Royal Shrovetide Football Match 2011 In Photos: WAGs And A Cork Ball
THE teams sing Auld Lang Syne. Lord James Percy, brother of the Duke of Northumberland, parps the bugle. Jim Boden tossed the ball filled with cork into the mob. And starts the annual Shroventide football match in Ashbourne, Derbyshire, is off.
For those readers from overseas uncertain as to why British tourists play 55-a-side matches on the playas and beaches of Europe here’s a spot of background: The Royal Shorvetide Football match occurs annually on Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday in the town of Ashbourne. It has been played since at least the 12th Century. The two teams that contest the match are known as the Up’Ards and the Down’Ards. The aim is to score in one of the goals three miles apart at Clifton and Sturston.
On February 22, 1821, a notice was placed on the walls in Alnwick in Northumberland:
“The inhabitants of the Market Place, and other parts of the town, having complained to the magistrates of the practice followed by young men and boys playing football in the streets, to the great danger of their windows, and interruption to the public.
“All persons are hereby cautioned not to injure the property of the inhabitants, by breaking their windows, nor to obstruct the doors, nor frighten their horses, or in any way to impede the public thoroughfares and passages of the town, by playing football in the streets as such conduct is an offence against the laws and will be noticed by the magistrates accordingly.”
The Alnwick Improvement Act of 1822 banned street games including football, bull baiting, cock throwing and bonfires.
Football cleaned up its act. Sort of…