The “hood” gets proceedings underway.
Squelching mud is often a feature of this rugby-cum-rollerball game. It has been played out at the beginning of January each year since the early 1800’s between Haxey and Westwoodside; two local villages on the Lincolnshire-Nottinghamshire border in Northern England.
The occasion begins with a time-honoured ritual in front of the parish church. The ceremonial Fool, jumps up on his personal stone to yell out the rules to all-comers.
The “hood” is a thick piece of rope, about 3ft long and covered with leather. When the hood is flung into the air there then ensues a huge scrum, this is known as the “sway”.
The aim is to manhandle it all the way back to the winners’ favourite pub.
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