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Last Updated: Saturday, 22 March 2008, 11:36 GMT
Germans lose their marbles crown
Dave Atkin from the Handcross 49ers
Dave Atkin from the West Sussex Handcross 49ers plays a shot
Competitors at the annual World Marble Championships celebrated long into the evening after a British team beat the Germans for the first time in years.

The Yorkshire Meds took the silver trophy from reigning champions, 1st MC Erzgebirge II at the tournament in Tinsley Green, West Sussex.

German teams had won for several years, with a break of one year in 2005.

"It was very good to see the Germans beaten for once," said landlord of the Greyhound Inn, Dennis Baxindale.

The village, near Crawley, is reputed to be the scene of an epic marbles battle in Elizabethan times over the hand of a local maiden.

The competition, which has been held at the pub since 1932, attracts competitors from as far afield as Australia and hundreds of spectators.

Mr Baxindale said an Australian team flew in this year only the night before the traditional Good Friday event.

'Big drinkers'

A total of 21 teams, ranging in age from 11 to 70 took part, including three from Germany.

Teams, each made up of six people, take to the marble ring in a series of knock-out rounds.

Sam McCarthy-Fox, secretary of the British Marbles Board of Control, said many of the competitors took the game very seriously, with some teams practising several times a week.

He said contestants must abide by a strict set of rules, so must know their fudging from their cabbaging.

Apart from that, "a strong thumb and a good hand-eye coordination are the most important skills to have", he said.

'Too much beer' blamed for marbles loss
18 Apr 03 |  Southern Counties
Trying not to lose their marbles
29 Mar 02 |  England

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