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Uppies and Downies

Uppies and Downies from 2007

The Uppies and Downies are traditional a series of three matches, played over Easter.

The games take place on Good Friday, the following Tuesday, with the final game played on Easter Saturday.

The two teams are made of Uppies - those born above the Cloffocks and Downies - those born below the Cloffocks.

Though how you tell the teams apart in the middle of the scrimmage is anyone's guess!

Violence and aggression

Chasing the ball at Uppies and Downies
A lose ball has everybody jumping in the air to catch it

For many players, its enough to just touch or hold the ball in the middle of the scrum, but the ideal is to be "hailer of the ball" that is the person who finally wins the game for either the Uppies or the Downies.

There's up to 100 players all trying to get the ball at the same time, but over the course of the game, there can be 1000+ people involved in try to get the ball to its goal.

And despite the seeming violence and aggression involved in the game, there's rarely any serious trouble.

Worldwide interest

Uppies and Downies is one of only three mass-football events that are still played in the UK, the other two being at Ashbourne in Derbyshire and at Kirkwall in the Orkney Islands.

Uppies and Downies 2006

It's said that in earlier days up to 30,000 people would take part in Uppies and Downies.

There are no formal rules for the game, other than getting the ball to its goal and hailing it (raising above your head) three times, so games can rage on for hours at a time.

This is most definitely a close contact sport, which is now attracting interest from right around the world. In 2006 there was a French TV crew filming for an American television show.




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