Annual river football clash goes ahead despite waterlogged pitch

·1-min read
(Ben Birchall/PA) (PA Wire)
(Ben Birchall/PA) (PA Wire)

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

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

(Ben Birchall/PA) (PA Wire)
(Ben Birchall/PA) (PA Wire)

The 30-minute game was played out between mixed teams of Bourton Rovers 1st XI and 2nd XI and kicked off at 11am instead of the usual 4pm.

Several hundred spectators lined the banks of the river to enjoy the annual five-a-side clash that takes place in the ankle-deep water of the Windrush.

It is not 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.

(Ben Birchall/PA) (PA Wire)
(Ben Birchall/PA) (PA Wire)

The match regularly draws large crowds and fans are advised to wear waterproofs if they plan to stand close to the side of the “pitch”.

This year’s match ended 1-1 after the clarets went 1-0 on the stroke of half-time.

The blues levelled on the final whistle with a disputed penalty which resulted in a claret player receiving a red card.

(Ben Birchall/PA) (PA Wire)
(Ben Birchall/PA) (PA Wire)

Match organiser Matt Winter, who scored the opening goal, said: “The game was good fun and there was a good crowd.

“The game was a bit wet but not too cold and the pitch was a bit uneven.”

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