Uppies and Downies hat-trick winner Nathan Askew has revealed how he secured the third victory in this year's series of the mass ball game.

Nathan made history when he secured the first recorded series hat-trick in the Workington tradition.

The 26-year-old, of Ashfield, went into Saturday's match with his eyes on the third ball, having hailed both Good Friday's and Tuesday's for the Uppies.

And Nathan also secured the first Uppies whitewash in 37 years, making this season even more special for his side.

He said: "It's starting to sink in now. Saturday was a difficult game, I was involved all night but the Downies kept dragging me out, bending my fingers and I've got nip marks all over me. I wouldn't expect anything else but I still managed to pass the ball out of the scrum at least three times."

Nathan started playing when one of his mates took him down to a game when he was 10.

He said: "It's good fun and I've made friends with other players, both Uppies and the Downies. I had two dreams that I was going to hail the ball. The day before the last game I dreamt that I managed to get the ball and jump with it over the wall at Curwen Park."

But what really happened on the night was a series of lucky coincidences.

As soon as the ball was thrown off by Dainton McPherson, 11, the battle was on. The scrum quickly formed in the beck for the first of many dips of the evening. There was plenty of to-ing and fro-ing as the Uppies tried to get the ball onto the Allerdale House side of the beck and the Downies fought towards Black Path. For much of the remainder of the game the scrum made slow progress moving between the bank, the car park and the leisure centre grounds, before a renewed effort from the Downies after the daylight had faded moved the action back to Black Path then into the bushes.

When the ball disappeared shortly before 9.30pm rumour had it that the Downies had got it to the river and were taking it down, scuppering Nathan's chances.

But during the game Nathan was introduced to a player of the Ashbourne Royal Shrovetide Football Match, which is similar to the Workington no-rules game.

Nathan said: "I was the marked man and I told him to get involved. When the ball ended in the woods, I saw him and I could tell he either had the ball or he knew where it was."

The pair walked away in the direction of Workington hall and the Downies followed him and patted him down, but they did check the other man.

Player Liam Mcnicholas started approaching and fearing he was a Downie, the Ashbourne player kicked the ball. After Liam told Nathan he was an Uppie, Nathan picked up the ball and the trio marched to Workington Hall to make history.

"There were a few sour folk who said I shouldn't have got it, but the majority of people were really happy for me, including many Downies. I'm still getting folk saying they can't believe it. I can retire for life now I'll be remembered for this, I've made my mark," he joked.

Veteran player Joe Clark, who is affectionately known among the players as Daddy Uppie, said: "What Nathan did was absolutely fantastic, he made history. I'm proud to be part of such a historic event, it's very unlikely to happen again in my life time. It raises the profile of the game and the romantic part of it is the involvement of the lad from Ashbourne. It's really important that there are these connections, it's a kinship between people who play these kind of traditional games."