In Words

If you’re already having palpitations about England getting hosed by the Germans again at this year’s European Championships, don’t watch this video. It shows the triumphant German marbles team beating us at our own game at the 2014 World Marbles Championship. I mention this because tomorrow sees the 84th championship taking place at the Greyhound pub in Tinsley Green, Sussex, as it has done on Good Friday every year since 1932.

An unlikely venue for a world championship, Tinsley Green is a small village on the fringes of Crawley. Look out of your starboard window as you’re flying into Gatwick and you might just make it out. But it’s a place dripping in history, for they’ve been playing competitive marbles here since 1538, when two Elizabethan suitors by the names of Giles and Hodge locked horns on the marbles ring for the favour of a local maiden.

The game has rules, of course, which is where ‘cabbaging’ comes in. Cabbaging is cheating. It’s about as despicable as a marbles player can get. One who cabbages is guilty of moving his or her large marble (the tolley) nearer to the target illegally. It’s a bit like taking a penalty from 10 yards rather than 12.

Now there’s a thought…

2016 World Marbles Championship
The Greyhound Inn, Radford Road, Tinsley Green, West Sussex, RH10 3NS

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