'Uppies and Downies' returns to Workington after two year break

The Uppies and Downies in 2019, the last time the games took place Credit: ITV News

The West Cumbria tradition known as 'Uppies and Downies' kicks off today.

The Workington event dates back hundreds of years and sees two teams - the Uppies and the Downies - try to get a ball to their end of town. It's the first time the event has taken place in two years and will raise thousands of pounds for charity.

Robert Daglish, who will be joining the Uppies said, "We had to knock it off for two years because of the covid restrictions. This year feels really special obviously because it's the Platinum Jubilee but also from the point of view that we can start back again and play something that's gone on literally for centuries that we don't want to see end. We want to carry on the tradition."

The games don't have any rules or organisers - and sees everyone who wants to take part just getting involved. It is a bit like Rugby, a bit like football but nothing like sport as most people know it.

To win the game, Downies must hail the ball on the dockside while Uppies have to hail it at Workington Hall in Curwen Park.

Joe Clarke, who has been involved for years said, "It's changed massively from when I first started. When I first started guys were old men by the time they were 30, 35. They wore flat caps and macs. And then over the years I've seen the change where you get young fit men, body builders, coming in. Some fearsome guys to fight against. But it adds to the pleasure. Adds to the challenge."

The Good Friday game starts at 6.30pm when the ball is thrown off the bridge at the Cloffocks. The second legs starts at the same time on Tuesday with the third held on Saturday, April 6.