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They’ve all gone flipping crazy! Towns and villages across the country celebrate Shrove Tuesday with traditional pancake races – and even the odd game of 500-a-side

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Towns and villages across the county celebrate Shrove Tuesday with traditional pancake races and even an enormous football match which dates back to the 12th century. 

Locals in Ashbourne, Derbyshire, braved the cold to tussle for the ball in the traditional Shrovetide football match  

Shrovetide football is played in the market town every Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday and the first match took place in 1667 – more than 500 years after it was first played under Henry II’s reign.  

The annual spectacle sees hundreds of people in two teams – the Up’ards and the Down’ards who are from opposite ends of the town – battle for the ball and try and score during the two-day event.

However, the match it very different from football and rugby union played today because the goals are three miles apart. 

It started at 2pm today and hundreds of people were seen using their smartphones to record the action.

The ball is slightly larger than a regular football. 

The game was just one of the events which was taking place in the UK to celebrate Shrove Tuesday.

Dozens of people dressed up and ran past each other in the town of Olney, Buckinghamshire, while MPs and members of the House of Lords in Victoria Tower Gardens near Parliament for two traditional pancake races.

Hundreds of people were seen tussling for the ball in Ashbourne, Derbyshire, on Monday afternoon after the famous Royal Shrovetide Football match started at 2pm 

Hundreds of people were seen tussling for the ball in Ashbourne, Derbyshire, on Monday afternoon after the famous Royal Shrovetide Football match started at 2pm 

The ball - which had a Derby County badge on the side - was tossed in the air and players from the two sides, Down'ards and Up'ards tried to gain possession before heading towards the goals, which are three miles apart 

The ball – which had a Derby County badge on the side – was tossed in the air and players from the two sides, Down’ards and Up’ards tried to gain possession before heading towards the goals, which are three miles apart 

Organisers started the annual match today by throwing the ball into the crowd of people who had gathered to take part in the game, which was first played in Britain in the 12th century 

Organisers started the annual match today by throwing the ball into the crowd of people who had gathered to take part in the game, which was first played in Britain in the 12th century 

One man in a white shirt was being held up and tried to grab the ball after it was thrown into the crowd in the town centre on Tuesday afternoon 

One man in a white shirt was being held up and tried to grab the ball after it was thrown into the crowd in the town centre on Tuesday afternoon 

Rival teams the 'Up'ards and Down'ards' battle for the ball during the annual Shrovetide football match in Ashbourne, Derbyshire

Rival teams the ‘Up’ards and Down’ards’ battle for the ball during the annual Shrovetide football match in Ashbourne, Derbyshire

Hundreds of participants aim to get a ball into one of two goals that are positioned three miles apart at either end of Ashbourne

Hundreds of participants aim to get a ball into one of two goals that are positioned three miles apart at either end of Ashbourne

Players during the annual Royal Shrovetide football match in Ashbourne, Derbyshire which takes place over two eight-hour periods, on Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday with the goals three miles apart

Players during the annual Royal Shrovetide football match in Ashbourne, Derbyshire which takes place over two eight-hour periods, on Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday with the goals three miles apart

Rival teams 'Up'ards' and 'Down'ards' battle for the ball during the Royal Shrovetide Football match in Ashbourne

Rival teams ‘Up’ards’ and ‘Down’ards’ battle for the ball during the Royal Shrovetide Football match in Ashbourne

Hundreds of participants battle it out in a game dating back to the 17th Century where the aim is to get a ball into one of two goals that are positioned three miles apart at either end of Ashbourne

Hundreds of participants battle it out in a game dating back to the 17th Century where the aim is to get a ball into one of two goals that are positioned three miles apart at either end of Ashbourne

Players scrabble for the ball, hidden in amongst the huge crowd, during the annual Royal Shrovetide Football match in Ashbourne

Players scrabble for the ball, hidden in amongst the huge crowd, during the annual Royal Shrovetide Football match in Ashbourne

A competitor lands in a heap on the grass during the annual Shrovetide football match in Ashbourne, in Derbyshire 

A competitor lands in a heap on the grass during the annual Shrovetide football match in Ashbourne, in Derbyshire 

The match starts on Shrove Tuesday and can last until 10pm. If a goal is scored before 6pm, then a new ball is 'turned up' again and a new game started

The match starts on Shrove Tuesday and can last until 10pm. If a goal is scored before 6pm, then a new ball is ‘turned up’ again and a new game started

The match occurs annually on Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday and has been played since at least the 12th Century

The match occurs annually on Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday and has been played since at least the 12th Century

Three spectators dressed up in pink clothing to help support the teams as they tried to win the match which is played every Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday 

Three spectators dressed up in pink clothing to help support the teams as they tried to win the match which is played every Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday 

The action started at 2pm and if a goal is scored before 5.30pm on Tuesday a new ball is released and the game will restart. The play will end for the day if a goal is scored after 5.30pm

The action started at 2pm and if a goal is scored before 5.30pm on Tuesday a new ball is released and the game will restart. The play will end for the day if a goal is scored after 5.30pm

People could barely move in the streets as they battle each other to try and get possession of the ball just minutes after the match kicked off 

People could barely move in the streets as they battle each other to try and get possession of the ball just minutes after the match kicked off 

Shops in Ashbourne, Derbyshire, prepare for the annual Shrovetide football match in the town by drilling wooden structures in front of shop doors and windows

Shops in Ashbourne, Derbyshire, prepare for the annual Shrovetide football match in the town by drilling wooden structures in front of shop doors and windows

Shop fronts board their windows in preparation for the start of the Shrovetide Football match where rival teams 'Up'ards' and 'Down'ards' battle for the ball

Shop fronts board their windows in preparation for the start of the Shrovetide Football match where rival teams ‘Up’ards’ and ‘Down’ards’ battle for the ball

A WHSmith store in Ashbourne was boarded up hours before hundreds of people marched down the high street to take part in the annual match

A WHSmith store in Ashbourne was boarded up hours before hundreds of people marched down the high street to take part in the annual match

Six men had climbed on top of a wall as hundreds of people on the streets tried to get hold of the ball during the first day of the two-day event 

Six men had climbed on top of a wall as hundreds of people on the streets tried to get hold of the ball during the first day of the two-day event 

One man was seen using a drill to put wooden beams in front of a shop to protect it from the hundreds of people taking part in the traditional game today and tomorrow 

One man was seen using a drill to put wooden beams in front of a shop to protect it from the hundreds of people taking part in the traditional game today and tomorrow 

Participants take part in the annual Olney Pancake Race in Market Place, Olney, Buckinghamshire, in a tradition which dates back to 1445

Participants take part in the annual Olney Pancake Race in Market Place, Olney, Buckinghamshire, in a tradition which dates back to 1445

Women were seen desperately holding on to frying pans as they sprinted down the streets to take part in the traditional race in Olney, Buckinghamshire 

Women were seen desperately holding on to frying pans as they sprinted down the streets to take part in the traditional race in Olney, Buckinghamshire 

The BBC's Diplomatic correspondent James Landale (right) and MP Matt Warman (left) approach the first corner in the annual Parliamentary Pancake Race in Victoria Tower Gardens

The BBC’s Diplomatic correspondent James Landale (right) and MP Matt Warman (left) approach the first corner in the annual Parliamentary Pancake Race in Victoria Tower Gardens

MPs and members of the House of Lords compete in the annual Rehab pancake race, a relay of eleven laps in Victoria Tower Gardens adjacent to the Houses of Parliament in London

MPs and members of the House of Lords compete in the annual Rehab pancake race, a relay of eleven laps in Victoria Tower Gardens adjacent to the Houses of Parliament in London

Six other MPs and members of the House of Lords were laughing as they flipped pancakes during the annual race on Shrove Tuesday 

Six other MPs and members of the House of Lords were laughing as they flipped pancakes during the annual race on Shrove Tuesday 

Television journalist Alastair Stewart was photographed posing for the camera before the annual Parliamentary Pancake Race in Westminster in London today

Television journalist Alastair Stewart was photographed posing for the camera before the annual Parliamentary Pancake Race in Westminster in London today

A large group of women were pictured ran next to each other and desperately tried to not drop their frying pans which all contained pancakes 

A large group of women were pictured ran next to each other and desperately tried to not drop their frying pans which all contained pancakes 

Two women were seen running away from the rest of the group as they went past a pub in Market Place, Olney, Buckinghamshire, for the annual pancake race 

Two women were seen running away from the rest of the group as they went past a pub in Market Place, Olney, Buckinghamshire, for the annual pancake race 

Traditional game which was first played in a Derbyshire market town in 1667

The annual Royal Shrovetide football takes place in Ashbourne, Derbyshire, every Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday.

Hundreds of players make up the two teams – the Up’Ards and the Down’Ards – who are from different parts of the market town, 13 miles north west of Derby. 

Their task is to get the ball into a goal which are positioned three miles apart and at opposite parts of the town.

In order to score a goal, members of a team have to jump into the local river.

The game starts at 2pm when somebody – usually a well-known person in the town – throws the ball, which is made locally, into the crowd.

People will continue to play until 10pm if a goal has not been scored. 

If a goal is scored after 5.30pm the match will stop on Shrove Tuesday and resume again at 2pm on Ash Wednesday.  

There are a few rules to the unique match however it is very different from association football and rugby union and rugby league. 

Is was first played during Henry II’s reign in the 12th century and there are reports showing it was played in Ashbourne as early as 1667.

Hundreds of people gathered in Ashbourne, Derbyshire, to take part in the traditional game - 351 years after it was first played in the town

Hundreds of people gathered in Ashbourne, Derbyshire, to take part in the traditional game – 351 years after it was first played in the town

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