Come New Year’s Day there tends to be a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth as people come to their senses and take stock of the devastation which they wrought on their livers the ; night before. In Kirkwall, Orkney, a novel method of shaking off that hangover has evolved in the shape of the Ba’.
Several hundred men, split into two teams, the Uppies and the Doonies, gather around the Mercat Cross. When the cathedral clock chimes, a 4lb leather ball is thrown into the air and both sides surge forward into a mass scrum. Steam rises, the ba’ disappears into the melee and merry hell reigns supreme for several hours. The idea of the game is to carry the ball to your own goal and prevent your opponents from doing likewise. There are no rules.
The game evolved from the centuries-old tradition of having a large scale kickaround on the parish green to mark important social events, ;
The Orkney game: spot the 83'
especially Christmas and New Year - although never on the Sabbath. The ‘ Ba’ represented the sun and fertility.
The Doonies, who were fishermen, would try to throw the ba’ into the
harbour, thus ensuring a bountiful ' catch in their nets. The Uppies, who were farmers, would try to carry the
ba’ up to the castle thus guaranteeing a good harvest. Until recently, a small
Norway fishing village would phone up
to check whether they were likely to
have a fruitful season on the high seas. At the end of the game, the ' player judged to have been the star
performer is awarded the ba’, which is given pride of place in his front window.
Hearty cameraderie and much in the way of libations are the order of the day after the match, but during the game the odd cracked rib and bout of
fisticuffs are not unheard of. Makes the Old Firm derby clash look like a bun fight. (Jonathan Trew)
Events are listed alphabetically by sport, | then by day. Sport Listings compiled by Jonathan Trew.
WHEE— i Friday 30-Saturday 31
I New Year Athletics Gala Meadowbank Stadium. 652 2178. Doors 10.30am. events noon. £5. under 16s free. Two days of track events featuring both amateur competitors and a host of Welsh and Scottish internationalists. The second day sees the 125th year of the former
Powderhall Sprint. now known as the
New Year Sprint.
I New Year’s Day Triathlon Royal Commonwealth Pool. ()pen event. lptn.
Entry forms from Edinburgh District
Council sports centres and main swimming pools. or by sending a SAE to Unique Events. 25 Greenside Place. Edinburgh. EH1 3AA. Entrance fee £10. Here‘s the deal: swim 400 metres in the Commonwealth Pool. cycle ten miles (that‘s three times around Arthur's Seat) and then run three and a third miles (once round). There‘s a £500 spot prize and other prizes for winning competitors.
BALLOON RACE Sunday 1
I Hot Air Balloon Race Arthur's Seat. 1pm. Weather permitting. contestants from all over Britain will race over one of Edinburgh's most distinctive landmarks while the Triathlon rages below.
I Race Days Tuesdays. Thursdays and Saturdays. Shawlield Stadium. Rutherglen Road. Glasgow. There are ten races in each meeting starting at 7.45pm.
I Race Days Tuesdays. Thursdays and Saturdays. Powderhall Stadium. Beaverhall Road. Edinburgh. Each meeting includes ten races. starting at 7.30pm. Race programme free with admission.
FOOTBALL Monday 26
I Dundee United v Kilmarnock Tannadice Park. Dundee. 3pm.
I Aberdeen V Celtic Pittodrie Stadium. Pittodrie Street. Aberdeen. 3pm.
I Falkirk v Motherwell Brockville Park. Hope Street. Falkirk. 3pm.
I Hearts v Partick Thistle Tynecastle Park. Gorgie Road. Edinburgh. 3pm.
I Rangers V Hibs lbrox. Edmiston Drive. Glasgow. 3pm.
I St Mirren v Stranraer St Mirren Park. Love Street. Paisley. 3pm.
I Hamilton v Dundee Firhill Park. Firhill Road. 3pm.
I Raith Rovers V Airdrie Starks Park. Pratt Street. Kirkcaldy. 3pm.
I Ayr United V Clydebank Somerset Park. Tryi‘teld Place. Ayr. 3pm.
I St Johnstone v Ounfennline McDiarmid Park. Crieff Road. Perth. 3pm.
I Celtic V Falkirk Hampden Park. Glasgow. 3pm.
I Motherwell v Rangers Firpark. Motherwell. 3pm.
I Ribs V Dundee United Easter Road Stadium. Albion Road. Edinburgh. 3pm. I Partick Thistle v Kilmamock Firhiil Park. Eirhill Road. Glasgow. 3pm.
I Aberdeen v Hearts Pittodrie Stadium. Pittodrie Street. Aberdeen. 3pm.
I Airdie v Ounfennline Broadwood Stadium. Cumbernauld. 3pm.
I Clydebank v Stranraer Kilbowie Park. Arran Place. Clydebank. 3pm.
I Raith Rovers v St Johnstone Starks Park. Pratt Street. Kirkcaldy. 3pm.
I Ayr United v Hamilton Somerset Park. Tryf'teld Place. Ayr. 3pm.
I Dundee v St Mirren Dens Park. Sandeman Street. Dundee. 3pm.
I Dundee United v Aberdeen Tannadice Park. Dundee. 3pm.
I Falkirk V Partick Thistle Brockville Park. Hope Street. Falkirk. 3pm.
I Hearts V Hibs Tynecastle Park. Gorgie Road. Edinburgh. 3pm.
I Rangers V Celtic lbrox. Edmiston Drive. Glasgow. 3pm.
I Kilmamock v Motherwell Rugby Park. Kilmamock. 3pm
I St erren v Clydebank St Mirren Park. Love Street. Paisley. 3pm:
I Hamilton v Alrdrie Firhill Park. Firhill
I St Johnstone v Dundee McDiarmid
PICK OF ’94
The List’s leading commentators pick the sporting highlights of the
I Raith Rovers v Celtic Coca Cola Cup Final at lbrox. Any Division One team that can take on the might of an Old Firm team and lift their ﬁrst cup in 46 years gets our vote for outstanding achievement. As does Paul McStay‘s penalty miss. RURRERS UP
II South Africa’s return to International rugby Proof positive. if any was needed. that practice makes perfect.
I Dundee United v Rangers Scottish Cup Final at Hampden. Eighty-five years old and they still managed to beat Rangers at their bogey ground on the seventh attempt.
I David Doulthard for a hi ghly successful season with the Williams Grand Prix Team.
Park. Crief Road. Perth. 3pm.
I Stranraer v Ayr United Stair Park. London Road. Stranraer. 3pm
I Ounfennline v Raith Rovers East End Park. Halbeath Road. Dunfermline. 3pm.
I Celtic V Dundee United Hampden Park. Glasgow. 3pm.
I Motherwell v Hearts l-‘irpurk. Motherwell. 3pm.
I Ribs V Kilmarnock Easter Road Stadium. Albion Road. Edinburgh. 3pm. I Partick Thistle v Rangers Firhill Park. Firhill Road. Glasgow. 3pm.
I Aberdeen V Falkirk Pittodrie Stadium. Pittodrie Street. Aberdeen. 3pm.
I Alrdie v St Johnstone Brmdwotxl Stadium. Cumbernauld. 3pm.
I Clydebank v Ounfennline Kilbowie Park. Arran Place. Clydcbank. 3pm.
I Raith Rovers v Hamilton Starks Park. Pratt Street. Kirkcaldy. 3pm.
I Ayr United V St Mirren Somerset Park. Trylield Place. Ayr. 3pm.
I Dundee v Stranraer Dens Park. Sandeman Street. Dundee. 3pm.
I Edinburgh Races Musselburgh Racecourse. Linktield Road. Musselburgh. First race is at 12.45pm. National Hunt racing.
I Ayr Races Ayr Racecourse. 2 Whitletts Road. Ayr. First race 1.05pm. National Hunt racing from Scotland’s premier track. An excellent way to shake that Boxing Day hangover.
I Portobello Promethon Portobello Promenade. 661 6l85. The two mile Fun Run starts at 12.30pm and is open to all. The main race begins at 1pm. is four miles long and is for more serious competitors. Both races start and finish at Edinburgh Dog and Cat Home. Seaﬁeld.
amaz— Friday 16-Sunday 18 ‘
I Scottish llational Championshlps Heriot Watt University. Riccarton. Edinburgh. Information: ()786 832688. Scotland’s top notch players hurtle round the courts and shed some pounds in time i for their Christmas dinner. j
The List 16 December l994—l2 January I995 95