This is the big change planned for Ashbourne’s Royal Shrovetide event

This is the big change planned for Ashbourne's Royal Shrovetide's historic plinth

The Shrovetide plinth
Moments before the ball was turned up from the top of the plinth to start this year's game.

Organisers of the annual Ashbourne Shrovetide match have confirmed that 2020 will be the final year the ball is turned up from the current stone plinth.

Thousands of people gather around the plinth near the south wall of the town’s Shaw Croft car park at the start of the historic Shrovetide game.

But a new plinth is set to be built in the middle of the car park in time for next year’s game.

Nigel Brown, chairman of the Shrovetide Committee, said the move would make the game safer and the start smoother by reducing the crowd congestion in and around the car park.

The plinth at the Show Croft car park.
This year will be the last time the game starts from this plinth. Picture: Alex Wood

He said: “It will take the busy start of the game away from the main road, making the game safer.”

It is also thought that altering the location of the plinth will add balance and fairness to the passage of play as the original is not an equal distance between the Up’ards and Down’ards goals.

David Calladine, member of the Shrovetide Committee who scored a goal for the Up-ards in 1991, said: “The old plinth has had its time, the bricks are flaking. The new one will have a bigger platform.

“Will that give the Up’ards an advantage? I beg to differ.”

READ MORE: A quick guide to Shrovetide 2020

However, not everybody agrees with the move.

Melanie Flint, a Down’ard who has lived in Ashbourne for more than 40 years, said: “I think its ridiculous, its been like that for 700 years. I think we’ve managed so far.”

Lee Breely, who is visiting the event from Wales, said: “I’m not too sure about the idea of it being moved.”