Hurling the Silver Bowl

Hurling the Silver Bowl Tradition

This old form of rugby dating back over a thousand years takes place at St Ives on Shrove Tuesday after the major’s civic procession.  A cricket-sized ball made of apple wood and coated in silver is hurled into the air and players, men and teenagers, try their best to get the ball of each other as they run, tackle, tumble and tussle around the town.  Each team tries to get as many points as possible by placing the ball in goals situated two miles apart from each other in the town.  Shops and businesses often have to barricade their windows to prevent any damage happening just in case a player misses the ball!

Players often stop to allow onlookers to touch the ball as it is believed that touching the ball  brings luck and fertility.  Furthermore, if a player returns the ball to the Guildhall at the stroke of midday and hands it to the major who is waiting on the steps of the Guildhall, the player receives a silver coin. In the afternoon, town councillors stand on the balcony of the Guildhall and throw pennies to children who have been waiting in the forecourt eager to catch some money.

‘Hurling the Ball’ is also known as ‘Cornish Hurling’ and is believed to be Pagan. It is also played in St Columb in Cornwall.