Villagers continue 1,000-year tradition by taking part in annual ball game

Villagers took part in the annual game.
Villagers took part in the annual game.
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Villagers continued an almost 1,000-year-old tradition this afternoon by taking part in an annual sporting event.

The Shrove Tuesday Ball Game, which sees competitors battle for possession of a small leather ball, has been taking place in Sedgefield, County Durham.

Villagers took part in the annual game.

Villagers took part in the annual game.

The game is thought to date back to 1256, when the stonemason who completed St Edmund’s Church challenged the countrymen to a celebratory game of football.

It has since been played annually there, with very few rules.

However, there is a free drink for the first player to take a ball into one of the local pubs, and each year, a resident is chosen to kick-off the games by passing the ball through the bull ring on the village green three times.

Villagers took part in the annual game.

Villagers took part in the annual game.

Villagers took part in the annual game.

Villagers took part in the annual game.

Villagers took part in the annual game.

Villagers took part in the annual game.

Villagers took part in the annual game.

Villagers took part in the annual game.

Villagers took part in the annual game.

Villagers took part in the annual game.