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I'm Alex Horne, a professional freelance sports archaeologist.
And I've discovered some forgotten sports, some sports
that have been lost, abandoned down the back of the sporting sofa.
So I've undertaken to play these sports again and, if possible,
to encourage others to do the same.
Ever since my first car race,
sporting competition has driven my life.
Mostly against my brothers, Chip and Matt.
As we tried every sport, they filled the house with trophies.
I got one.
I'm not bitter, but it did give me the thirst for new, different games.
Games like sports-related hat making
and hovering ball watching.
I'm a bit older and hairier now, but still as sports-mad.
And when I discovered extinct sports called things like,
the quintain, and the jingling match,
I just had to try them.
So I will.
But it was an advert in a newspaper from 1794 that blew me away.
"A very singular game of cricket will be played
"on Tuesday 6th May in Lindstedt Park
"between the gentlemen of the hill and the gentlemen of the dale,
"for one guinea a man,
"the whole to be performed on horseback."
Yes, cricket, but on horseback. An amazing idea.
Unfortunately that advert is pretty much all we now know about the game.
There are no clues as to how it was actually played.
So, that's what I'd need to figure out. That was my mission.
When you're thinking of staging a pioneering game of cricket,
there's really only one place to go.
Its spiritual home. So, here we are.
It's Lord's in winter time.
As you can see, everything is shut.
Not much business going on.
So, I'm going to try to persuade them
to let us play cricket on horseback here.
It should hopefully bring in the crowds.
One thing that was open was the museum,
which is a great place for a sports archaeologist to visit.
As you can see, it's a treasure trove of the history of cricket.
Have you got any evidence here of horseback cricket?
I am surprised because there are definite reports of it.
I believe there are photographs in existence of people
travelling to cricket matches on horseback.
It would seem to be more remarkable that people didn't think,
"Let's just get these horses on the pitch."
Especially if the ground was uneven anyway.
So that's not an issue.
At the time, there were no lawnmowers, so the grass was
kept short by a flock of sheep.
Did sheep get involved in the game?
I believe they were removed before the match actually started.
Quite handy fielders if the ball just embeds in the wool.
You can pluck it out and that's a wicket.
When I look out on that, the Lord's pitch,
what I see is horses.
I think what this needs is horses.
What are the chances that we can do our game here?
-I'd have to say slim to nil.
Somewhere between slim and nil?
I was trying to sugar the pill there a bit for you.
I'm afraid it's a nice idea, but somehow I don't think
our chief groundsman is going to go for it.
-Maybe you should try the Oval.
-Nothing I can say will persuade you?
I'm afraid not.
Disappointed, but not deterred,
I thought I'd try a popular 13th century sport as a warm-up.
This one didn't involve horses, but it was related to a sport that did.
Quintain is essentially pedestrian jousting for the horseless masses.
It was a military exercise before becoming a sport
and in Henry III's time, the traditional prize was a peacock.
I've always been a fan of sticks, so for me a sport centred
on a big stick was always going to be a winner.
But first, I needed to find one.
I've managed to persuade the local chippie
to help construct things that I can't construct
because there are certain items that you can't buy in the shops
because these sports are no more.
So this is his workshop.
I love workshops. I want a workshop, but I wouldn't know
how to work in a shop.
-So, I need you to build me some things.
First up, I need you to build me a quintain.
-Which is a...?
For now, just a standard quintain.
You keep saying quintain. I don't know what that is.
This is jousting, but without the horses.
So jousting, not on horseback.
I think, as far as I know, the quintain is the target.
-The pole is the key.
-Do you need a pole as well?
Yes. So, you know what poles are?
I know what poles are.
What sort of dimensions of pole are we talking about?
I'm thinking like that,
just your standard jousting length. Common sense, really.
If I roll-out a tape measure and say, "This long", you say yes or no.
Very professional, Jim. Can we just use that, maybe?
It's not hugely secure.
So it's like that but more girth and more sturdiness.
OK, this is a nine foot quintain.
I think this is reasonable.
-That was quite dramatic.
-Quite the direct strike.
-Did it hurt?
-No. But I think you'd have got me in the abdomen.
I'd have been on my way to hospital.
So you're running 100 metres with a lance?
It's going to be exhausting.
And you're expecting a lot of takers for this?
Maybe not 100 metres. I haven't quite thought this through yet.
So, see you in a week and a half.
See you later.
-Good luck making the thing.
There were a load of sports played at 18th century country fairs,
which I think are definitely worth another go.
But they're not really full-blown sports.
They're more like sportettes, like trampolining or keepy-uppys.
One of them was called hot hasty pudding eating.
In this game, players quite simply have to eat hot pies
as fast as possible.
"He whose throat is widest and most callous
"is sure to be the conqueror",
said one commentator at the time.
And I think it's got to be worth rekindling a sport
designed specifically for people with both wide and callous throats.
It's worth reiterating just how
much of an undertaking a game of cricket on horseback would be.
Maybe there's a good
reason why it hadn't been played for over 200 years.
There are certainly lots of practicalities to sort out.
Like, do you sit side-saddle or cowboy?
How big do the wickets have to be?
And is at best on a big or a small horse?
To find the answers to these questions, one must experiment.
So, Jim's made me a wooden horse to practice on.
And I found some amateur cricketers to help out.
One of them, Sam Knight, can even ride a horse.
And I managed to talk him
into being my opposing team captain for the big match.
This is the first time I've been allowed to hold a bat
whilst being on a horse.
Even if it's not a living, breathing horse.
This is the most exciting moment of cricket on horseback for me so far.
Bring it on! Aim wherever you want.
The higher the better. That's great.
Good boy. Have a sugar lump.
Horse is getting jumpy. It really is making me think this is possible.
I think my big reservation is that people
are going to be very conservative in the saddle and they're not going to
have much confidence in their movement
in being able to hit the ball. When you're... Oh!
Good ball. I'm a bit frightened of you. That's the trouble.
I'd imagine a ball of any kind of size
being lobbed at the horse's head...
I don't know about that.
I don't know whether the horse will just be so abstract
they couldn't possibly think the ball would be thrown at them.
I'm just going to now attempt
the other style of batting that we talked about.
With the horse facing the other way.
This feels much harder.
I don't like this at all.
Oh, dear me. Oh no. I don't like this.
It has to be the other way around. That's a lesson learned.
This is easier than using an actual horse.
You're slightly lower down.
Slightly more stable. I think they'd be more comfortable than that.
-That is quite a rigid plank.
-They're made for riding.
Yeah. Are they made for riding?
-Horses are made for men to sit on?
-Yeah. I think so.
-I didn't realise that. Made for cricket.
That's a great delivery.
Say if we do complete five overs each,
what do you think is a good score?
-Over five overs?
-That's a good score.
That could be tough on this wicket?
I disagree because I think the runs will keep going
whilst everyone else is scrabbling around.
It'll be the fielding that's difficult.
The experiment is a resounding success.
We now know how to sit, how the horse should face
and that a softer ball is probably a good idea.
It was a lovely winter's day
and having worked out my horseback cricket tactics,
time to visit my local equestrian centre.
Equestrian centres are excellent places.
Mainly because, unlike Lord's, they've got
the most essential element for my game of cricket on horseback.
Horses! There are horses here.
They also have a lovely lady called Jo in charge.
Hi. I'm Alex.
Pleased to meet you.
She knows lot about horses. And I was hoping she could help.
They are big, aren't they?
Enormous. Bigger than I remembered.
She is a fine specimen.
It's a she? OK. I don't know if it's a male-only sport.
Not important. Filly...
-Do you talk to them like that?
-Yes. Give her a stroke.
Fancy a game of cricket?
Doesn't seem that impressed by me.
Yeah, quite scared.
You've never staged cricket on horseback before?
-And you've got concerns but you're not entirely negative?
The horses are not used to
having balls thrown at them or horses galloping towards them.
So we need some serious training with these horses.
-Can we not sort of tether them down?
-No, no, no.
-And what about horse...
Manure, thank you. Can we tell them to wait till half-time?
You're being very calm.
I think you're being calmer than me.
I'm not the one that's going to ride
-a horse for the first time and try and swing a bat round it.
-I can ride.
I've heard that many times before!
-It's just sitting on a wide moving chair.
This game was last played at the turn of the 18th century
when George III was king.
Most gentlemen owned horses and knew how to ride them.
I had ridden a horse before - twice.
But that was a long time ago.
And I did have diarrhoea.
So I needed a refresher course on a mechanical horse.
I quickly learned this game might be tricky.
Wow. This is good.
When playing normal cricket, you don't have to move up and down...
-Now we're going to try and get it into a rhythm.
-..or not fall off.
But maybe this would be more fun.
All I could do was hold on and think of England...
Get that ball!
..and, some day soon, opening the batting.
They were so impressed with my action in the saddle,
I went straight from unreal horse to real horse.
I was taking the first real steps towards playing my new/old sport.
And with four legs instead of two,
these steps were sprightly and only slightly scary.
Now sit tall and walk on.
You need a bit more practice at this before we go cricketing!
I think that's fair enough, yeah.
If I'm honest, I find a lot of modern sports quite dull.
Unless there's a ball involved, no fun at all.
But, in the 18th century, they spiced up running
with some bets and elaborate wagers
which I think would definitely make it more interesting.
For example, in 1788,
a fat man called Bullock ran against a man carrying a jockey on his back.
And a fish hawker ran seven miles
with 56 pounds of fish on his head.
Much more exciting than our boring modern 100 metre sprint.
I thought I'd honour this tradition by combining these races and running
against my old friend and rival Tim Key.
We'd see if this really did make running fun.
Instead of 56 pounds of fish, I gave Tim 56 tins of tuna.
And because I'm neither fat nor called Bullock,
I would be the jockey on the back of another man.
This is Winston. He used to play football for AFC Wimbledon reserves.
-Are we using the hurdles?
-Not today. We're running past the hurdles.
For some reason, Tim felt sorry for me
and gave me a head start of 40 metres.
I think he was trying to show a bit of bravado really
by choosing such a distance.
I think 40 metres is a lot to catch up.
Although I wasn't quite sure his mind was fully on the race.
When you're an adult, you realise that you can have
tuna and not in a tin.
You can get like a tuna steak.
That's steak, though, isn't it? That's beef.
No. That's beef.
Stay in your lane, stay in your lane.
You're doing very well. Come on!
He's coming. We can do this.
Just a bit too slow there. Are you all right? You're out of breath.
I'm barely breathing.
You can't kick the fish.
That's not really in the spirit. Timmy?
So, a comfortable victory there for myself.
Slightly better athlete than old Tim there.
Seems knocked out by the endeavour.
Still, good safe run by me. So, enjoyed that.
This was a fine victory for me and for the sport of running.
Surely the Olympics would be even more exciting
if it featured races like this.
I mean, imagine the relay with jockeys and fish carriers.
Another way of livening up running
is to do it with a big stick running towards a target - the quintain.
Jim had done his bit to let me try this, too.
Look at this.
It moves. So this is the quintain target.
Lovely. So, here it is. This is the quintain pole.
Look at that.
You could do some damage with that. It's really heavy!
For me, this is a perfect bit of sporting equipment.
I can imagine kids saying, "What quintain have you got?"
I'd say, "I've got the original carpenter Jim edition".
This could be worth thousands in years to come. He's done a good job.
My main problem is getting this in my small red car.
Commissioning the equipment was one thing.
The next was how to make a game of it.
There we go!
The day was cold and wet, but any day's perfect for quintain.
The wood smells like sport.
I think a sport should have a smell associated with it.
Like Deep Heat with rugby.
I think that's about right. OK, so there we go.
The target is up. So now I just need to put the pole back together.
So twisty twisty twisty for about seven or eight minutes.
I'm not sure if I'm wearing the correct gear.
Obviously this is going to be eventually an Olympic sport
so I want to be in singlets.
Well, a singlet.
Here we are, 100 metres away from the quintain target.
It's been a while since I've done any exercise,
so this could be quite a test.
We've started the watch. 100 metres.
It's a long way away.
It's difficult to run without using your arms.
That's the problem so far. Must be over half way now.
The pole's wobbling.
I don't want to miss after all this.
Stop the clock. I didn't start the clock.
I didn't start the clock.
I didn't start the clock.
And we're off.
There we go. And that's got to be 10 metres. The target is looming.
There we go.
That's the first fall.
Official time of the first quintain run is 16.62 seconds.
That's a world record. New world record.
Quintain players used to run at a target shaped like a man,
often a Turkish man.
Oh, he's missed it, he's missed it!
Oh no. Completely missed the target.
But you can't do that nowadays.
Instead, modern quintain needs a scoring system.
Going for accuracy, going for accuracy!
You've got it. Bit high.
A bit high, but that was straight.
Points scored on the target divided by time taken to run at it.
A perfect scoring system for a perfect modern/old game.
I'm feeling extremely good about quintain.
It's a potentially great sport.
I'm wrecked, though. I really am.
I ran 400 metres for the first time in a decade.
So I do need a rest now. I feel sick.
I really do.
The smoking matches were two more genuine games
enjoyed at 18th century country fairs.
The first is a trial among the candidates,
who shall smoke a pipe full of tobacco in the shortest time.
The winner received either a tobacco box or "some trifling prize",
which I think is a brilliantly vague reward.
A trifling prize.
The second is precisely the reverse,
for he of them who can keep the tobacco alight within his pipe
and retain it there the longest receives a reward.
I can see no reason for these not to catch on once more.
I'm trying to promote cricket on horseback,
which is definitely a new/old sport.
It is not and never could be polo.
But as a research mission, polo is definitely worth a look.
Because it has got horses in it.
Particularly, because I have found arena polo, played in winter.
Polo was invented in Persia, a millennium-and-a-half ago.
Arena polo is its modern descendant, played on all weather pitches,
which is very handy on a rainy day like today.
So, Arthur, Some people summarise polo as hockey on horseback.
Is that fair, at all?
Yes, absolutely. You're doing exactly the same thing, aren't you?
We're trying to hit
a stupid little round object into a goal.
When you break it down, the basics are all rather pathetic, really!
That's the game. But you do have the advantage of being carried around
the field of play by a horse.
-You think that's an advantage?
And it's the great fun of the thing.
It's faster. It makes all the difference in the world.
But look fun what they're having.
They don't seem to mind this drizzle.
Actually, they wouldn't even notice it.
Once you're on a horse, you don't notice the drizzle.
Except, of course, if you're coming back on a cold day
from hunting, then you might.
But while the adrenalin is flowing, you just don't notice it.
As I'm watching, I'm thinking about this game of cricket on horseback
which I'm attempting to stage.
Well done, chaps.
I think, it seems to me, that if you're on a horse, the one thing
you want to be doing is moving fast in a straight line and I'm not sure
how much of that you will achieve.
The bowling will be a problem because you can only throw the ball so far.
I hope I don't disappoint you
by saying I don't think it will become a national sport overnight.
You could be right about that!
It struck me, watching, how easy you made it look just being on a horse
and then playing a sport.
It's not that easy. If you watch the top players in the world,
they make it look incredibly easy.
-I'm actually organising a game of cricket on horseback.
I'd be quite interested to watch.
-You are not tempted to play?
-I think I might stick with polo.
I don't think I would be very good at that!
Is that right? You would like to play cricket on horseback?
For this game of cricket on horseback, any advice or warnings?
Don't do it!
One of the problems is keeping the horse still.
Yes, as you can see, that is not always easy.
-Sorry, he doesn't like your microphone.
Hopefully, there won't be too many microphones around the cricket on horseback match.
What do you think about my idea, in short, of cricket on horseback?
-I think it's crazy.
In a good way?
But life is full of crazy people
and they add hugely to other people's enjoyment.
-So, go for it, but don't ask me to play!
-Fair enough. Thank you, Arthur.
I will take that as a compliment, an encouraging compliment.
Another of my sporting re-inventions is the throwing heptathlon.
Thankfully, it is an all weather sport.
Back in the 1400s, Londoners used to like throwing much more than we
do now. They would throw anything.
They used to throw lumps of wood, bars of metal.
Why? Because they had less to do?
Yes. They didn't have such organised sport so they used to
create their own games and there was a law put in place to stop them
throwing so much because they didn't practise their archery enough.
So we are going to re-enact the joy of throwing stuff.
It is cold and wet, isn't it?
It is, but that is what it used to be in the 1400s.
-Of course it did.
-Best of seven, good luck.
-Let's go. Sorry about that!
It just got me a little bit in the balls!
The first item.
Before cricket balls, they used turnips.
-We are going to throw a turnip first of all.
-Fine, give me a turnip.
-OK, I'll throw first.
That is a winner.
1-0. Next item is a cricket ball.
This is what the turnip evolved into, the cricket ball.
Do you want to go first?
You can throw your turnip further than the cricket ball.
Might as well throw a cricket bat.
I'll beat that. I'll beat that anyway.
-In honour of the discus, I've got a couple of flying rings.
That's bounced and it's still going and it is coming back!
It is coming back!
-It is 2-2, with three to play.
In honour of the javelin, I have got a snooker cue.
Come on, you first.
It broke a bit.
Oh, it's close!
In honour of the hammer, I've got tuna.
I thought it was dangerous to throw a hammer so I've got tuna.
Go on, then.
-You were lucky you had the roll.
-I'm not going to beat that, I don't think.
-I hope not, anyway.
3-3. In honour of the shot put,
I've got an equivalent weapon, which is some peas.
-So we're going to throw a pea each.
-I think I'm going to win this.
OK, 3-3. So it is all to play for, all to throw for.
-Not bad at all.
For throwing victory...
Where did it go?
There it is! There it is!
I have no doubt that this throwing heptathlon has Olympic potential.
I especially loved it because it was another victory over Tim.
And the weather.
Modern cricket may seem far removed from the world of horses
but the game's ancestral roots can be found in the farmyard.
The first ever cricketer was bored. She, yes, she, had done her milking
and was waiting for her shepherd boyfriend to come home.
So, to pass the time, she chucked things around.
To hand, there happened to be some turnips.
This was already a game. The mother of all games - throwing.
And when the shepherd did finally come home, the sheep
successfully herded for another day,
the crucial next step was taken on the journey towards cricket.
He threw the turnip back.
Either she hit his turnip with her stool
or she defended it like a wicket.
It doesn't really matter because either way,
the game of stoolball was invented.
Stoolball is not extinct, but it is quite rare.
It is still played, mainly in by women, in places
like Midhurst in West Sussex where I happened to grow up.
That is a great shot, very good.
So, here we are, Carol.
-This is stoolball.
-This is stoolball.
And this is your team.
-You can see cricket in it...
-Yes, very much.
-..or you can see how
the claim of cricket coming from it had some foundation.
Because there is the wicket, the running up to bowl -
I didn't realise there was this run-up. Oh, that is out.
The game hasn't changed, we think, in 500 or 600 years.
1450, yes, the first writings of it.
It seems strange that if cricket has grown from it and cricket has
spread across the world, why this has stood still.
You wonder whether if men played the sport,
things might have been a bit different.
We have always thought of it as a sport, a proper sport.
The fact that we have leagues in this area just...
-You have got leeks?
Oh, leagues, sorry. No, there are good at leeks here, lovely leeks.
So, that just confirms that we play the game properly
and for sufficient reason.
If they can bring more popularity to the sport, then that would be great.
OK, if I'm going to get involved, where shall I start playing?
-Girls, could Alex have a go now?
I feel like I'm going to make an idiot of myself,
but I'm quite excited about that prospect.
I think this might spook the horses if you ran them like this.
Even though it has been played for hundreds of years,
it was only in 2008 that stoolball was
officially recognised as a sport by Sport England,
the UK sports governing body.
That's me out.
I'll have a bowl.
Oh, dear. Oh, bit low, rubbish.
Sorry, sorry, sorry about that. Oh, dear.
Oh dear, sorry. Sorry. Sorry.
Anyone else want to bowl?
I think what is most encouraging
is this is an unchanged game from 1450-ish and I
think it gives me hope that things like the quintain can survive,
cricket on horseback could be fun.
I genuinely found the stoolball ladies inspiring.
They have carried on playing an old sport
and they have had it recognised by Sport England
and I'm hoping I can do the same for the quintain so I'm going to
a sport branding company because modern sports are not just sports.
They have a brand, they have an image.
So, hopefully, this company can help me with the quintain.
And you are a creative director?
-Yes, creative director.
-So, I have got this new sport.
It is a very old sport but I am trying to rebrand the quintain.
-Graphics wise, can I show you what I have done?
I've just tried to explain the evolution of ultimate quintain.
Most sports start with running. I have put this man running, there.
This is fairly basic graphics. There is running.
You then have a sport like darts so he flings a dart at the dartboard.
And then the pole vault. I don't know if you know the pole vault.
-This man will run along.
It's not brilliant graphics.
It took me seven or eight weeks.
So he jumps over this. There we go.
And then we have got ultimate quintain
so it combines all three, the man
with the very long pole charging along and instead of jumping
he just hits this target.
Can you improve on that?
That was very tactful.
You were really thinking whether you could or not.
You probably want to start with some sort of logo and identity
for the sport, something that is recognisable
that people will see again and again and therefore recognise the sport.
You probably want to compare it to similar things,
to other sports that capture what you want to do.
So, if is that something like free running
where this probably grew and became quite famous is
when it was featured in
the first of the new James Bond films, a couple of years back.
So, crucially, I need to get quintain in the next James Bond film
or a film of that ilk?
Maybe not James Bond, but maybe something more
that fits into Harry Potter.
Harry Potter. Like Quidditch?
-Are people playing Quidditch?
No, because you have to fly. So this could be a land version?
If you can't afford a broom then you would play that.
I like this. I could use Harry Potter. This is a good idea.
Say, I'm going to talk to the Sports Council to persuade them that the
quintain should be a new sport, should be recognised as a sport.
Would it help if I made some sort of demonstration video?
Absolutely. Show off your new logo
and then show the demonstration video of how the sport is played.
And maybe a copy of the new James Bond.
If I have got it in James Bond.
If you got it in James Bond I would definitely show some pictures
-of that - maybe a signed version.
-Maybe just put the whole film on.
Another old game I found was so great it had bells on it.
It was called jingling.
And the stoolball ladies volunteered to play it with me.
These are blindfolds.
The idea is that you wear them.
I wear this and you have to chase me.
And whoever catches me wins.
I've got my jingling suit on.
In the 18th century, they used to play jingling matches
at country fairs, but also at country wakes...
OK, you can start chasing me on my first jingle.
Which I find quite strange.
Oh, a bell has gone.
I think we are still going.
She's really good at it. OK!
Well played. I think you probably win.
Thank you very much.
Was it fun?
-Oh, good, good.
Quite tiring, being the jingler.
It requires a bit of skill and physical exertion.
It is almost a sport, but it is just too ridiculous.
I wanted my game of cricket on horseback to be played properly.
'So I thought I would get some expert advice
'from cricket journalist, Lawrence Booth.'
I'm looking forward to this game of cricket on horseback
-that I am engineering.
-Yeah, sounds interesting.
I'm glad you say that, because I think it is interesting,
but it is problematic, so that is why I've dragged you here.
For my expertise on cricket on horseback?
-Well your expertise on cricket.
Is that fair enough? Are you an expert?
It pays the bills, put it that way.
-I've pulled enough wool over people's eyes so far.
The way I'm picturing it, and this will probably disappoint you,
is that the bowler will be on the horse
-and will lob it underarm at the stump.
So there's not an awful lot of pace, not an awful lot of spin,
but there is still accuracy. It's an accuracy thing.
Overarm didn't come in to cricket until the 19th century, so we'll be
reinvigorating an old tradition if you like.
I'm envisaging equipment here to pick up the ball up.
Is that a problem? Wicket keepers have equipment,
would it matter if fielders have equipment?
You could argue that something like a net on the end of a stick
is simply a logical extension of the wicket keeper's gloves.
I'm going to ask you about umpires and umpiring.
We need somebody in charge of the game who knows the game inside out.
We just need somebody who knows the rules.
I don't want to formally offer you the position,
-but would you be interested?
-I would certainly think about it.
Have you umpired before, Lawrence?
-I have, but never on horseback.
-I'm glad you haven't umpired on
horseback because we were hoping this hasn't been done for 200 years.
I thought I would take Lawrence's sound advice
straight to the coal face, or the horse farm any way,
where Jo had not only found some horses for cricket on horse back,
but also some people to ride them.
OK, so I'm now going to coach you about cricket.
-Have any of you actually bowled a ball before?
Have you? Great.
Here she comes.
Oh my word.
Oh, it's just cleared the fielder. Not quite a four.
Go! Go! Go! Go!
-Yeah. I've been beaten by three girls on horses.
Well it's all happening.
'It was also a chance to develop the picking up the ball from horseback
'technology that we needed.
'A dog ball thrower, once extended,
'is the horse rider's perfect ball picker-upper.'
OK, so this time we are going to try a proper cricket match.
Oh brilliant. Straight to the fielder.
They have run one, are they going to go for a second?
Good fielding. Look at that. Good!
Go! Go! Go!
Yeah, that's it. That's a wicket. That was cricket,
that was actual cricket, that was good.
Being British, I hide my emotions well,
but I was absolutely overjoyed by the progress made.
I feel ecstatic, because it could haven't gone any better.
The horses didn't mind having balls thrown at them and
people swinging bats at them. It was how I dreamt it.
There is no denying it, it was cricket. On horseback.
My new old sport quintain was ready for testing.
There was only one person qualified to play it with me -
my brother Chip.
On sports day, he'd win everything he entered. He knows his sport.
If I could beat him, I could beat anyone.
So what we're doing, Chip,
we are going to do the 50 metre quintain and then the 20 and
then the 10, which is a real short, sharp jab.
The scoring, you're going to be hitting this thing here,
-this is the target.
-You may have seen targets before.
If you strike that, you then divide
your score by the time taken to travel that distance.
That is quite a noise. That is called the singing of the quintain.
-It's traditional to start with the singing.
That's about right.
-I will just muddy the quintain end, remove the grass.
-It is a bit like snooker, isn't it?
-It is just like snooker, yes.
So that will make a mark on the target.
Professional sports need professional judges.
our judge even had his own whistle.
Are these cycling gloves?
-No, they're quintain gloves.
Aargh! Oh that's accurate.
Not that accurate.
I'm 1-0 down.
Very good score. A lot to do for me now.
'Jim's quintain pole got a bit bent, but that couldn't stop us.'
-Oh dear. That was really good.
-So that's victory to Chip in this event and the 50.
-Do you want to double or quits?
That was very good. Very good.
It's harder than it looks, this.
Bad luck, Chip. That's the worst go ever at quintain.
you the new world champion, the new quintain world champion.
'So it's yet another trophy for Chip. This time, a peacock.
'But at least we proved that this was a most excellent sport.'
What I really wanted
was other people to start playing the game again.
So my next step would be to get it recognised by the country's
sporting authority, Sport England.
I'd managed to get an appointment with their director, Lisa O'Keefe.
She's a former rugby international.
I was a bit scared.
I'm attempting to pioneer a new sport,
which is actually a very old sport,
but I'm trying to develop it and I'm keen that more people play it.
The name of the sport is the quintain, with a Q.
-I've got a logo, so you can see it written down.
It's quintain. There we go. Not many sports begin with Q.
-Shall I show you this promotional video?
Yeah, I'd really like to see it.
Sport has a hole in its soul.
What we need is another sport with a pole. Quintain.
Man, pole, target, target, pole, man, quintain!
-Looks very dynamic.
-That could be a slogan for quintain - very dynamic.
I think people like seeing men charge around
-with an enormous stick.
-Is there quite a thriving community
of people playing the sport at the moment?
No. This is where I think at the moment it's failing.
But at the moment the people who play it
-are mainly limited to members of my immediate family.
That's my brother and myself.
You've got quite a high ranking then?
-I'm second in the world.
My younger brother beat me.
Do you believe there is still room for new sports, despite the
globalisation of football and the formalisation of rules?
There's always room for new sports. Whether or not this sport could
compete with the big sports on the global stage, I doubt it,
but never say never.
What you're more likely to do here is appeal to a niche.
For the quintain to move from being an extinct sport
to being a current modern sport, what would I have to do next?
First of all we do want to make sure that there's competition in here
and we also want to make sure that
you have looked at the risks,
you have considered the sustainability of this,
that you have an activity here that people want to take part in.
It's not too risky. There is some risk,
just walking around with an enormous stick.
But I've done some pretty serious health and safety checks on it.
I fell over once and I was fine.
We wouldn't recognise an activity as a sport, I'm afraid,
if it's just you and your brother. You've really got to get more
-people behind this.
-Yeah, it makes sense.
I think I might miss the 2012 Olympics,
but 2020 potentially - that is my target.
-Absolutely. I can't disagree with that aspiration.
Marvellous. So we have a basis now, we have people at Sport England
who are going to encourage me.
I just need to encourage other people to play it
and also get into this lift with the pole.
OK. Right, we are going down.
We're also going up.
The weather is the one thing that affects cricket
more than anything else.
And this was the worst winter for 30 years.
And we wanted to play cricket. Not ideal.
So the day before we were due to play,
Jo and I had to inspect the pitch.
How's the pitch feeling, from your horse perspective?
Well with the ground as it is at the moment, I can't see it happening.
How many horses are you thinking this could withstand?
At the moment it would withstand a couple of horses walking across it.
-Oh right. That's not really a cricket match, is it?
That is more two horses having a walk. Less of a spectator sport.
Yes. When we're doing the runs and the tight turns,
-they are just going to slip.
-We don't want that.
Injuring horse and rider, which is not going to work.
But we do have a plan B.
Plan B - the farm's outdoor school, with its all-weather rubber surface.
My opposing team captain, Sam Knight, joined me to
inspect our new wicket.
It's very exciting this pitch. It's quite good.
I think almost more exciting, because the other one looked
good, but it was just a field, whereas this feels like an arena.
The crowd, you can imagine,
-we can sit about ten deep up there, up the hill.
-That can be Horne Hill.
-They can go up to the top of the hill.
The funny thing is we just have no idea what a good score is,
or how easy it is to get them out,
how easy it is to bowl, hit the stumps.
So people could get centuries on this.
I don't think anyone's going to get a century.
I think people are going to get a six.
I reckon there's going to be a six. What I want to see is a catch.
So it's all sorted, are you happy?
-Ready to go.
-OK. Good luck.
-May the best rider or cricketer...
As well as farms and fairs, there were indoor spaces in olden times
too, so it's only natural they had indoor sports.
It is the closest pub to my house.
'So the night before the big match, my brother Chip, Jim
'the carpenter, and I, thought we'd play a 16th century indoor game.'
There's the rules. The half bowl.
The half bowl was the same as skittles,
except the bowl thrown had been cut in half,
so it rolled with an exaggerated curl around a barrier.
But when I cut a bowl in half, it wouldn't roll properly.
So I had to improvise and, as homage to stoolball,
the answer was obvious. Vegetables.
'I am a man of simple pleasures.'
-I've never seen such a small turnip.
-I've never seen such a small turnip.
'Also if you play it enough, it counts as one of your five a day.
I love having the bones of an old game
and then can I do what I want with the flesh of it.
It's like I have dug up the bones of a game
and I can just redesign my Frankenstein.
So I think I'm ready for my first challenger. Good luck.
-Good luck. We won't have a manly hug, just a hand shake.
I will try the cabbage.
Oh, it's one! Oh, it's five!
Chip couldn't contain himself, even though he's my opposition.
Yes! My cabbage is incredible.
Very unlucky there.
I'm so rubbish at it.
I'm genuinely rubbish at half bowl.
Next go, I guarantee I'll get four or more. If I don't
I will bite this swede.
That is the one-knee technique. Oh!
Oh! Oh dear me!
Taking a bite out of that swede was the best thing I've ever done.
-From nothing I actually won at half bowl.
You know what though? I think I was the best at it.
Honestly, I think by the end I was really good at it.
So I think I deserved to win. Thank you very much.
-Thank you. Thank you.
I couldn't believe the day had finally come.
It wasn't even snowing, so it was time for captains to take the pitch,
with umpires Lawrence and Chip.
So we'll just find the middle.
One, two, three...
'With our special horse back wickets,
'the ball has to hit the top yellow half to count.
'With shredded tyres underfoot and flour for the crease,
'it's not Lords, it's not a village green,
'but it is my very own cricket on horseback pitch.
'And what a pitch needs is players.
'Jo had assembled two crack teams
'who could both ride and swing a bat.'
So we're on a horse. I have no idea how to make it move.
'But today we weren't just riders or cricketers. We were test pilots.'
OK, let's just be very calm and confident, listen to the horses,
listen to ourselves and play a good game of cricket on horseback.
-All we all set?
-Everyone ready, let's bring on the batsmen.
The teams were ready. And for the first time in 215 years, 9 months
and 15 days, a game of cricket on horse back was about to begin.
-Are there going to be any streakers do you think?
Hello my dear old things and welcome to Shardeloes Farm
for this really quite remarkable game of cricket.
One over, six balls to come. Let's play.
What a wonderful opportunity to see horse and man in perfect unison.
Good bowling, Rachel. Good start.
A gentle start.
Better call the wicket keeper back.
What a catch. Oh my word!
Caught and bowled by Rachel Brown and her Irish mare.
What a couple of players.
-One for none.
Not the best start for Sam Knight's team,
but let's see what they can do next.
Sam Knight, team captain, riding Zak, who I must say is
looking a little nervous, isn't he?
OK then, team. Keep the pressure on.
Kirsty on Alfie. A good hit, the ball right back below the bowler.
She's off like a shot. Oh and she's off for another one too.
Sam will have to be quick. He's at the wrong end. Oh my goodness.
If Brown can get that ball, he's in real trouble.
Oh and she's got him. Chance of a run out here.
Oh my word. That's out. Quite a disastrous run out.
The captain out before he faces even a ball.
So real character testing innings.
Interesting to see where they go from here.
Oh back of the bat. That's a great shot.
An unusual move there by Smoky B. Chance of another run out here.
Rachel surely not going to
miss this one and she's gone.
Good stuff. Lovely.
Everyone stopped shitting? Shall we bowl?
Oh good shot.
And here we have the true beauty of this game.
The horse unconcerned by rules and etiquette,
just running free all over the wicket.
Don't often get this in cricket,
the batsman just having a charge around between balls.
It is unusual.
Flintoff's just going for a quick charge up and down the wicket.
So we've had pretty much everything today. All the elements of a fine
game of cricket - bowling, batting,
a run out or two.
They're going for two! The first two of the match.
Now it looks like we have one of those elements of English cricket
that I'm afraid is not quite so welcome,
it is not just cricket is it really, or not quite cricket I should say.
I think we'll call a halt for the time being.
I think rain stopped play.
So that's us. Lunch.
Rain stopped play after six overs and 18 runs have come.
Fingers crossed that we'll get some sun so we continue this fascinating
contest after the luncheon interval.
It is quite stop-start,
but there are definitely some flashes of stroke play.
Some very good bowling.
It is quite satisfying, definitely when you get two runs in.
Overall the horses are up for it.
It's going to be a tight second innings.
Happily the rain has left us now,
but thanks to the influence of the English weather, the umpires have
decided that this is now a limited overs match and so it is
Horne's team to bat next.
Knight's time over, six to come. Play.
They need 19 to win and they have six overs in which to do it.
And it's captain Horne himself to face the first ball.
Oh, yes, let's go.
And that's a corker.
-Now that's incredible.
-Slogger Horne shows he means business.
Just the one.
Here we go. Ooh I say that's over the top. All the way.
Hit it like a kicking horse. Six runs. Splendid.
Slaughtered it for six runs, right over deep square leg.
If he carries on like this, they will win within the over.
Still waiting for the umpire to get the ball. It went over there.
Horne's team brimming with confidence.
-Oh yeah. Run. Good shot.
-Oh no. Oh he's missed it. A misfield.
-Go, go, go.
Here we go.
Oh there could be trouble here.
I'd say a very strong case for horse before wicket.
It's been given.
The captain's gone. Quite right. Good decision.
You got him out?
Nothing wrong with the horse, he's loving it, isn't he?
He is saying, "Silly old fool, you should have "hit that one!"
They do only need two runs to win.
So we need to be quite tight. I should do some better bowling.
Let's smack this over the fence.
Now, two to win, here we are.
I say it is a big hit. This could be a catch?
Oh it's dropped. Oh dear they are going to get another run.
But they're slow off the mark.
-A good piece of fielding. It could be a run out. Yes it is!
-Oh that was a close one.
The front hoof was in the air.
-It was not in the air.
-It is a good innings, Philip.
-Just ignore that.
-That was never out.
Four balls, you've just got to hit the ball. You can do this.
That's got to be close. Hit the wicket, but was it too low?
-What was your view?
-I think it was...
-Umpire Booth checking with umpire Chip.
He's given it. She's gone.
We've now got one batsman left.
Three balls to get one run.
Keep your eye on the ball, Rachel. You can do this.
Come on, Zak, come on.
She's missed it. Hits the wicket and it's too low. She's safe.
Two balls left. Unlucky, Rachel.
Two balls to go. You really could cut this atmosphere with a spoon.
Knight bowls the penultimate ball.
Beautifully taken there, Knight.
Can't contain his excitement.
He was run out himself without facing a ball,
but he's taken the deciding catch
that leaves this remarkable game ending in a tie.
The game's a tie.
Now what a turn up for the books, a tie. What an
extraordinary match. I'd say there's not been such a splendid spectacle
for well, at least 215 years.
A thrilling day's play and probably the right result
and thank you all so very much for watching it all happen.
So there we go, that's the end of the day.
Probably the best sporting day of my life.
We've played cricket on horseback, which a few months ago was
just a foot note in a history book and now is an actual sporting event.
It's a much bigger footnote
in the sporting history of the country.
I'm incredibly excited.
I don't think I will sleep tonight or ever again.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
E-mail [email protected]
Alex Horne tries to discover why some games survived, and examines the best of those that did not. Whilst revisiting his own childhood haunts, he attempts to relaunch the ancient sport of the Quintain, horseless jousting, and tries his damnedest to understand the rules of the Jingling Match. Not forgetting his attempt to restage the forgotten spectacle of Cricket on Horseback.
This might just be a journey to the very heart of sport itself, but if not, it will be a lot of fun playing games that have not been seen for hundreds of years and even more fun discovering why.