Chiddingstone’s Real Football returns for rural rough and tumble

Pam Mills

THE Chiddingstone Real Football match kicks off again on Good Friday [March 30] with more than 200 players expected to take part in the hurly-burly encounter.

Starting at 2pm and lasting for around four hours, the charity event sees a round ball kicked or thrown over fields, rivers and woodland, with more than a mile between the two goals.

These targets are sited at two local pubs which each field a team of around 100 – The Castle Inn in Chiddingstone and The Rock at Chiddingstone Hoath.

The rivalry between the Castle Crusaders and Rock Inn Rollers can be intense, and the rough and tumble is fuelled by plentiful Larkins ale from the local brewery.

The event has been running for seven years, and last year’s match raised over £5,000 for Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance, Demelza Hospice Care for Children and the redevelopment of Chiddingstone Causeway village hall.

This year, the proceeds will go to the League of Friends of Edenbridge Hospital, Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance and West Kent Mind.

The rules are scant: Participants must not cross any roads, the ball must not be hidden in a bag or carried by a moving vehicle or ‘four-legged animal’, and players must not ‘intentionally cause harm to others’.

It costs £10 to enter, which includes a team shirt (competitors must be over 16). An after-match party featuring live music will be held at The Castle in Chiddingstone.

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