No-holds barred as Shrovetide tradition plays on in Alnwick

Forget this week’s Champions League, the real football action was played out on a pitch a furlong long in a game packed with thrills, spills and no-holds-barred tackling.

By Janet Hall
Thursday, 7th March 2019, 8:48 am
Updated Thursday, 7th March 2019, 8:53 am
Hale-mouth action in the shadow of Alnwick Castle. Picture by Jane Coltman
Hale-mouth action in the shadow of Alnwick Castle. Picture by Jane Coltman

The traditional Shrovetide match between the parishes of St Michael’s and St Paul’s was held in the Pastures by Alnwick Castle on Tuesday, with St Michael’s taking the bragging rights again this year with a 1-0 victory.

The sole goal – or hale – was scored in the 61st minute by Shrovetide veteran and St Michael’s captain Lee Pattinson, the fifth year running he has scored in the match.

Fresh from the Aln, Ali Miller and Steven Temple with the ball. Picture by Jane Coltman

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The game attracted around 77 players, including American students from St Cloud State University, who are currently studying at Alnwick Castle, and more than 200 spectators.

Shrovetide committee secretary Archie Jenkins said: “It’s been the best contested game we have had for many years. The committee were delighted.”

The fixture, one of only five Shrovetide games still played in England, began in traditional fashion, with the Duke of Northumberland throwing the ball from Alnwick Castle’s Barbican to the waiting crowds below.

Led by a piper, the players, spectators and committee then marched down The Peth to the match field.

The Duke of Northumberland throws the ball from the Barbican at Alnwick Castle. Picture by Jane Coltman

After the game was over, the ball was kicked into the River Aln, prompting the usual scramble into the chilly water to reach it first and carry it to the opposite bank.

It was business as usual for another Shrovetide veteran, Steven Temple, who carried the ball from the river.

Steven, who plays for St Paul’s, said: “It was a good game. Hopefully next year we’ll get revenge.”

Good play awards were presented to: Lee Pattinson; Conor Knox; Dean Kulinich; Nathaniel Akoute; Brandon Grieve; Ellie Boisen; Josh McMeekin; Luke McMeekin; Konnor Doole; Rory Donaldson; James Wollit; Maddie Shetnan; Leixe Huttonhopper; Ali Miller; Dan Goodwin; Stephen Richards; Sean Angus; Paul Muers; T Hardman.

The procession from the castle down to the pastures. Pictures by Jane Coltman

Click here for video of the match.

Students from St Cloud State University in the USA took part. Picture by Jane Coltman
The scramble for the ball in the River Aln. Picture by Jane Coltman
Action from the Shrovetide match. Picture by Jane Coltman
Here we go! Picture by Jane Coltman