Teenager Carl Denver stole the show on the last night of the traditional mass ball game Uppies and Downies, sealing the series for the Uppies this year.

Carl, 17, from Salterbeck, took the ball from a Downie and ran from Brow Top to Workington Hall to hail it single-handedly, securing a 2019 victory for the Uppies.

Times and Star:

Players were frantically searching for the ball at the side of Black Path, but a young Downie had the ball and was heading in the harbour direction. Carl and two friends had started their journey home when they noticed him showing the ball to police officers.

They turned from spectators to players as they jumped on top of him to get the ball.

When the ball eventually broke free someone ran with it, but he tired so Carl took it and ran all the way to Workington Hall, meeting only one Downie on the way, which he managed to dodge around.

He said: "I was more in shock than anything else. I can't really explain how I felt it all happened that quick." Carl said he will more than likely play the game next year.

Teenagers hailing the ball is a rare occurrence and a feat that can be counted on one hand during the games’ living memory.

Veteran of the historic game, Uppie Joe Clark, 67, said: “It was a great result and a tale of inexperience and opportunity, only three or five teenagers have hailed in my time.”

This year’s series was unique as it included a special commemorative service and ball to mark 100 years of playing the game after World War one.

Easter Friday’s game was started by Darcie Saffill, nine, from Northside, and sponsored by Townsley Boyd.

Times and Star:

Downies got off to a great start with a win when Stephen Busby, 42, of Seaton, sneaked the ball away and down to the harbour to hail it.

Then it was the Uppies’ turn on Easter Tuesday when Cameron McCue, 23, from Moorclose, used the classic “stuffed it up my jumper” technique to lure the ball away from the scrum and hail outside the gates of Workington Hall just after 9.30pm.

Robert Daglish, 63 had sponsored Tuesday’s special centenary ball, made by official ball-maker Mark Rawlinson. It contained poppies, silent soldiers and the poem flanders fields, which was read out at a ceremony before the game by John Hastings from Workington.

Workington Veterans Hub and servicemen were also invited to the ceremony and Workington’s territorial army marked the occasion with a parade.

Robert’s son, Robert Andrew Daglish, 39, had the honour of throwing off the ball from the traditional bridge starting point at the Cloffocks.

The closing game began with a joint throw off from brothers Sonny, nine and Byron Coulson, twelve, from Barepot.

With the score at one all both teams had it all to play for, which made for a hard-fought and very entertaining game.

After a four hour battle loud cheers from Workington Hall announced to the town that the Uppies had won the series for the fourth year in a row.