The Inter Village Games is a sports based tournament that takes place every year between villages in ‘bow and arrow’ country; the part of Suffolk that could be described as in the middle of nowhere but prefers to know itself as in the middle of everywhere. The competition was started to form a focus sporting activity for villages, many of whom had no playing field and some only had a hut for a village hall. The aim is to have 10 villages competing (it makes the scoring easy) but at present there are eight.
Each village takes a turn at hosting the games. Part of the deal is that the host village chooses the events, so of course they can skew things slightly in their favour. There are a group of pre-event games such as bowls, football, rounders, a quiz and badminton. Villages select a number of events from the list to enter. On the main day there is a ‘sports day’ like feel, with the usual running races, both long and short distances other regular village type sports such as tug of war and three-legged races feature. Again teams choose from a list but there are also some compulsory events which all villages must enter. All the events include age bands so there might be an over 40s distance run followed by an eight and under sprint.
There are some events that are quite unusual and only tend to occur at the Inter Village Games. We have four on two planks, with the planks passed from one generation to the next; egg throwing, slow bicycle and the wheelbarrow race uses real wheelbarrows.
There are always thrills and spills, controversy and tears. When people win they literally jump for joy – like the Badingham team member above. Everyone says ‘never again’ and then turns up the next year to seek retribution. This is the first year in a very long time that I have not been directly involved, due to signing up for the Great East Swim and not spotting the date clash. There are adults now taking part who were babes in arms when I first became involved. Dennington really needs to replace its tennis courts and villages are very dependent on their ability to raise funds through events like this.
I wish everyone the very best of luck both as participants and organisers.
UPDATE: Current positions as of 20th June 2010 morning – The main day starts this afternoon – Good Luck to Everyone – Click on image to open in bigger screen
1st Place Dennington, 2nd Badingham,
Please click on the link below for PDF of final score grid
p.s. The Inter Village Games are known by the local St John’s Ambulance as the inter village blood sports; for pictures from last years event go to nearthecoast.com