Thursday 29 September 2016

Leaky defences on the back foot as river footballers make a splash

Published 29/08/2016 | 18:16

Members of Bourton Rovers 1st XI (dark blue shirts) and the club's 2nd XI battle for the ball during the annual Football In The River match in Bourton-on-the-Water, Gloucestershire
Members of Bourton Rovers 1st XI (dark blue shirts) and the club's 2nd XI battle for the ball during the annual Football In The River match in Bourton-on-the-Water, Gloucestershire

Football matches are normally called off if the pitch is waterlogged - except in the Cotswolds.

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Two teams braved the freezing water today to take part in the annual Football In The River match in Bourton-on-the-Water, Gloucestershire.

The 30-minute game was played out between Bourton Rovers 2nd XI and Bourton Rovers 1st XI.

Several hundred spectators basked in the sunshine to line banks of the river to enjoy the spectacle.

The annual Bank Holiday five-a-side clash takes place in the ankle-deep water of the River Windrush.

It is not entirely clear how the idea of playing a football match in a river first arose, but the tradition has reportedly been going strong for around 100 years.

The match, which raises funds for Bourton Rovers Football Club, regularly draws large crowds - and fans are advised to wear waterproofs if they plan to stand close to the side of the "pitch".

Monday's match ended 3-1 to the 1st XI, with two second half goals sealing a win after going 0-1 down in the opening skirmishes.

Adam Webley, 27, who scored two goals, said: "The playing conditions weren't easy as there was a lot of water on the pitch.

"For some reason the pitch was twice as long as normal, which made it harder."

Mr Webley praised the spectators and said: "Today's match is good for the village and good for the club."

Press Association

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