Royal Shrovetide Football: Up'Ards grab advantage in ancient football game

Man in river
The ancient game is played throughout the entire town of Ashbourne
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A historic two-day football game involving thousands of players competing to move a ball to opposite ends of a Derbyshire town has begun.

The Royal Shrovetide Football game in Ashbourne - traditionally played on Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday - has been held nearly every year since at least 1667.

The Up'Ards were leading the game 1-0 at the end of the day on Tuesday.

This year's clash features the "biggest" ball in the event's history.

Boarded up shops
With next to no rules, play can often get rough as firms take precautions

The game sees thousands of players - in teams called the Up'Ards and Down'Ards - compete to move the specially-decorated ball - to opposite ends of the town.

At about 21:30 GMT on Tuesday, Will Nash "goaled" the ball for the Up'Ards, giving them the advantage ahead of day two.

Farmer John Tomlinson was given the honour of "turning the ball up" to get the game - which dates back to the 12th Century - under way.

Mr Tomlinson turned the ball up, 24 years after his father Philip did.


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