Thomas' goaled ball from Shrovetide 1923 is pride of Joan's family
AN HISTORIC ball from a Shrovetide football match in 1923 has been kept under a table in a Derbyshire home for more than 30 years.
Thomas Cotterill-Waterfall "goaled" the plain brown ball during the annual match 90 years ago.
It was handed to his son John Waterfall after his death and has been kept safe in his home since.
After John's death in February 2000, the ball passed to his wife Joan who has carefully looked after it.
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Mrs Waterfall, 74, of Coronation Road, Mapperley, near Ilkeston, said: "It is sentimental.
"We've had it in our house for over 30 years. It's been kept in the front room under a table."
Mrs Waterfall said her father-in-law Thomas worked as a farmer at the Dairy House in Longford at the time of the winning match.
"He was living in Longford at the time he goaled it but I have no idea which side of the brook he lived which made him an Up'ard or a Down'ard," she said.
"My husband John was nine years old when he was given it. John had polio at the age of 11 which left him with one leg weaker than the other. Because of that, he never got the chance to play Shrovetide – but he was very proud of his dad."
Mrs Waterfall said the ball in those days was never painted – instead, it was left brown.
She said: "Now and again the daughter of the lady across the road gives it a clean with some saddle soap and oil to protect it.
"It's never been sat on the mantlepiece. It's always been handled.
"There are lots of people who know about it and my family and their children have all had a look at it over the years. They can't believe it because you can't imagine somebody carrying it during the game. To me it seems heavy!"
Mrs Waterfall said she had attended one Shrovetide game in her lifetime, around 20 years ago.
"There were six of us all stood watching," she said. "There was a surge towards us and the next minute my feet were off the ground!"
Tomorrow's Shrovetide ball will be turned up by John Tomkinson and Wednesday's by Nigel Brown.
Mayor of Ashbourne, Steve Bull, who turned up the ball last Ash Wednesday, said windows had been boarded up over the weekend in preparation for the game.
He added: "Everyone is excited and we are hoping for two good days of play."