The traditional Orkney Ba’ took place today, with the ‘Doonies’, claiming a double victory in the mass form of football that takes place annually around the festive period.
The Ba’ game, one of a number that takes place in Scotland, sees those from ‘Up-the-Gates’ or Uppies, take on the Doonies, from ‘Doon-the-gates’, two areas in Kirkwall, the largest settlement in Orkney.
The game is similar to the oldest forms of football, when entire towns or villages would be involved in a rugby-like scrum, with the object of the Kirkwall game to get the Ba’ itself (a leather ball), into the opposing side’s area.
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For the Doonies, this means getting the Ba’ into the harbour of their rivals, which they achieved on both the Christmas Day running of the event, which attracts hundreds of competitors, and the game today.
The nature of the contest means there is both a team winner, and an individual one, with heated debates often taking place before the identity of the man who made the winning move is revealed.
Doonie Kevin Gray was hoisted aloft by his teammates per tradition on Christmas, after being named the Ba’ winner.
Fellow Doonie Kevin Sinclair was named today’s winner.