As darkness descended on day one of this year’s annual Shrovetide, a hero emerged and etched his name in the competition’s folklore.
Tom Leighton, from Kniveton, gave the Up’ards the advantage after he successfully goaled the ball at 8.14pm at Sturston Mill – more than six hours after the ball was turned up Shaw Croft car park.
Our reporter Alex Canner revealed that the goal came from a tactical ‘hug’ involving the Up’ards conducted away from the action, and in the 20-minute huddle, Tom was chosen as the would-be scorer.
Taylor Umland spoke to the Up’ards hero after his goal, listen to what he had to say:
Following his success, Tom was carried into the Greenman pub where he was greeted with a hero’s welcome… and a pint or two!
Describing the moment he scored, Tom said: “I can’t even explain what it’s like – just an unbelievable feeling. When you’re a couple of fields out, you start thinking: ‘We’ve got it’, you think it’s going to go all the way now but you’re never quite sure until it’s done.”
This video, by University of Derby student Liz Ford, shows the moment that Tom was carried into the Greenman pub after scoring his crucial goal.
As per Shrovetide tradition, Tom, after his goal, took the ball home, and may keep the ball for as long as he desires.
Day two will resume at 2pm with a new ball, and the Down’ards who trail will be hoping for a better day in Ashbourne as they search for a goal of their own.
You can follow all the action from day 2 at Storyhub’s Ashbourne Royal Shrovetide live blog.