List of rural sports and games

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This page lists sports and games which have traditionally been played in rural areas. Predominantly they come from the British Isles.

Some take the form of annual events in a particular location associated with the tradition. Others have become more widespread, being played in local fairs or festivities in different areas; some are pub games. Many remain somewhat obscure, and perhaps due to their unusual or quirky nature, have not developed into established sports.

  • Aunt Sally – An Oxfordshire game, it is the under arm throwing of the dolly (a truncheon shaped stick) at a suspended target. Each player in the team has 6 throws; the best score out of 24 wins.
  • Bog snorkelling – Competitors must complete two consecutive lengths of a water filled trench cut through a peat bog, in the shortest time possible.
  • Coconut shy – Each player has 6 balls to throw at targets of coconuts balanced on raised stands. The player with the highest number of hits wins.
  • Cooper's Hill Cheese-Rolling and Wake – Competitors race down a steep hill in Gloucestershire, attempting to catch a Double Gloucester cheese which has been set rolling from the top.[1]
  • Dwile Flonking – An East Anglian sport in which competitors use a pole to launch a beer soaked cloth at opponents. If you miss your target twice in a row, a “flonker” must quickly drink a pot of ale before the opposing team, standing in a circle, could pass around a rag one to the other.
  • Ferret legging – Ferrets are trapped in trousers worn by a participant. The winner is the one who is the last to release the animals.
  • Gravy Wrestling – An annual charity event held in the Lancashire village of Stacksteads. The sport is open to men and women, competing in their own separate categories. Contestants must defeat their opponents in a 2 minute long wrestling match in a pool of gravy. Points are scored for fancy dress, comedy effect, entertainment and the judges may even consider wrestling ability.
  • Haggis hurling or throwing – A Scottish game involving throwing a haggis.[2]
  • Kubb, a lawn game originally from Sweden, which involves the throwing of wooden batons.
  • River football,[3] played in the village of Bourton-on-the-Water in Gloucestershire.
  • Shrovetide Football, played over two days (Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday) in the Derbyshire village of Ashbourne.
  • Shin-kicking or hacking or purring – A combat sport that originated in England in the early 17th century. It involves two contestants attempting to kick each other on the shin to force their opponent to the ground.
  • S.P.U.D. − Invented in Neptune Township, New Jersey, a ball game where a ball is thrown into the air and the players try to peg the others.
  • Tip-cat – The cat is a stubby six-inch projectile tapered at each end. It is placed on a flat surface. A baseball bat is then used to tap or hit it airborne, as it rises it is then hit again with the baseball bat, as far as possible; each player has three attempts; the team with the longest hit within the zone wins.
  • Wellie wanging – This game originated in Britain, most likely in the Village of Upperthong in the county of Yorkshire. Competitors are required to hurl a Wellington boot as far as possible within boundary lines, from a standing or running start.
  • Wheelbarrow race – Teams of two players race with one teammate playing the role of the driver, and the other playing the role of the wheelbarrow. The driver holds on to the other player's ankles, while the other player walks with his hands, it is commonly played at fairs and family events.
  • Wife carrying – Male competitors carry a female through a special obstacle track in the fastest time. The sport originated in Finland but is now played in several other countries.


  1. ^ Doug Speirs. "Forget summertime fun: It's dangerous out there". Winnipeg Free Press. Archived from the original on 2008-08-03. Retrieved 2008-07-29.
  2. ^ Archived 2006-05-14 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^

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