by Courtney Groom, Isaac Martin and Farida Nsona
The Royal Shrovetide Football 2019 action has begun and thousands of people are getting stuck into the match which is taking place across Ashbourne.
And, while reporting on it here at StoryHub Derby, we’ve learnt that tracking the ball is quite a hard task – even with 40+ journalism students out chasing the action.
Which got us thinking: What happens if the Shrovetide ball goes missing?
Our reporter Courtney Groom has spoken to one of the stewards, Sharon, about exactly what happens. She said that if the ball disappears for more than two hours, then it is classed as null and void. She also added that, during this period, the ball “has to be seen by nobody” before this happens.
Sharon also said that, when the ball goes missing: “Everybody goes off to have a look around and just to try to work out where it’s gone to.”
Last year on day one of Shrovetide, the ball was thought to have gone missing for just under two hours, with many participants believing it was going to end up being a draw.
Luckily, the ball resurfaced around 8.45pm, with the Down’ards gaining possession and going on to score the winning goal of the day.
In 2015, the game ended with no goal when the ball went missing. Unfortunately, there was no way to replace the ball as they are specially made each year with cork chippings in order to float in the river.
Follow our live blog on the Storyhub homepage for all the latest updates from Ashbourne.