July 1st, Bangor, Northern Ireland: Team Scotland (Luke Stoltman, Paul Benton, Kenny Simms & Scott Milne) pulled off a shock win in Bangor at the Battle of Britain event supported by To Me To You Removals and Ards & North Down Borough Council.
Scotland suffered a blow when Luke Stoltman was forced to withdraw two days before the competition. Scott Milne stepped in, but England were odds on favourite for the win – the size and experience of Terry Hollands, Charlie Gough, Paul Smith and Phi Roberts were, on paper, hard to bet against.
And England weren’t ready to disappoint. In the first Event, the Duck Walk Steeplechase, England got off to the perfect start, completing the 4 runs in 86.21 seconds, just ahead of Ireland (90.41″) and Wales (93.68″). Scotland failed to finish, recording a distance of 79.99 metres.
In the Tug of War, where bodyweight plays a hug factor, Team Ireland (Pa O’Dwyer, Matthew McCoy, Dale Winters & Gavin Redmond), the lightest team in the competition, were always going to struggle. And so it proved as they were swept aside with ease, setting up an England Vs Wales final. With Terry Hollands providing the anchor, England were confident of the win. But Wales had other thoughts, and as the whistle went, the Welsh dug in, slowly pulling the English towards them. Entering un-chartered territory, Team England use all their weight to stop the Welsh momentum, and both teams remained in a deadlock before England finally started to get organised, put in one final effort, and pulled the Welsh across the line.
After two events, England had notched up a maximum 8 points, with Wales on 5 points, Ireland on 4 and Scotland trailing on 3.
The rain came going into the third event, the Giant Tyre Flip, making conditions difficult. England’s Strongest Man, Phil Roberts, went our first for the leaders, but struggled to find his footing, and as he crossed the line to tag his partner, England were last. The Irish were flying, this is an event they get plenty of practice in, and as the final man crossed the line, they took the win with a total distance of 64.38 metres, just ahead of Scotland on 61.35 metres. England finished third, with Wales fourth. It was far from a distaster for the favourites, after 3 events they still managed to hold a 2 point lead over second place Ireland.
The 90Kg Dumbell Press was up next. And this is where the wheels came falling off the English machine. Inexplicacably the team managed just 1 rep, behind Wales (5), Ireland (6) and Scotland with an impressive 7.
With just 2 events left, Ireland and England were now tied on 11 points, and Scotland, such slow starters, had hauled themselves up to 10 points.
The Stones of Strength were the penultimate discipline, and whilst big Terry Hollands of England had lifted the heaviest stones a few weeks earlier, this was to be Tom Stoltman’s moment. Rapidly establishing a name for himself as one of the best stone lifters in the world, the giant Scot proved a point by being the only man to lift the 6th stone (175Kg) – taking Scotland’s first win of the day. With Ireland coming in 2nd, England 3rd and Wales last the competition was set up for a fantastic finale.
Wales were now out of contention, however going in to the final event, the Flag Hoist, Scotland and Ireland were tied on 14 points, with England just behind on 13 points.
England and Wales were first out. Wales got off to a flying start, hoitinf the first 3 flags in 17.53 seconds, but that was as far as they got, and England got going, ploughing through the first 4 flags in 83.74 seconds. All England’s hopes were on Terry Holland as he grasped the final flag, but he couldn’t find the leverage and strength to get the flagpole up. England’s marker was down – it was now up to Scotland and Ireland to see if they could better it.
Scotland’s Paul Benton was undoubtedly the Warrior of the day, despite nursing a badly injured wrist, he flew out for team Scotland, and ignoring searing pain ripped through 2 poles to put the Scots in front. The Scots saved Tom Stoltman to last, sending him out of the final pole which he lifted almost effortlessly, getting the overall win for a jubilant Team Scotland.
Meanwhile Irish Captain Pa O’Dwyer was at the final pole, seemingly in a deadlock at the 45 degree angle. Ireland needed this for a guaranteed second place overall, and cheered on by thousands of Irish fans, he pulled off a near-miraculous effort to finally get the Pole up. Seconds place to Ireland.
It was another fantastic competition. and the fourth consecutive Ultimate Strongman event where a competition was decided on the last lift of the very last event.
Our thanks go out to the thousands of fans who supported the event as well as event sponsors To Me To You Removals, Ards and North Down Borough Council, Cerberus Strength, Monster Strong and G&P Supplements.