The ancient traditions surrounding the Bottle Kicking event have taken place in Hallaton today (Easter Monday).
Long-time Mail photographer Andrew Carpenter, who is covering his 25th Bottle Kicking event today, has filed his first batch of photos.
The Hare Pie parade has once again attracted huge crowds, with thousands following the ‘bottles’ – small, wooden beer kegs – through the streets of Hallaton.
It included a new Hallaton flag being unveiled for the first time.
The battlefield – the green fields between the villages of Hallaton and Medbourne – is soft following several days’ rain leading up to the event but the sun is now out and shining bright.
Both teams are predicting a closely-fought contest today.
Other traditions have also been observed, including the cutting up of the Hare Pie and its distribution (being flung into the air), decorating the barrels with ribbons at the Butter Cross and a church service earlier this morning.
The rough and tumble match itself, a mobile rugby scrum with a small barrel for a ball and virtually no rules, dates back to Pagan times.
It has again pulled in a crowd of thousands as the two village teams attempt to get the bottle across a brook and into their village.
The “try” lines are about a mile apart, and the game can last for hours. Last year’s knife-edge contest, won 2-1 by Hallaton, went on for more than three hours.
Hallaton are on a rich run of form having won 27 of the last 30 contests but the last three matches have been extremely tight.
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Story by Alex Blackwell.