The future of Hobkirk’s annual hand ba’ game is in safe hands, according to Henry Douglas, a long-standing supporter of the tradition.
That was proven, he said, by a turnout of about 20 men near Hobkirk churchyard for this year’s event on Monday afternoon, resulting in a 3–3 draw between the village’s uppies and doonies.
Mr Douglas said: “It was ideal weather conditions. The players were very slow to arrive, but once it got under way, there was a very good crowd of players.
“There was quite a contingent of visitors from Ancrum and Denholm too, and play went on for quite a while after it got dark.
“The uppies are always outnumbered, so they did very well to get three hails.
“There were quite a lot of new young players too, which was quite surprising, but it was good to see them. It bodes well for the future of the game, as if you don’t get the young players, it’s just a dying tradition.”
Mr and Mrs Graham Auld’s golden wedding ba’ was hailed by downie Ross Heard; Mr and Mrs Wilson George’s golden wedding ba’ by uppie Sean Linton; Mr and Mrs Roger Curtis’s silver wedding ba’ by downie Finlay Bell; Mrs and Mrs Daniel Callen’s wedding ba’ by uppie Neil Douglas; Hobkirk Community Council’s ba’ by downie Brandon Beck; and the Horse and Hound Inn’s ba’ by uppie Sean Linton.
Mr Douglas added: “There was quite a contingent in the pub celebrating the afternoon’s sport that evening.”