Shrovetide 2019 – the best year yet?

The Royal Shrovetide Football match in Ashbourne is not for the faint-hearted. Dating back to the 12th century, the game has almost no rules. The two sides (the Up’ards and the Down’ards) prepare for the 2-day game months in advance – making Shrovetide Derbyshire’s most anticipated event of the year. 

Inviting clients and candidates from across the rail industry, Ford & Stanley have ‘taken part’ (some of us more than others) in the annual tradition for the past five years – and it has to be said, that 2019 was the best year yet.

Kicking the day off with a coffee and a catch up at The Backyard, on Pride Park – excitement (and nerves, for those who were new to the event…) reached it’s peak. We had a bigger party than ever before, giving us a great opportunity to introduce new friends as well as reunite old ones. Once all introductions were made, we travelled North to The Bridge, Ashbourne for a full English and the first toast of the day. 

14:00 arrived and the football match began. Although an event full of traditions, this year was also a year of ‘firsts’… 

Our Ford & Stanley umbrellas missed their time to shine, as – a Shrovetide first for us – the sun did all the shining instead. The glorious weather meant we were able to really appreciate the atmosphere and stay out in the crowds to follow the ball for a while.

Continuing with the theme of ‘firsts’ – a few of our party managed to touch the ball for the first time and really get ‘stuck in’, despite most of the Ford & Stanley party seeking safety in the form of Guinness back at the pub. 

Front row seats to the action

However, whilst enjoying a Project D doughnut in the courtyard, the ‘peace and quiet’ was short lived. We gave our guests front row seats to the event of the year when the ball, along with the hundreds of dedicated players, blasted straight through The Bridge, smashing a window and taking a gazebo with them on the way ! Kudos to those working behind the bar who continued serving despite the chaos !

As the day drew to a close, those still standing joined us for a well-deserved curry at The Viceroy on Midland Road. Like every year, the quality of the food and the level of service were second to none – exactly what was needed after a long day of ‘sport’.  

Director of Ford & Stanley and host of this years’ event Daniel Taylor said: “Shrovetide is unlike any other business, networking, or social event I have, or will ever attend. 

I think we had a perfect mix of personalities in attendance this year; coupled with the luck of the weather and a knockout organising team, it was the best year yet! Lastly, after five years of trying, I actually got my hands on the ball! Yes, I am a little battered and bruised as a result, but it was absolutely worth it!” 

We at Ford & Stanley would like to show our appreciation to Western Cars, The Bridge and The Viceroy for the stellar hospitality we received throughout the day.

We also want to say another thank you to our guests, for making Shrovetide 2019 such a memorable event.

Finally, congratulations go to the Down’ards – who scored the winning goal on Day 2 !!

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