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Doonies on top

CROWDS lined the streets of Jedburgh yesterday as the town's annual 'Fastern Eve Hand ba' competition was in full swing.

A WHOLE NEW BA' GAME: Competition in full swing.
A WHOLE NEW BA' GAME: Competition in full swing.

Dating back to medieval times, the ba' game acquired its current rules in the 1700s and has taken place annually since then.

The aim of the game, which is held on the Thursday after Shrove Tuesday, is to throw a leather ball stuffed with straw through one of two goals at the top and bottom ends of the town centre.

Boys' and men's matches are played between two teams who chase after the ball, the Uppies from the higher part of Jedburgh, and the Doonies from the lower part of the town.

This year the Doonies triumphed against the Uppies twice, winning six to three in the boys' game and eight to seven in the men's game. The first ever game was reportedly played with an Englishman's head, with ribbons now used on the ball to represent the hair.

Picture: Jeff J Mitchell

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