The Brits proved there was still a little Olympic spirit in the air when they flicked their way to victory in the World Marbles Championships on Good Friday.
On a bitterly cold day, the Black Dog Boozers, from Northgate, were crowned champions after they beat the Johnson Jets in an all-Crawley final at The Greyhound Pub, Tinsley Green.
The championships, which attract teams from as far afield as the USA and Germany, have been played in the pub car park since 1932.
Legend has it that the contest began in 1588 when two local lads battled – in the most gentlemanly of manners – for the hand of a young maiden.
Last year’s champs, 1st MC Erzgebirge, from Germany, may not have been able to retain their title but Chris Pampel – holder of the Individual Winner title – knuckled down and proved he was the best of the bunch once more.
The Ladies’ title went to Alison Reimer, of the Handcross 49ers, while Paul Smith, of the Johnson Jets, won the Golden Oldies title.
Arguably the most entertaining team were The Twosies Minus One, from Redhill, who dressed as animals and reduced the crowd to tears of laughter with their antics.
Organiser Sam McCarthy-Fox: “It was an all-Crawley final which was absolutely brilliant. It was a really nice day but it was very cold!
“We didn’t have the usual amount of people because of the weather, but everyone who turned up had a really good time. It went really well.”
But change may be in the air and Sam admitted to being “a bit worried” about the future of the contest with The Greyhound due to be handed over to a new landlord this month.
He added: “We hope to put it on again next year. It is one of those things where the landlord is leaving in April and we are a bit worried what will happen when someone else takes over. A couple of years ago it was stopped but we are hoping that it will continue for many many years to come.”
See this week’s Observer for more pictures. On sale now.