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Divided by Centuries, United by Values!

Tuesday 22 November 2016, 4.41pm

In a historic encounter England’s oldest organised sport, Stoolball, came face to face with England’s youngest sport, Yorkshire-born VX.

Although the two sports are almost 500 years apart VX and stoolball are facing similar issues and in a gesture of friendship and solidarity across the centuries England’s oldest and youngest organised sports came together for a joint event that they hope might become a regular occurrence.

Stoolball, the elder statesman/woman, is an ancient English game which, in its original form was played over 500 years ago. It is said to be the forerunner of cricket and baseball, and is mentioned in Shakespeare’s ‘The Two Noble Kinsmen’.  Once popular right across England, it has been played at Lord’s cricket ground and in the gardens of Buckingham Palace, and overseas including Sri Lanka, India and Australia – even on ocean liners! In 2012 Stoolball made history again with its first ever England match.  Played in teams of 11 outdoors over summer, indoor stoolball is played in teams of 8 over winter.

VX, the young pretender, was born in Yorkshire and is only ten years old.  Played in teams of 5, there are no goals, zones, markings or targets.  Players carry a VstiX which has a thrower/catcher on each end and can move anywhere on court.  They score points by hitting their opponents with the sports balls (scores 1 point) or catching an opponent’s shot (scores 3 points).  As well as the team version of VX there are also singles (V2) and doubles (V4) both played in squash courts.  In its short life VX has spread rapidly to the point where it now has 15 National Governing Bodies and increasing international competition including European and World Championships in both the team and singles disciplines.

VX now runs international squads in Junior, Youth, Senior and Masters categories and it was a Masters team that set off from Yorkshire to travel to Sussex.  The VX party consisted of Ian Crosby (CEO of VX England), Matty Carr (Assistant Coach) and the team – Paul Hildreth, Karen Bruin, Ricky Gibson,  Leigh Branton, Lee Cottrell, Jill Stocks and Dave Snowdon, representing six different clubs between them.

The event was held at the stunning and historic Worth Abbey School and started by introducing the VXers to stoolball.   A short practice tournament followed to let the VXers get to grips with the sport before they faced the Stoolball England team.

After a short break it was the turn of the VXers to introduce the Stoolballers to VX.  The session followed a similar format with some practice games before England VX faced England Stoolball.  Unsurprisingly there were no upsets in the two matches!

Ian said: “This event has been quite some time in the making and we are very grateful to Stoolball England for their hospitality.  I was delighted to see such friendships and bonds being forged between the two sports and I was very interested to see how quickly the players got to grips with each others’ sports.  We look forward to being able to reciprocate next year.”