Mick Pepper who has been heavily involved in the club for many years will be given the honour of turning up the ball to start Ashbourne Royal Shrovetide’s annual football match on Shrove Tuesday, February 17th.
The rugby connection this year is only deepened as fellow rugby man and life member of the club Mick Betteridge will take the honour for the second day of the match on Ash Wednesday, February 18th.
The ball itself, pictured below, has been painted by Simon Hellaby who also has strong links with the club. It took Simon a painstaking 50+ hours to complete and includes the NLD & Derbyshire RFU logos.
The excitement for the match builds months in advance and attracts visitors from all parts of the globe.
SHROVETIDE – THE FACTS
Ashbourne Royal Shrovetide Football is played every Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday.
The game is played over two eight-hour periods.
The goals are three miles apart and there are a few rules.
The leather ball, which has a cork inner, is “turned up” from a stone plinth in Shaw Croft car park in Ashbourne town centre. The ball is thrown into the air and into the “hug”, a large group of players who try to move the ball to their goal by pushing against the opposition.
Your team depends on which side of the Henmore Brook you were born on. Those born on the south are Down’ards and try to goal the ball at the old Clifton Mill. Those born on the north are Up’ards and try to goal the ball at the old Sturston Mill.
The game takes place through the streets, over fields and in the river.