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28 October 2014

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Hurling at St Columb in the 21st Century
Hurling in St Columb
A 'rugby scrum' forms as the men battle for the ball

The tradition of hurling is alive and well in the 21st Century in St Columb.

This year's event once again attracted a massive enthusiastic crowd. We were there to capture the excitement!



Read more about hurling and other traditional Cornish sports.

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View a printable version of this page.

Shrove Tuesday is a special day in St Columb.

The night before the big hurling day the area usually resembles a ghost town. All the shop windows have shutters across them and the streets are deserted, but there is a also a sense of excitement in the air.

Shop windows boarded up in preparation for the hurling
The windows are boarded up for the day

In the mid-afternoon of Tuesday 4th March 2003 the famous words were shouted to the large crowd.

"Town and country do your best. But in this parish I must rest."

These historical words launch the hurling in St Columb.

With plenty of enthusiasm (and a bit of pushing and shoving too) the hurling is underway.

Getting ready for the action!
Scott (left) is one of the youngest ever winners

Crowds of hundreds engaged in the ancient game on Tuesday 4th March. How long the hurling lasts for can vary from year to year. In the past the game has been known to end in a matter of minutes but more often than not it can go on for a few hours.

The ball passes between teams and then eventually someone will triumph.

After a long day of hurling another tradition is the 'Drinking The Silver Ball'.

In the evening the ball is dipped into a mug of the winners drink. Many of those who took part in the afternoon's event try to get a sip of the drink, maybe in the hope of bringing them luck for the hurling re-match which takes place in St Columb in a few days time!

Hurling fun in St Columb
The battle continues through the streets

Already preparations are underway for the official re-match which will occur in the area on Saturday 15th March.

If the winner decides to keep the hurling ball from Tuesday's event the rush begins to make a new ball. This is produced locally.

The new ball takes shape
Shaping the new ball from silver

Colin Roscorla is the local craftsman who makes the ball. "It's a good seven days of work", he says.

Colin Roscorla
Colin Roscorla, silverball craftsman for ten years

It is a traditional method of construction, using a core made of applewood from his own orchard.
This year the silver arrived on Thursday, and the ball will be ready in good time for the next hurl on Saturday 15th March.

Sean Johns
Shrove Tuesday winner, Sean Johns

Sean Johns is the man paying for the new silver. After a very tough game on Shrove Tuesday, he carried off the ball for Town, running more than a mile to the parish boundary, and thwarting the attempts of the Countrymen to win it. Sean is 35 and it is his third win to date.

Richard Rundle
Richard Rundle recalls his win in 1962

Sean has chosen Richard Rundle for the honour of throwing up the ball on March 15th. He too has carried off the ball three times, with particularly strong memories of 1963 when the ball was "lost". It mysteriously travelled by lorry to the Midlands and back!

Take part in the hurling game on Saturday 15th, beginning at 4.15pm,and listen to Cornwall Connected on Sunday 16th to hear more about the ball and the stories surrounding it.

The youngest hero of the hour ever was Scot Bennett at last year's hurling.

Scot was 11-years-old when he became the youngest hurler to win the event.

The event is full of community spirit. One man from St Columb reached the age of 70, believing that he had no chance of winning the hurling in the future. So his family presented him with a silver hurling ball to mark his 70th birthday.

Hurling also takes place in St Ives


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