Lost Royal Shrovetide Football ball found in hedge

People reaching for the ball at the Ashbourne Shrovetide Football game Image copyright Chris Newsome
Image caption The ball from the second day of Ashbourne's Royal Shrovetide Football was lost in the top of a leylandii tree

A ball that disappeared in the middle of Royal Shrovetide Football, bringing the game to a confused end, has been discovered lodged in a hedge.

The annual game is played between Up'ards and Down'ards in Ashbourne, Derbyshire, over two days.

This year, the Up'ards took the honours on Tuesday but Wednesday's game ended when the ball was lost in Mayfield.

Some suspected foul play but organisers said it was an "ill-fated attempt" to launch the ball towards goal.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Hundreds of people took part in the game, which resembles an informal rugby scrum

Shrovetide committee member Mike Betteridge, who turned up the ball on Wednesday, said: "There was frantic searching for nearly an hour before a group of Up'ards found it.

"It had lodged itself in the upper branches of the hedge, which was a leylandii, and no-one could see it."

Because nobody goaled the ball, Mr Betteridge gets to keep it.

Image copyright AFP

Shrovetide glossary

  • Turned Up or Thrown Up: Ball being thrown into the massed players to start the game
  • Down'ard/Up'ard: The two teams
  • Hug: The name given to the mass of people who push the ball around the town. Similar to a scrum in rugby
  • Goals: The structures at each mill which need to be hit three times with the ball to be valid
  • Henmore: The river that runs through the centre of Ashbourne; the side of it a person is born on determines the team he or she plays for

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption There are few rules and only cemeteries, churchyards and building sites are out of bounds

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