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Tuesday, 31 March 2015

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Dash to docks secures Downies whitewash against Uppies

Downies clinched their third victory in the 2014 mass football game series thanks to the fastest man in Workington.

Downies photo
Gareth O’Leary hails the ball

Gareth O’Leary, 32, of Northside, broke the deadlock of the Saturday night game after just two-and-a-half hours with an amazing run from woods by the town’s bowling club all the way to the docks in 15 minutes.

It was the first time Gareth had hailed the ball.

He said: “I picked the ball up at the dog track and with the Downies behind me, I was never going to fail.

“It was a real team effort. I’m just the lucky one who gets to keep the ball.”

It was a fast-paced game, which didn’t stand still from the moment the ball was thrown off by Shaun Adams, 15, at The Cloffocks bridge. It was his first time throwing the ball off and he said it was a great responsibility.

Uppies were out for revenge – after losing the first two games this year – pride was at stake.

Uppies and Downies is a traditional game, played over three days during Easter in the town.

It has no rules and the aim is for the Uppies to get the ball to Workington Hall and the Downies to get it to the town’s docks.

The ball was moved quickly into the car park of Allerdale House and on to Luandry Field.

Neither side would give an inch and it was all to play for in the rapidly moving fracas.

Despite several impressive pushes from the Uppies – and early indications that they could take victory, Downies managed to move the scrum to the woods opposite the town’s bowling club.

In a lightning move, one of the Downies managed to get the ball out of the scrum near the old Lonsdale dog track and give it to Gareth, who ran free of other players and got it to the hailing point at the docks in record time.


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