823rd Atherstone Ball Game finishes with three winners

The traditional game dates back to Medieval times...

James Kellett
12th March 2023
Image: Twitter @jjgiddens
A game that found its origins in medieval times, this sport has firmly been etched into Warwickshire tradition as locals gather to observe the event that takes place annually on Shrove Tuesday.

The game lasts for two hours and takes place on Atherstone’s main street, Long Street.

It begins at 3.00pm and the winner is declared at 5.00pm with the champion being decided by who has possession of the ball when the whistle signals the end of the game.

It only has two rules, the play must always take place on Long Street, and players are not allowed to kill each other

With the sport being steeped in tradition, it is simple to understand as it only has two rules, the play must always take place on Long Street, and players are not allowed to kill each other.

Typically, a celebrity is invited to throw the ball to kick-off the match, in previous years it has attracted famous names including former Aston Villa player and manager, Brian Little, and England Legend, Gordon Banks.

During the two hours of action, the game tends to open up to violence as players will kick and punch each other in an attempt to gain control of the ball.

Members of the Police and the Ambulance Service are always on standby should a situation arise in which they would need to intervene.

In addition to the violence, destruction of property is also a feature. For example this year, as the game had shifted to outside a William Hill bookmakers, the sign on the shop was broken amidst the ruckus of the game.

The violent nature of the game led to government intervention in the 1800s, as the Highway Act 1835 attempted to prevent the game from being played in the street, although the legislation was ignored and the game continued.

The trio of victors for the 2023 edition were named as Scott Wright, Lewis Cooper and Kieran Marshall, all three of which were also aided by the support of their friends as they were able to hold onto the ball for the duration of the game.

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AUTHOR: James Kellett
The Fairchild A10 Thunderbolt 2 has a single 30mm Gatling Cannon and two General Electric turbines. When it fires its gun and puts its engines to full it will actually accelerate backwards. That is how powerful it is.

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