River football’s annual clash continues despite waterlogged pitch

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

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

While much of the country basked in a heat wave this summer and many areas were declared dry, there were no such concerns in the Cotswolds as the terrain was in extremely wet condition.

Annual football game in the river
Bourton Rovers footballers go full throttle as they battle for the ball (Ben Birchall/PA)

The 30-minute match was played between mixed teams of Bourton Rovers 1st XI and 2nd XI and kicked off at 11.30am.

About 2,000 spectators lined the banks of the river to enjoy the annual five-a-side clash that takes place in the deep waters of the Windrush.

It’s unclear how the idea of ​​playing a game of football in a river originated, but the tradition is said to have been going strong for around 100 years.

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

Annual football game in the river
Bourton Rovers footballers are undeterred by a river (Ben Birchall/PA)

This year’s game ended 3-3 after the yellow-shirted 2nd XI scored a last-minute equalizer when the referee was distracted.

The 1st XI had taken an early lead and a second goal was ruled out after the referee consulted the bordering VAR.

The second half started with the 1st XI 2-1 and they quickly made it 3-1 before the 2nd XI missed a controversial penalty when saved by the goalkeeper.

The 2nd XI came back into the game when the 1st XI had a player sent off for a second bookable offense and made the game 3-2.

Annual football game in the river
Here is a really waterlogged pitch (Ben Birchall/PA)

They had an equalizer scored by the referee for collapsing the goalposts, but on the death penalty the game was made 3-3 with the last kick of the game.

Jack Galpin, who refereed the game dressed as a woman, said: “It’s great to bring the crowd back as the last two years have been much quieter during the pandemic.

“It’s great for us as a club because this event is our main fundraiser for the year and it was amazing to see so many people watching.”

Related Article

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button