A WEST Cumbrian tradition which first originated in the 19th century will return this weekend.

Uppies and Downies, a no-rules ball game which takes over Workington every Good Friday, Easter Tuesday and the following Saturday will be back this week.

Last year, the Downies sealed victory with the game returning for the first time in two years after the coronavirus pandemic.

Downie Aaron Lancaster hailed the first ball at the capstan on Workington Docks, with Jamie Friel equalising for the Uppies on Easter Tuesday, before Downie Daniel Fryer sealed the series for the side the following Saturday.

The game is a 'happening' which sees two sides of the town compete to 'hail the ball' with the Uppies hailing at Curwen Hall and Downies hailing at the Port.

There are no organisers of the game and it has been known over the years for its uniqueness in having no apparent rules.

Lifelong Uppie Elvin Jarvis said: "We are really looking forward to the game this year.

"It brings the town together competing for the bragging rights and with Easter being late again this year it should hopefully be warming up.

"Unfortunately there is no charity campaign this year with the current financial burden but hopefully we will have something lined up for next year."

The game is a rite of passage for many young men in the town, with all players dreaming of hailing the ball for their chosen side.

Speaking to the Times & Star about his win last year, Daniel Fryer said: "I think it’s actually the moment of my life to date, not just the fact I won the ball but to have my dad and lads that I go down with there with me made it so much sweeter and I wouldn’t have gotten the ball without them."

The first game of the series will take place tomorrow, April 7 with the ball being thrown off at 6.30pm from the bridge next to Allerdale House, Workington.