Royal Ashbourne Shrovetide Football 2008 - 6th February 2008
Date 26th January 2008 Description Ashbourne Shrovetide 2008
Start Point Shaw Croft Car Park Peaks Climbed  
Temperature 6-8°C Grid Ref SK 18048 46760
Elevation at Start 128 metres Temperature 10°C
Walking With Thousands Weather Sunny & Dry

I took part (for a short time anyway) and followed the game during its second day of play on Ash Wednesday. A fantastic and unique (almost free for all) football game played throughout the streets and fields (and river) of Ashbourne with the goals about 2 miles apart. The ball was turned up by a local ex-stock car racer Dave Mellor. I followed the game from the start at 2.00pm until 6.30pm (when it was getting a bit too dark to see the play in the fields). The game carried on until nearly 10.00pm when the Up’ards scored. The sun was shining once again which made watching the game a lot easier. I bet the insurance premium is a lot for an event like this!!

Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday herald one of the worlds oldest, largest, longest and maddest football games. This year there has been an accusation of cheating at the Royal Shrovetide Game. An investigation is underway into whether a second ball was introduced during Wednesdays game shortly before the ball was goaled. The secreatary of the Shrovetide Committee, Mick Betteridge, says they are taking the allegations seriously.

The final result was Up'ards 2 Down'ards 0. Tuesdays goal was scored by Stuart Lemon just before 8.00pm. Wednesdays ball was scored by Matt Burtonshaw (27) at 9.56pm and is said to have grabbed a loose ball and ran like the wind. Apparently he was unstoppable.

Tuesdays ball was turned up by David Wheatcroft (Chief Executive of Derbyshire Dales District Council). Wednesdays ball was turned up by Dave Mellor (local businessman, champion stock car racer and former player of the game).

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Ashbourne from Derby Road
Ashbourne from Derby Road
Sainsburys is boarded up
Ashbourne Shrovetide Poster
Walking down Compton
Gathering before the start on Shaw Croft
Waiting for the start
A few rules are given before the start
Dave Mellor arrives with the Shrovetide Ball
Dave Mellor and Shrovetide Ball
Dave Mellor and Shrovetide Ball
Close up of the Shrovetide Ball
Almost ready to start
Dave Mellor gets ready to throw the ball
The hug near the Shaw Croft Plinth
Looking out for the ball
Crowds gather near the bus station
Crowds gather near the bus station
The ball is thrown into the air ...
... and again
The hug is now near the Old School
The ball in Clifton Road
The ball in Clifton Road
The ball in Clifton Road
The ball in Clifton Road
Crowds gather in Clifton Road
Crowds gather in Clifton Road ...
... the ball is thrown into the air once more
Getting a better view
Bridge over River Henmore
The Shrovetide game ends up in the river
Watching from the riverbank
Still in the river ...
... and then it leaves
Still watching from the river bank
The ball heads across the fields
Looking back to Ashbourne ...
... and again
All sorts of obstacles block the way
Shrovetide Football sign
The hug arrives in Mayfield Road
Steam rises from the hug
The ball is around here somewhere
Even a hedge doesn't get in the way ...
... and still doesn't
In the dark who knows what is happening
Old Shrovetide Balls in shop window
Old Shrovetide Balls in shop window

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