Thursday, November 20, 2003

# Posted 3:11 AM by Patrick Belton  

TIME FOR THE WORLD'S MOST UNUSUAL SPORT: That being the Eton Wall Game, played (in the version that counts, anyway) annually on the Saturday before St Andrew's Day. (Which also happens this year to be the date of another important academic sporting event in Britain's daughter country.) Thus Economist:
The wall game is played on only one ground in the world, at Eton College, a few miles west of London; and even there, only by a select few of the school's 70 “collegers”, or scholarship-holders, plus a small number of “oppidans”, the fee-payers who comprise most of the school's roughly 1,300 pupils. Add a few former (or unsuspecting) players invited to make up the occasional visiting side, and you have the wall game community of the planet.
Eton helpfully provides the rules of the game (the inspiration of rugby as well as Harry Potter's Quidditch), as well as a brief explanation of something which, to many O.E.s as well as bystanders, seems perennially to defy explanation.

The Collegers v Oppidans match takes place this Saturday at the Wall, at 11.10.
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