IT HAS been a triumphant two days for both the Up’ards and the Down’ards, who ended this year’s Ashbourne Royal Shrovetide games with a goal a-piece.
The hard-fought games saw the players and followers enduring some of the worst weather conditions in living memory, with a cold end to Shrove Tuesday followed by a snowy and wet day on Ash Wednesday.
But the followers that did stick out the entirety of the games, rather than running for the shelter and warmth of the town’s pubs, were treated to two of the most open and exciting matches seen in many years.
Rather than the usual recent format of the balls being snatched away from the hugs by runners, both days saw relentless surges by each hug, with hardly any to-ing and fro-ing in between.
On Shrove Tuesday, the Up’ards took it all the way to Sturston Mill for a goal by David Spencer and, on Ash Wednesday, the Down’ards didn’t stop as they chased their much-needed equaliser all the way to Clifton with James Carter taking the glory at the mill stone.
Observing a time-honoured tradition, the News Telegraph followed players to their respective goals on Sunday to capture the moment when each side toasted their victories at the plinths.
•The News Telegraph’s annual Ashbourne Royal Shrovetide Football Souvenir Edition is on sale now, priced at £1, and this year has seen our biggest effort ever to bring readers exclusive reports, pictures and features.
During the two days the News Telegraph pooled resources, borrowed members of staff from sister titles and called in favours to stay ahead of the action.
Footage, comment, pictures and stories can also be seen on the News Telegraph’s special web page, which can also be seen at www.ashbournenewstelegraph.co.uk/shrovetide