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Ashbourne Royal Shrovetide

Ashbourne Royal Shrovetide Football is a game played in the Derbyshire town of Ashbourne over Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday.


Unlike a conventional football match this game is played over 2 days, from 2pm-10pm. The goals are 3 miles apart, located in Strurston & Clifton. The leather ball – which has a cork inner – is thrown (turned up) from a stone plinth on Shaw Croft car park, from which a large group of players (the hug) try and move the ball to their goal by pushing against the opposition.

 A ball is goaled by tapping it three times against the mill wheel which forms part of the goal plinth. If the ball is goaled before 5pm, a new ball is turned up and the scorer is allowed to keep the ball. If it is scored after 5pm, play ends for that day. Play has to finish by 10pm each day.


Your team depends on which side of the Henmore Brook you were born. Those born on the south are Down’Ards and try to goal the ball at Clifton Mill. Those born on the north are Up’Ards and try to goal the ball at the Sturston Mill

Spectators come from all around the world to watch the annual game, with many following the ball all day through the streets of the town, over fields and in the river. Local shop owners prepare for the game by boarding up the front of their shops and windows to protect them from the hug!


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