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Sunday, 28 December 2014

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PHOTOS: Downies swing first victory against Uppies

Workington's Uppies and Downies mass football game got off to a flying start for the Downies, who won the first match of the series.

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It was an historic moment for one Workington family in the first of the town's Easter mass football game Uppies and Downies.

Joe Clark, 62, has been an Uppie for 48 years and alongside him last night were his son, Paul, 39 for the 25th time and grandson Luke, 15, playing for the first time.

Joe said: "It's fantastic, I have been waiting for this since my grandchildren were born and I can't believe this day has finally arrived, when we're playing in one game."

Uppies and Downies is a traditional game, played over three days during Easter in the town.

It has no rules and the aim is for the Uppies to get the ball to Workington Hall and the Downies to get it to the town's docks.

The ball was thrown off by Liam Boyd, 16, at the Cloffocks bridge and after a scrappy start, it looked like the Downies were getting the upper hand.

The ball was consumed by an immediate scrum, who looked to be slowly moving it towards the docks - Downies in wetsuits were standing by to get it in the river as soon as possible.

After static tussling by Borough Park, the ball was first seen 53 minutes after the throw off and it looked like it was going down.

But it was not to be - Uppie Nathan Shepherd, of Shore Road, Salterbeck, made a heroic break and ran the ball up the side of Allerdale House into the woods.

But he was thwarted and the Downies looked as though they had regained control of the game - but it was shortlived, as Nathan managed to get the ball again and run until the scrum reformed opposite Opera Bingo.

After another hour or so - and a 20-minute breather - play resumed and the Uppies surged, marching it across the Cloffocks car park to the edge of Brow Top.

Yet again, Downies came back stronger and forced the ball south before another stalemate was reached.

Downies managed to push the ball slowly towards the River Derwent, anxious to win the first game of the series to continue their winning streak as they took last year's series.

The ball vanished at about 10.15pm, leading players to start an immediate search.

Downies managed to smuggle the ball towards the dock and it was hailed by Stephen Busby, 37, of Seaton, at about 11pm.

He clinched the third game in the series last year to give the Downies a 3-0 win in 2013.

See below for how the action unfolded and remember to join us on Tuesday for the next game!

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