FARMERS flocked to Westhoughton for the annual ploughing match.

It was the third year retired farmer Graham Farrington has organised the event at Brinsop Hall Farm.

He said: “It’s been a very difficult day for ploughing, the ground has been sticky and wet due to rain over the past few days so the standard hasn’t been as high as previous years.”

Paul Whittle, aged 65, travelled all the way from Adelaide, Australia, to watch his friends take part in the event.

He said: “I come from Aspull originally and moved to Australia in 1968. I’ve been here since the beginning of September for a holiday because I have family here and friends taking part today. It’s the first time I’ve been to the ploughingmatch.”

Regular ploughing events took place in Blackrod until the 1920s and the Westhoughton Ploughing Society held competitions until 1959. Mr Farrington revived the contest in 2009 as part of the Haigh, Aspull and Blackrod show and it became an event in its own right.

His grandsons, Kieran and Callum Farley, aged 14 and 15, also took part.

Kieran, a pupil at Rivington and Blackrod High School, said: “I’ve been coming since I was young, watching my granddad plough, so as soon as I was 13 and old enough to drive a tractor I started competing and I’ve won three competitions.”

There are six categories: Trailer ploughs from the war years; vintage hydraulic ploughs open class; standard Ferguson tractors and ploughs with no alterations; classic ploughs made after the 1960s; competitors aged 13 to 18; and a class for novice ploughmen.

Judges assess the straightness and uniformity of the furrows — the long narrow trench made in the ground — as well as how well the weeds are buried.

The winners were: Andrew Buckley, trailer class; Ian Thompson, vintage hydraulics; Peter Higginson, classic ploughs; Thomas Gardiner, junior class; Matthew Richardson, novice class, and Geoff Morris, Ferguson ploughs.

Callum Farley was named best local ploughman and Peter Higginson was the overall winner of the day.