by Beth Wood and Isaac Martin
It has arrived once again – that moment when the streets of Ashbourne become the home of an epic two-day event.
Royal Shrovetide Football takes place on Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday. The people of Ashbourne join one of two teams for the action, depending on which side of the Henmore Brook they are born on.
The Up’ards and Down’ards gather in the town for Shrovetide and the game starts when the ball is ‘turned up’. This is the moment when the ball is dropped into the crowd of waiting footballers from a stone plinth at the town’s Shaw Croft car park to start the match.
This year, Shrove Tuesday’s turner up will be Paul Harrison, while the man chosen to turn up the Ash Wednesday ball is retained firefighter Paul Holmes, who led Ashbourne’s fire service for 28 years.
Before you even think about taking part in the match, make sure you’re in the know when it comes to the rules.
In a Facebook post, The Royal Shrovetide Players Committee have released the following list of dos and don’ts for players:
– No play or spectators in any places of religious worship, the Churchyard or The Cemetery.
– No play or spectators in any building sites.
– No play or spectators in St Oswald’s Hospital or within the grounds of the Hospital.
– The ball must not be out of play for any longer than 2 hours.
– No conveying of the ball in a motor vehicle.
– Any goal scored on or before 5.30pm will result in a second ball being turned up, any goal after 5.30pm must be on or before 10.00pm and will result in the end of play.
– Listen to and heed advice of all marshals.
– Have respect for people’s property and vehicles.
Here an audio summary by Alex Wood and Jamie Fry: