Commando team get stuck in for charity
Sports lovers are being sought to join an ancient game that takes place once a year in Kent on a pitch more than a mile long.
Now in its fourth year, the Chiddingstone Real Football match has become a staple feature of Good Friday with two teams of at least 100 competing in the no holds barred event in 2015.
A mixture of football and rugby, the four-hour game sees the sides compete over fields, rivers and woodland with the aim of getting the ball to their respective goals at either end of the pitch.
And now the organisers want to extend the sport’s appeal beyond the local area with the hope of recruiting new players from Kent and the South East.
“For the last two years we’ve had 100 people turning up for what is the most fun day out,” said Andrew Hutchinson, chairman of the Chiddingstone Real Football Committee. “We have some very hardy players who show us fantastic loyalty but we want to double the numbers taking part.
“It is a lot of fun for the villages around Chiddingstone but we don’t want it to be exclusively for the people living here, we want it to be a ‘Kent’ game.
“And since the two goals are based at pubs, The Castle Inn in the village and the Rock Inn at Chiddingstone Hoath, players can take a break, have a pint, and then come out again to look for the action.”
The sport, which is also played in Ashbourne, Derbyshire, and can draw up to 2,000 participants, takes place on Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday.
Chiddingstone’s version features four referees, two on the pitch and one at each of the two pubs to check players attempting to score touch the ball three times on one of the marked “goal barrels”.
The round ball can be kicked or thrown and the rules are fairly limited but there are a few things players must avoid doing if they want to stay out of trouble.
There’s a perimeter road around the field’s that forms the boundary for the field of play but none of the players are allowed to go over the boundary or go on private property with the ball and they must remain on foot.
This year’s match will be on March 25 and the after-match party featuring live music will take place in The Castle Inn in Chiddingstone.
Players are charged £10 to take part and all the money raised will go to charity, with Demelza Children’s hospice, and hospice in the weald being the main two.
Contact – Katie Ashworth – firstname.lastname@example.org / 07730331800