Ashbourne Royal Shrovetide Football Social
PUBLISHED: 13:00 04 May 2010 | UPDATED: 17:07 20 February 2013
A record number of spectators crowded into Ashbourne for the annual Shrovetide match.
A record number of spectators crowded into Ashbourne for the annual Shrovetide match. Following the traditional lunch at the Green Man, West Derbyshire MP and Conservative ChiefWhip Patrick McLoughlin was escorted to the plinth at a packed Shawcroft to turn-up Tuesdays ball. After rousing renditions of Auld Lang Syne and the National Anthem from the excited crowd, he hurled the ball into the centre of a scrum of opposing Downards and Upards.
A slow and often gruelling afternoons play followed as the tightly-packed hug of players shielding the ball moved through the streets and even into the river. They stuck to their task despite the raw wintry weather and it was dark when a sudden break towards Clifton brought the days play to an end at around 6.30pm with a goal by Downard Kevin Clarke.
On Ash Wednesday it was the turn of local man John Harrison to launch the ball for the waiting players. A retired builder, Mr Harrison has hand-made the balls for the Shrovetide game for the last 20 years. Undeterred by the mud and cold, play continued until late at night when it was announced that a goal had been scored by Upards player Dave Spencer. A repeat of last years tie looked likely but following a dispute, the Committee ruled the goal had been scored after the 10pm deadline. Downards were able to celebrate their first victory for many years while the Upards retired to make plans for 2011.