Shrovetide kick-off looms

Action from last year's Alnwick Shrove Tuesday football match.
Action from last year's Alnwick Shrove Tuesday football match.
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Alnwick’s annual Shrovetide football match kicks off on Tuesday, as the parishes of St Michael and St Paul do battle once again.

The ball will be dropped from the Barbican of Alnwick Castle at 2pm and the players and spectators will then march down the Peth to the furlong-in-length match field at the Pastures.

Prizes of £10 will be awarded to the scorer of the first and second goals, known as hales, and £20 to the scorer of the third or conquering hale. Up to 20 prizes of £2 will be awarded in recognition of good play.

After the game, the ball is kicked into the River Aln, prompting a mad scramble in the water to reach it first and carry it to the opposite bank.

The match is played in two periods of 30 minutes each. If the score is then even, a final period of 45 minutes is played. A period is ended once a hale is scored.

Last year, veteran player Steven Temple scored two hales to win the clash for St Paul’s parish.

The ancient game dates back centuries in the town.