If you find yourself in St Ives on 9th February then the chances are you’ll find yourself caught up in the jostling and cheering of the ancient tradition that’s the hurling of the silver ball. This tradition takes place on the day of the St Ives Feast every year, and it’s basically a 1000 year old version of rugby that’s play by teams in the streets.
So what happens?
Well, the mayor throws the silver ball (well it’s actually made of wood apple and coated in silver, but still) into the crowd, and teams spend the next few hours grappling, running and doing everything they can to keep hold of it. If you want to make sure you watch the action unfold pull up a pew along the beach, and more often than not the more competitive players will end up rolling around in the waves as they battle to keep hold of the ball (we know, rather them than us…).
Well, as the clock strike noon, the winning team present the ball to the mayor before being awarded a shilling for their efforts, and then the celebrations for Feast Day continue. The best thing about this slightly quirky but much-loved event is the atmosphere, there are always hundreds of people gathered throughout the historic town to watch the teams battle it out, and it feels great to see a tradition that’s been played out for centuries unfold while you watch.