TODAY marked the start of this year's Uppies and Downies in Workington. 

Crowds gathered outside Allerdale House and at 6.30 pm a young girl threw the ball in the air, marking the start of the contest. 

The game quickly moved from the bridge into the river, with players from both the Uppies and Downies sides getting involved in the scrum. 

Times and Star: Families watch on as the game begins Families watch on as the game begins (Image: Newsquest)

Nathan Askew, who hailed the ball three times during a game in recent years, said: "I'm very excited for it today, I can't wait. 

"I've done alright over the years. In 2018 I was the first person ever the hail all three balls in one series. 

"It was amazing to be able to do this. I couldn't believe it and now the next ball I'm getting I'm giving it to Brian Fearon. I'm not getting the ball for myself, I'm doing it for a mate. 

Times and Star: Nathan Askew Nathan Askew (Image: Newsquest)

"My friend's son passed away in 2012 and I always used to see him down here. I was mates with him years ago from boxing and when he passed away I said I would dedicate a ball to him even if it took me thirty years. 

"So when I got the first ball I dedicated it to him and then when I got all three I dedicated the series to him. 

"Then I said I'd get him, Brian, one so that's what I'm hoping to do today."

Times and Star: A scrum during the game A scrum during the game (Image: Newsquest)

Carl Langley, an Uppie, said: "I'm feeling fantastic about it today... we're back again.

"I'm very excited, I've played this game for years my dad and his brother, Jimmy, and John Langley played it back in the fifties.

"My daughter, Madison, is a through-and-through Uppies and Downies fan. Let's do battle, let's go into the castle.

Times and Star: Nathan and Carl Nathan and Carl (Image: Newsquest)

"I'm an Uppie through and through, my family was born in Annie Pit, I was born in Clifton, I'm a full-blown Uppie."

Mike Heron, an Uppie, added: "I'm quite excited about it tonight as we always are - we always come down here every year. 

"As you know, it's a tradition, I'm looking forward to the game. I used to play myself."

Times and Star: Crowds gather by Allerdale house Crowds gather by Allerdale house (Image: Newsquest)