning, a handful of the Sugden mafia set off for Oldham in Rick's love-mobile. After arriving just in time to stop the heaters from frying us alive, we entered Rhino's Gym to witness the first few squats taking place.

There were quite a few fellows from the online powerlifting community there - including such faces as jonnywildboar, galloot, little a, wigan and martin flett. Of course, there was also Fat Pete - the man who many of us were really looking forward to making his competition debut (in his early 50s!).

The competition began at 11.30, with the first flight of lifters being those in the weight classes below 110 - in other words, the outstanding majority. The heavyweights would then take their own flight afterwards.

The lightweight squats took quite a while, with some quite stringent judging from the referees particularly on depth - some of these calls seemed very harsh, in the opinion of quite a lot of the crowd.

There were quite a few missed squats, not only on terms of depth - it seemed a few lifters simply picked openers slightly too difficult. It later transpired that some lifters were having issues with the matting on the platform (eventually resulting in the squat rack being moved a few metres forwards for the heavyweight flight).

There were a few squats of interest in this category, with Joe Bullock of Adlington hitting above 280 (precise details elude me unfortunately). I believe one lifter set a few Masters divisional record in this flight, in all three of his lifts!

Bench press was largely uneventful in this category - with Martin Flett unfortunately failing to secure a new Masters record after some butt-on-bench issues.

The highlight of the deadlifts for the lightweight flight was without doubt a new female record by one of the 'Steelman Girls', Marie Thornton - unfortunately I cannot recall the weight (well into the 200s), but it was a tremendous effort which really got the crowd going. Inspiring stuff.

At this point there was a slight break in proceedings, allowing for the chance to help ourselves to more of the buffet upstairs, as well as to bullshit of course. Galloot continued to text his fleet of young schoolgirls, whilst wildboar befriended a religious looking chap. Then, not before time (the day was starting to drag on by now - it was almost 4PM), the heavyweights (and thus Fat Pete) were on show.

The squats were fun. There were some tremendous efforts including a 300 by Pete (with more in the tank, whatever he says) and an amazing 355 by Mick Ashurst - a real grind of a squat and a hell of a lot of weight.

Bench pressing was also quite good to watch in this category - there were some seriously big numbers going up, including over 200 for a Bryn Evans, who unfortunately failed to managed 212.5. Wayne Catteral lifted big on bench as ever. Fat Pete weighed in with a rocket propelled second lift of 172.5, unfortunately losing the groove on his 400lbs attempt.

Unfortunately it was 5.30PM by this point, so the comp was clearly over-running. Serveral of us had prior arrangements, so we had to beat a hasty retreat before the best part of the day - the heavyweight deadlifts! Nevertheless, Jonny has informed me that Mick Ashurt lifted a good 330 and Fat Pete an easy 272.5.

The day was a good one, but I really don't think the organisation of the flights was optimal. A whole seperate round was made for the heavyweights - but there were only 5 or 6 of them; so having one larger flight would have been more suitable for the spectators. Obviously it would have resulted in longer waits between lifts, but there has to be some give and take.

Another sore point was the lack of a scoreboard - it really would not take much effort to use a laptop and a projector so everybody could see exactly what is going on and be able to remember peoples names and lifts!

Nonetheless, there were some excellent lifts across the board. Most impressive to me were the squat of Mick Ashurt and the grinding deadlift of Marie Thornton. It must be said that it was quite an accomplished perfomance from Fat Pete on his debut - he looked totally at home and as if he had been competing for many moons.

It was good to put a few names to faces and watch some good lifts. See the comments thread below for videos of Mick Ashurt's 330 deadlift and 355 squat.


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