The fiercely-contested Alnwick Shrovetide football match was won by the parish of St Michael who beat rivals St Paul’s in a muddy encounter this afternoon.
It was a game of only two halves as Lee Patinson and Robbie Coxford scored for St Michael’s, bringing an relatively abrupt halt to proceedings in bright but chilly conditions.
Today’s fixture was a poignant one, as the two sons of the late Eric Hately, who was a stalwart of the annual clash, got the event under way.
The Duke of Northumberland, who normally performs the ritual, had asked the brothers to carry out the task. Peter took up the job as Robin watched on.
The game then began on the Pastures alongside the River Aln, with Shrovetide secretary Archie Jenkins clocking over 500 people attending the match, much larger than in previous years.
The traditional Shrove Tuesday match pits the two parishes against each other in a local derby with few rules, played in the Pastures opposite Alnwick Castle.
Once the clash was over, the ball was kicked into the river, prompting a mad scramble in the water to reach it first and carry it to the opposite bank.
The first to get it across was Ali Miller, 21, from Alnwick. He said: “I was happy I’d managed to beat some of my family to the ball.”
The match is normally 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.