Hundreds turn out for second day of historic Shrovetide football game

Crowds line the street The first day attracted thousands of competitors and spectators
River Henmore Players are divided into two teams depending on which side of the River Henmore they were born
People climb trees to get some of the action There were unconfirmed reports of some injuries on the first day
Crowds try to grab the ball The game has been described as a disorganised rugby scrum

The annual Royal Shrovetide Football game has entered its second day with hundreds of people watching or taking part.

The Down'ards are continuing to battle the Up'ards in the game in Ashbourne in Derbyshire.

As the first day of the Shrovetide football game drew to a close on Tuesday, the Up'ards 'goaled' - or scored - at about 21:00 GMT.

The game is played over two days and is due to finish later.

From day one:

A great first day at the Shrovetide football game in Ashbourne - I feel I have learned quite a lot today.

Firstly, stand behind a tree when there are 500+ up'ards and down'ards heading your way or move quickly.

It truly is a unique game and a tradition the town's folk are very proud of - whichever side of the fence - or river - they were born.

Wednesday's game starts again at 14:00 GMT with local butcher Nigel Brown doing the honours.

I wished I was going back for more

The 2013 game began when local builder John Tompkinson "turned up" the ball at 14:00 GMT on Shrove Tuesday.

Dave Spencer was said to have been the first goaler of the day at Sturston - shortly after 21:00 GMT.

Shops boarded up their windows and businesses closed early for the event.

'Unconfirmed injuries'

The game, which dates back to the Middle Ages, has been described as a disorganised rugby scrum.

It is played on Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday, and often lasts into the night.

Hundreds of players for each side battled in the streets on Tuesday to get the hand-painted cork-filled ball to goals three miles apart.

Shrovetide football's few rules

  • Players must keep out of churchyards, cemeteries and memorial gardens
  • Transporting the ball in cars and killing your opponents are also forbidden
  • Each team goals by banging the ball three times on a single post at either Clifton or Sturston
  • Each team goals at their own end of the town
  • Leading players draw lots for who will be allowed to goal
  • Up to four games are played over two days

There were unconfirmed reports of several injuries during the first day of the game.

Two people are given the "Shrovetide honour" of starting the game by throwing the ball into the waiting crowd.

Local butcher Nigel Brown "turned up" the ball on Wednesday.

Goals are mill wheels set in huge stone plinths on the banks of the Henmore Brook at the sites of two former mills.

To score, a player must stand in the Henmore and tap the ball three times against the wheel.

Scoring means you will be carried back into the town by your team shoulder high and cheered by hundreds of spectators.

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