It’s full throttle with the bottle!

Dave Marlow of Hallaton holds onto the barrel during the event in 2013. (MHMP Mail Picture: Andrew Carpenter/001609-38) ENGNNL00320130304140700
Dave Marlow of Hallaton holds onto the barrel during the event in 2013. (MHMP Mail Picture: Andrew Carpenter/001609-38) ENGNNL00320130304140700
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Its origins are lost in the mists of time - some say it’s the oldest continually held event in Britain and even pre-dates Christianity.

But it’s a game that is still alive and especially kicking - and it’s back in the Harborough district village of Hallaton on Bank Holiday Monday (April 17).

Hallaton take on neighbouring village Medbourne again in the gloriously uncivilised annual Bottle Kicking event.

Last year’s event was a three-and-a-half hour epic, edged 2-1 by Hallaton, who are on a good run.

Event chairman Phil Allan said: “Hallaton are on a good run, but Medbourne should have won last year but let it slip. This year should be a 
real pitched battle.”

The Bottle Kicking game - watched by hundreds of spectators - starts at 3.15pm.

“Spectators will see it’s a rough, strong game. They’ll see the origins of rugby, but without all those rules!” said Phil.

“And of course, we think we’ve been going for 2,000 years, so they’ll also be seeing a real piece of history.”

The game is the climax of a day of traditional events:

* 9.30am - A band plays in Medbourne.

* 10.30am - Children’s parade in Hallaton

* 11am - Church service in Hallaton, with the last service from Vicar Richard Curtis who is leaving the parish.

* 12.30pm to 1.30pm - Bands play on Hallaton village green.

* 1.45pm -Main Hare Pie Parade from top of Hallaton village to the church gates, where the pie is cut up and distributed to the crowd.

* 2.45pm - Main Bottle Kicking parade from top of village to the fields where the match takes part.

* 3.15 pm - Start of actual Bottle Kicking event.

Afterwards there’s a gathering of the winning team at the village green to celebrate victory.