Eton wall game

The Eton wall game is a game which bears some resemblance to rugby union that originated at and is still played at Eton College. It is played on a strip of ground 5 metres wide and 110 metres long ("The Furrow") next to a slightly curved brick wall ("The Wall") erected in 1717.

The traditional and most important match of the year is played on St Andrew's Day, as the Collegers (King's Scholars) take on the Oppidans (the rest of the school). Although College has only 70 boys to pick from, compared to the 1250 or so Oppidans, the Collegers have one distinct advantage: access to the field on which the wall game is played is controlled by a Colleger. Despite this, it is usual for them to allow the Oppidans to use it whenever they wish.

At the annual St Andrew's Day match, the Oppidans climb over the wall, after throwing their caps over in defiance of the Scholars, while the Collegers march down from the far end of College Field, arm-in-arm, towards the near end, where they meet the Oppidans.

The wall game is also played on Ascension Day, immediately after a 6 a.m. service on the roof of College Chapel.[1] Various scratch matches are also played throughout the Michaelmas and Lent halves (terms), where boys from different year groups, as well as masters, take part.

Eton College Wall Game
Eton College Wall Game

Scoring

The aim of the game is to move the ball towards the opponents' end of the playing area. In those last few yards of the field is an area called the "calx". In this area a player can earn a "shy" (worth one point) by lifting the ball against the wall with his foot. A teammate then touches the ball with his hand and shouts "Got it!" These two plays must happen within the calx. After this, if the umpire says "Given", the scoring team can attempt a goal (worth a further nine points) by throwing the ball at a designated target (a garden door at one end of the field and a tree at the other end). A player can also score a kicked goal, worth five points, if he kicks the ball out and it hits a goal during the normal course of play.

Play

Wallgame
First ever inter-school Eton Wall Game in progress

The main game consists of the two sets of players forming a rugby-style scrummage (called a "Bully") in which neither team may "furk" the ball, which is to hook it backwards (except in Calx, where a different type of Bully called a Calx Bully occurs). The Bully is formed next to the Wall and crabs slowly along the Wall until the ball emerges. Many players, particularly those whose position is actually against the Wall, lose the skin off their elbows, hips and knees. Because of this, players usually wear long sleeves. Players within the Bully shove and push each other, mostly with their bodies but also by placing their fists against the faces of the opposition and attempting to lever them backwards and away from the Wall. Actual punching is not permitted, and grabbing an opponent's shirt ("holding") is also not allowed.

The fastest way to make ground is by kicking the ball upfield and out of play whenever it comes sideways out of the Bully; unlike most types of football, play is restarted opposite where the ball stops after it had gone out, or was touched after it had gone out.

Consequently, the most common tactic revolves around the formation of a 'phalanx'. This consists of a tunnel (coming out from the wall, diagonally forward from the position of the ball) of players from one team who are crouching on hands and feet next to each other. Once the team in possession of the ball has formed a successful phalanx, it attempts to pass the ball down the 'tunnel' using the knees of the players forming it, to a player standing at the end of the phalanx (i.e. furthest away from the Wall), known as Lines, whose job it is to kick the ball upfield. The team not in possession is constantly attempting to disrupt this, and win the ball back.

The game lasts up to 55 minutes, with two halves of 25 minutes each and an additional 5 minutes as half-time break. Many games end 0-0. Goals (worth ten points) are very rare; they occur about once every 10 years, and no goals have been scored in the St Andrew's Day game since 1909. The most recent goal occurred in a match between ‘D Block’ and ‘C Block’ with a member of the ‘D block’ team hitting the door after scoring a shy in March 2017. However, shies (worth 1 point) are scored more frequently.

In the 2016 game, the 250th St. Andrew's Day match, College triumphed 1–0 against the Oppidans. This was the 107th consecutive St Andrew's Day match in which no goals were scored by either team; however, College scored a shy.

Organisation

The Wall Game is organised entirely by boys, particularly by the Keepers (captains) of College Wall, Oppidan Wall and Mixed Wall. Famous past players of the Wall Game include Boris Johnson, who was Keeper of the College Wall, George Orwell and Harold Macmillan. The First World War flying ace Arthur Rhys Davids also played, representing College with Ralph Dominic Gamble in 1915.

Members of the College Wall also annually commemorate the outstanding player and Keeper of the Wall Logie Leggatt, who was killed in the First World War at the age of 22, making a toast at each year's Christmas Sock Supper with the words in piam memoriam L.C.L (in affectionate memory of L.C.L). Despite its renown outside the school, only a very small number of the 250 or so boys in each year group ever take part in the sport, unlike the lesser-known but much more widely played Eton Field Game.

The Eton Wall Game has been played twice by all-female teams.

In popular culture

The game was first televised by the BBC in 1948.[2]

The British sitcom Green Wing features a fictional game, Guyball (/ˈɡiːbɔːl/), which parodies the obscurity of public school pastimes such as the Eton wall game. It is introduced by Guy Secretan, who learned the sport at the fictional school Whiteleaf (/ˈhwɪtlɪf/). The object of the game is to throw balls in a "Topmiler", a wicker basket on top of a leather flying helmet. However, the rules of Guyball are never fully explained and are designed to be as confusing and as difficult to understand as possible. Fans of the show have however created their own rules, and the game was occasionally played 'for real'.

In Terry Pratchett's Discworld series, the Ankh-Morpork Assassins' Guild has a far more sadistic variant of the "Wall Game", and is essentially an extreme hybrid of rock-climbing and dodgeball.

In the first of Charlie Higson's Young Bond novels, SilverFin, the young James Bond comes to Eton and learns the rules of the Wall Game.

The game was a subject of the 1987 book, The Sports Hall of Shame, by Bruce Nash and Allan Zullo.

Robert Ludlum's novel The Bancroft Strategy briefly describes the game, saying "I believe the last time a goal was scored on a St. Andrew's day match was in 1909, if you can believe it."

Frederick Forsyth's novel The Cobra has a passing reference to the Wall Game.

Len Deighton's nameless protagonist in The IPCRESS File, in passing, compares the scene boarding an aeroplane to the Eton Wall Game.

See also

References

  1. ^ British Pathe film on the Eton wall game
  2. ^ "Newsreel: Eton Wall Game 1948". Facebook. BBC Archive. Retrieved 3 December 2017.

External links

1909 in sports

1909 in sports describes the year's events in world sport.

A. J. Ayer

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He was educated at Eton College and Oxford University, after which he studied the philosophy of logical positivism at the University of Vienna. From 1933 to 1940 he lectured on philosophy at Christ Church, Oxford.During the Second World War Ayer was a Special Operations Executive and MI6 agent.He was Grote Professor of the Philosophy of Mind and Logic at University College London from 1946 until 1959, after which he returned to Oxford to become Wykeham Professor of Logic at New College. He was president of the Aristotelian Society from 1951 to 1952 and knighted in 1970. He was known for his advocacy of humanism, and was the second President of the British Humanist Association (now known as Humanists UK).

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The Ankh-Morpork Assassins' Guild is a professional organisation and school for assassins in Terry Pratchett's long-running Discworld series of fantasy novels. It is located in Ankh-Morpork, the largest city on the Discworld, and is widely considered by the elite to be the best option for a well-rounded education anywhere.

The Guild of Assassins is located in a light, airy series of buildings next to the Guild of Fools and Joculators, which, being a far more sinister building, is often mistaken for the Assassins'. The guild is currently headed by Lord Downey.

Eton College

Eton College () is a 13–18 independent boarding school and sixth form for boys in the parish of Eton, near Windsor in Berkshire, England. It was founded in 1440 by King Henry VI as Kynge's College of Our Ladye of Eton besyde Windesore (The King's College of Our Lady of Eton beside Windsor), as a sister institution to King's College, Cambridge, making it the 18th-oldest Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference school.

Following the public school tradition, Eton is a full boarding school, which means pupils live at the school seven days a week, and it is one of only four such remaining single-sex boys', boarding-only independent senior schools in the United Kingdom (the others being Harrow, Radley, and Winchester). The remainder have since become co-educational: Rugby (1976), Charterhouse (1971), Westminster (1973), and Shrewsbury (2014) and Merchant Taylors' which is now a day school. Eton has educated 19 British prime ministers and generations of the aristocracy and has been referred to as "the chief nurse of England's statesmen".Eton charges up to £12,910 per term, with three terms per academic year, in 2017/18. Eton was noted as being the sixth most expensive HMC boarding school in the UK in 2013/14, however the school admits some boys with modest parental income: in 2011 it was reported that around 250 boys received "significant" financial help from the school, with the figure rising to 263 pupils in 2014, receiving the equivalent of around 60% of school fee assistance, whilst a further 63 received their education free of charge. Eton has also announced plans to increase the figure to around 320 pupils, with 70 educated free of charge, with the intention that the number of pupils receiving financial assistance from the school continues to increase.

Eton College Collections

The Eton College Collections are a collection of items of significant cultural or scientific value kept by Eton College in England. They include College Library, College Archives, Eton College Natural History Museum, Casa Guidi, Eton College Antiquities Collection and the Museum of Eton Life. The Collection also has hundreds of photographs, paintings, drawings and prints. Many items in the Collection are lent to exhibitions around the world.

Eton field game

The Field Game is one of two codes of football devised and played at Eton College. The other is the Eton Wall Game. The game is like football in some ways – the ball is round, but one size smaller than a standard football, and may not be handled – but the off-side rules – known as 'sneaking' – are more in keeping with rugby. There is also a small scrum or "Bully" of either six or seven a side. Goals can be scored much as in soccer, although there is no goalkeeper. But a team gains more points for scoring a 'rouge'. To score a rouge a player must kick the ball so that it deflects off one of the opposing players, or achieve a charge-down, and then goes beyond the opposition's end of the pitch. The ball is then 'rougeable' and must be touched – although not necessarily to the ground – by an attacking player to complete the rouge for five points. Rouges are similar to tries in that the scoring team then attempts to convert them for two points.

It is the only game at Eton that virtually every boy plays, at least for his first three years in the school, and it occupies prime position in the games programme throughout the Lent Half.

Fictional games

Fictional games are games which were specifically created for works of fiction, or which otherwise originated in fiction.

Many fictional games have been translated into real games by fans or ludophiles by creating pieces and rules to fit the descriptions given in the source work. For example, unofficial versions of Fizzbin can be found in reality, and Mornington Crescent is widely played in online forums.

Football

Football is a family of team sports that involve, to varying degrees, kicking a ball to score a goal. Unqualified, the word football is understood to refer to whichever form of football is the most popular in the regional context in which the word appears. Sports commonly called football in certain places include association football (known as soccer in some countries); gridiron football (specifically American football or Canadian football); Australian rules football; rugby football (either rugby league or rugby union); and Gaelic football. These different variations of football are known as football codes.

There are a number of references to traditional, ancient, or prehistoric ball games played by indigenous peoples in many different parts of the world. Contemporary codes of football can be traced back to the codification of these games at English public schools during the nineteenth century. The expansion of the British Empire allowed these rules of football to spread to areas of British influence outside the directly controlled Empire. By the end of the nineteenth century, distinct regional codes were already developing: Gaelic football, for example, deliberately incorporated the rules of local traditional football games in order to maintain their heritage. In 1888, The Football League was founded in England, becoming the first of many professional football competitions. During the twentieth century, several of the various kinds of football grew to become some of the most popular team sports in the world.

George Orwell

Eric Arthur Blair (25 June 1903 – 21 January 1950), better known by his pen name George Orwell, was an English novelist and essayist, journalist and critic, whose work is characterised by lucid prose, awareness of social injustice, opposition to totalitarianism, and outspoken support of democratic socialism.As a writer, Orwell produced literary criticism and poetry, fiction and polemical journalism; and is best known for the allegorical novella Animal Farm (1945) and the dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949). His non-fiction works, including The Road to Wigan Pier (1937), documenting his experience of working-class life in the north of England, and Homage to Catalonia (1938), an account of his experiences soldiering for the Republican faction of the Spanish Civil War (1936–1939), are as critically respected as his essays on politics and literature, language and culture. In 2008, The Times ranked George Orwell second among "The 50 greatest British writers, since 1945".Orwell's work remains influential in popular culture and in political culture, and the adjective "Orwellian" — describing totalitarian and authoritarian social practices — is part of the English language, like many of his neologisms, such as "Big Brother", "Thought Police", and "Hate week", "Room 101", the "memory hole", and "Newspeak", "doublethink" and "proles", "unperson" and "thoughtcrime".

Hockey

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In most of the world, hockey refers to field hockey, while in Canada, the United States, Finland, Sweden, Latvia, the Czech Republic and Slovakia, hockey usually refers to ice hockey.

James Kenneth Stephen

James Kenneth Stephen (25 February 1859 – 3 February 1892) was an English poet, and tutor to Prince Albert Victor, eldest son of Albert Edward, Prince of Wales.

Kī-o-rahi

Kī-o-rahi is a ball sport played in New Zealand with a small round ball called a 'kī'. It is a fast-paced game incorporating skills similar to rugby union, netball and touch. Two teams of seven players play on a circular field divided into zones, and score points by touching the 'pou' (boundary markers) and hitting a central 'tupu' or target. The game is played with varying rules (e.g. number of people, size of field, tag ripping rules etc.) depending on the geographic area it is played in. A process called Tatu, before the game, determines which rules the two teams will use.

In 2005 kī-o-rahi was chosen to represent New Zealand by global fast-food chain McDonald's as part of its 'Passport to Play' programme to teach physical play activities in 31,000 American schools.

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Shelford's kī-o-rahi test jersey made him the first kī-o-rahi/rugby double international for NZ. The women's team coached by Andrea Cameron (Head of PE at Tikipunga High School) also won by 33–0. These were the first historic test matches between NZ and France.

List of sports

The following is a list of sports/games, divided by category.

According to the World Sports Encyclopedia (2003), there are 8,000 indigenous sports and sporting games.

List of types of football

This is a list of various types of football, most variations found as gridiron, rugby, association football.

Logie Leggatt

Logie Colin Leggatt (1894-1917) was an English sportsman and cricketer who was killed during the First World War.

Rossall Hockey

Rossall Hockey or RossHockey is a unique form of hockey played only at Rossall School, in Fleetwood, on the Fylde coast, Lancashire, England. The game is unique to Rossall School and is played on the beach next to the school during the Lent term only, with the pitch being marked by dragging the hockey sticks in the sand before each match. It is a brutal beach game born of rugby but played with hockey-like sticks by girls as well as boys at the school. It dates back to the 19th century when pitches were too wet for rugby. It is one of the few school coded sports to have remained in use despite the dominance of other national codes in modern sport. The only other examples of school coded sport in the United Kingdom that remain are those of the various Fives codes; of which Rossall has its own, as well as Harrow football, Winchester College football, the Eton wall game and the Eton field game.

They Think It's All Over (TV series)

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Wall game

Wall game can refer to different games

Eton wall game, famously played only at Eton

The Wall Game, a UK children's game show on ITV during the 1980s

Any game that redefines a wall as part of the board that the game is played on, for example Escape from Colditz

What the Victorians Did for Us

What the Victorians Did for Us is a 2001 BBC documentary series that examines the impact of the Victorian era on modern society. It concentrates primarily on the scientific and social advances of the era, which bore the Industrial Revolution and set the standards for polite society today.

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