Sedgefield Ball Game
According to tradition, the parish clerk is obliged to furnish a football on Shrove Tuesday, which he throws into the market place, where it is contested for by the mechanics against the agriculturists of the town and neighbourhood. More recently, however, it is a secret group of local residents who organise the game, provide the ball and choose who will start the game off.
The ball is made from leather. Its maker is a secret for fear of persecution. At 1.00 p.m, it is passed three times through a bull ring in the centre of the village. The object of the game used to be to "ally" the ball at two goals at either end of the village. However the ball can not be allied until 4.00 p.m.. due to the expansion of the village it now has only one "ally", which has been slightly moved from its original setting. The ally is a beck at the south of the village. During the time between 1 and 4 the ball is played around the surrounding villages, and it is a great privilege to get even a kick, as it can get quite physical. The first person to get the ball to any of the local pubs by tradition receives a free drink.
Once the ball has been allied it must be returned to the bull ring in the centre of the village and passed through it three times. The whole task is quite difficult as this is an individual and not a team game.
- A report and photographs from the Ball Game in 2005.
- Shrovetide shenanigans a special Report from the BBC, (February 24, 1998)
- Hundreds take part in Sedgefield Ball Game
- Delivery driver wins annual Sedgefield ball game