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Ashbourne Shrovetide Football - how to score

Scoring at Clifton
Crowds gather and watch as the Down'ards score the ball at Clifton

The object of the game is to get the ball to your goal post - a process known as 'scoring the ball' or 'goalling the ball'.

There are two goal posts, one at Sturston Mill (for the Up'ards), the other at Clifton Mill (for the Down'ards). They are no less than three miles apart!

Scoring at Clifton
The ball is tapped three times on the mill stone to score

Contrary to popular belief, it is not always possible for just anyone to goal the ball.

When the hug and the ball get within striking distance of the post, leading players, usually drawn from a handful of well-known local families, draw lots as to who goals it.

As the ball nears one of the goals, the game is paused while the ball is handed to the player selected to score.

However, sometimes players break away with the ball and run directly to their goal to score the ball before anyone catches them!

Steve Bloor
Steve Bloor is carried back to the Green Man after scoring for the Down'ards in 2009

To goal a ball, the scorer stands in the Henmore and taps the ball three times against the stone goal plinth.

Once a ball is scored, that particular game ends.

If the ball is goaled before 5pm, a new ball is turned up at Shaw Croft and a new game started.

The scorer is allowed to keep the ball.

There are games on Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday.

The game has to finish by 10pm on each day.





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