This yet another version of the ancient game of Shrovetide Football that occurs every Shove Tuesday in the town of Ashbourne, Derbyshire.
This short film is only a fleeting impression of what goes off
It is a game played with great good humour- although it is not all that gentle!
Think of the game of Rugby, but with less padding or protection and surprisingly few rules!
There are very few rules...basically, don't go in the churchyard, keep away from the Jehovah's Witness' Kingdom Hall plus one or two other places.
The most important rule is that no homicide is committed!
Oh, and don't forget to 'goal' the ball at the appropriate place.
The goals are the sites of two mills, which are about three miles apart, on upstream of the town and one downstream. The two teams are called upp'ards and down'ards and consist of a couple of hundred players on either side.
To the casual observer the game has all the appearance of some kind of riot, but nothing could be further from the truth.
Both teams have members who specialize in the 'huddle' ( looks like a brawling mass of bodies ), runners ( who carry the ball towards the appropriate goal. There are also those who perform dummy runs and these are known as decoys ( no surprise there then ).
That is a very, very simple explanation of how things happen in the game.
It is just a tad more complicated than that.
The game can be very dynamic and move at alarming speed only to seemingly halt whilst another huddle is 'sorted out'.
Injuries are more or less inevitable. In fact, on this particular occasion ( 2009 ) I seem to remember that within in twenty minutes of the start there had been one broken leg, a couple of dislocated ( possibly broken ) legs and one heart attack!
It takes a heck of a lot of commitment, discipline and determination to be an active participant in this game?
It is is not a game for the Faint-hearted!
I used Avid Pinnacle Studio 15 to edit the images and SonicFirePro 5.8 to provide the music.