|Silver Hurling ball from Saint Columb - Original photo by Denis Ellery reproduced with permission. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License. (I cant find the name of the contributor)|
[cont.] "...Every village, hamlet, and farmstead has sent its contingent. Talskiddy, Trebudannon, Trekenning, Trezaddern, Tregatillion, Tregameer, and Trevithick, to say nothing of the “Pols” and “Pens,” have sent their sturdiest and fleetest. Meanwhile in the town all is stir and bustle. Schools, workshops, and businesses are closed, shops are carefully shuttered, and the windows of private houses are boarded. By four o’clock a big crowd has congregated in the “Square” (which, by the way, is three-cornered), and a deal of horse-play, potato-throwing, and noise is going on. At a quarter past four the crowd collects in a compact body, in the centre of which is the hero of last year. Holding the ball in his hand, and raising it aloft, he shouts, “Hip! hip! hip!” and a mighty “Hurrah!” announces to the town that the ball has been “called up.”
Dispersing for a quarter of an hour, many unhappily wending their way to the nearest public houses for a final “wet,’ they again collect, and with another “Hip! hip! hip!” and another mighty “Hurrah!" the ball is thrown high in the air, and the fun begins.
No one is allowed to hold the ball, it must be thrown from one to the other at once, or you find yourself on your back, and by the time you have regained your feet the ball is several hundred yards away, being hurled now in this direction, now in that.
The long narrow street is alive with rushing, shouting, excited men and boys; the townsfolk nimble, alert, and trisky; throwing and catching with marvellous precision ; the country “clouts” covering the ground with huge strides, sending the town apprentices and clerks spinning and sprawling with their fierce rushes, and hurling the bail with the force of giants, the result of their practice during the preceding weeks in throwing swede-turnips for want of “lattice” balls.
Let us watch the ball, the new silver ball, which arrived only yesterday from London, polished like a mirror, and wrapped in cotton wool, now battered, bruised, and besmirched. See it crashing on the roofs of the houses and bounding into the streets, scrambled for by a crowd now almost vicious; tossed from hand to hand, smashing gas-lamps, bruising many a limb; lost for a time in some backyard, now banging through a bedroom window, to be thrown out again by the terrified occupant; one moment landing on the nose of a burly farmer, and the next showing its impartiality by knocking out the front teeth of an excited townsman.
And so the fun grows fast and furious, until, dodging through a side street, a dash is made for the Town goal; and away across gardens and meadows, fields and lanes, the hurlers rush; climbing hedges and gates, leaping ditches and streams; on, on the rush; one wild, pushing, shooting crowd full-grown men who yesterday might have passed for Quakers or Plymouth Brethren; laughing, shrieking lads who to-morrow will be soberly poring over their books or sedately serving behind their masters’ counters. On they rush in hot pursuit of the flying for wards, who by this time are nearing the goal; only a few yards more and the game will be theirs. But as they scramble through the last hedge into the main road where stands the goal, lo! a sturdy group of countrymen await them. Pausing never for a moment, the townsmen dash for the goal. A fierce struggle ensues; pushing, shouting, battling, till out of the scrimmage and scramble the damaged ball rolls, and in an instant is pounced on by a watchful countryman, and the next is whirling through the air away back to the town, and on towards the opposite goal. Puffing, panting, perspiring, the hurlers press on, now this way, now that, until the light begins to fade, and in the gathering twilight a final rush is made, the goal no longer guarded is reached, and the game is won.
The hero of the hour marches back to the three-cornered “square” surrounded and protected by his excited comrades, and with a final “Hip! hip! hip! hurrah!” the “hurling” is over, and the tired and tattered crowd disperses.
Barbaric sport? Yes. Relic of a savage age? Undoubtedly; yet it lives on, and will live. How long has it been played? Nobody knows. The proverbial “oldest inhabitant” can but say that his grandfather played it, and that his great-grandfather had his head broken through it. Local historians and eminent antiquaries have sought for its origin, and have come back from the search baffled and beaten, leaving it shrouded in the dim mists of bygone days.
Grand old game, fit child of dear, wild, rugged, but matchless Cornwall. “Hip hip! hip! hurrah!” for the old county, is pancakes, pilchard. and pasties, and one more for St. Columb and its “hurling-day.”"
[I cannot find Trezaddern]