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  • Writer's picturePhil Allen (Membership Secretary)

Feast Day

With no match this weekend the focus changes to the traditional Feast day fixture on Monday 8th February, kick off is scheduled for 7:30pm

What’s it all about? The St Ives Feast is an ancient tradition that celebrates the anniversary of the consecration of the Parish Church of St Eia in 1434 AD and offers a rare chance to watch the game of hurling the Silver Ball, a centuries old form of rugby. Taking place in one of Cornwall’s most popular seaside towns, watching the hurling is an intriguing insight into one of Cornwall’s most ancient traditions. Take a ring side seat near the beach and cheer for your favourite participant, some of whom dive into the chilly sea to escape with the ball. Did you know?

Hurling the Silver Ball is one of Cornwall's oldest customs dating back at least a thousand years. Of unknown origin, the game involves much physical rough and tumble as each side (traditionally the 'countrymen' and 'townsmen' of a particular parish) tries to keep possession of a cricket ball-sized ball made of apple wood coated in silver.

These days, Cornish Hurling has all but disappeared, although it is still played once a year in St Ives and St Columb Major, near Newquay.

What happens? The feast day falls in February and starts off with the mayor’s civic procession for the blessing at St Ia Well near Porthmeor Beach followed by the start of the boisterous hurling of the silver ball when participants attempt to win the ball off each other around the town. Whoever returns the ball to the mayor on the steps of St Ives Guildhall on the stroke of midday receives a silver coin. In the afternoon, pennies are proffered from the balcony by town councillors to the waiting children on the Guildhall forecourt. Later in the evening a rugby match takes place at St Ives RFC Alexandra Road against a selected opposition. Rugby History

St Ives have played various sides on Feast day including a Cornwall select XV, Devon and Cornwall Police, Cornwall combined services and Cornwall Club XV. Traditionally the mayor will commence the match with a kick to the opposition and then the match commences with a scrum to the home side.

How can you take part?

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