Winner of Atherstone Ball Game announced as eagerly awaited event returns

A winner has been crowned following the eagerly awaited return of the annual Atherstone Ball Game.

The event, which takes place annually on Shrove Tuesday, honours a match played between Leicestershire and Warwickshire in 1199 in which the latter won and when teams used a bag of gold as a ball.

Warwickshire locals tend to fight over a giant, leather ball for two hours on Long Street, with the winner the person who has their hands on it when the klaxon is sounded.

Now in its 824th year, the popular event celebrated its latest winner – Alex Young.

Shrove Tuesday Atherstone Ball Game 2024
Players take part in the 824th Atherstone Ball Game (Jacob King/PA)

Groups of people were pictured huddling around the giant leather ball as it was propelled and thrown around the town.

Shrove Tuesday Atherstone Ball Game 2024
One man was seen enthusiastically kicking the ball (Jacob King/PA)

One man looked particularly focused on perfecting his kick, while others cradled the ball or reached out to grab it.

Shrove Tuesday Atherstone Ball Game 2024
Large crowds gathered for the event (Jacob King/PA)

Many were also seen cheering and chanting as proceedings took place, with what appeared to be confectionary being thrown at attendees at one point, who scrabbled to get their hands on a piece.

Police were on hand to monitor the match and to keep the crowds under control.