Cheers to the county’s first Aunt Sally world champion

Henry Johnson from Yarnton on his way to becoming the new Aunt Sally World Champion held at Charlbury Beer Festival at the weekend.

Henry Johnson from Yarnton on his way to becoming the new Aunt Sally World Champion held at Charlbury Beer Festival at the weekend.

First published in News Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Education Reporter, also covering West Oxford. Call me on (01865) 425437

THE county has its first ever World Champion at the game of Aunt Sally after a tense afternoon on Saturday.

The game was founded – and is played almost exclusively – in Oxfordshire, but for the past three years the World Champion has been from Gloucestershire.

But this year Henry Johnson from Yarnton was crowned the winner at the Charlbury Beer Festival in a hard-fought battle against Abingdon’s Barry Parker.

Mr Johnson, who plays in the pub team at The Black Prince in Woodstock, saw off Mr Parker with a perfect six dolls in the final.

A doll is when a player successfully manages to knock the wooden dolly clean off the plinth without hitting the metal spike it rest on.

A hushed crowed gathered to watch the final battle, which had been delayed after a heavy downpour stopped play before the quarter-finals.

Winner Mr Johnson, who has been playing the game for 25 years, said: “I feel absolutely great because I have had a hard run against some top players.

“I will of course try and retain the title next year.

“I am going to celebrate with a few drinks down at the Black Prince.”

Despite the hit and miss weather, more than 2,000 people were expected to have joined in the day’s festivities at Charlbury Cricket Ground. Organisers think numbers were down slightly on last year because of the rain and think it is likely to raise about £15,000.

Related links

Money raised at the event is handed out to local community projects.

Oxford Mail:

  • Morris dancer Geoff Griffiths doesn’t let the rain stop him

Festival chairman Nick Millea said: “The beer trundled along quite nicely, there were lots of happy, smiling faces, kids being entertained and we have a new world champion.”

Eight-year-old George Foster played Aunt Sally for the first time at the event.

George, of Hempton, said: “It was really fun. I watched some of the World Championship, I think I could take them on.”

Geoff Griffiths, 56, of the Charlbury and Finstock Morris Dancers, enjoyed a dance in the rain. He said: “It has been a great atmosphere.

“This is the highlight of our year. I’ve made sure to come back here from a business trip in Malta.”

  • AUNT Sally is a traditional Oxfordshire game, usually played by two teams of eight.

Players compete by trying to knock the ‘dolly’ – a ball or skittle – off a spike by throwing ‘sticks’ from 10 yards. The aim is to knock the dolly off the spike without hitting the spike.

The modern rules see the game played over three legs. Each player throws six sticks per leg. The team with the highest number of dolls scored wins each leg.

The game is thought to date back to the 17th century.

  • Our top stories:

What's in our interactive front page of the Oxford Mail today?

Oxford Mail:

12:56pm Saturday 22nd November 2014

Here's our interactive front page, with links to all the stories, a Prince Charles picture gallery and the latest updated headlines.

Oxfordshire callers to police's 101 number urged to stay on line amid problems

Oxford Mail: Thames Valley Police logo

11:19am Saturday 22nd November 2014

Callers to the police's non-emergency 101 number are being urged to stay on the line despite problems.

Brainpower is the key for Oxford United says head coach Michael Appleton

Oxford Mail:

9:30am Saturday 22nd November 2014

Michael Appleton says Oxford United will need to be intelligent if they are to keep heavyweight striker Adebayo Akinfenwa quiet for AFC Wimbledon today.

6 things you may not have known were happening in Oxfordshire this weekend

Oxford Mail: Terry Wogan at the fund raising reception

11:34am Friday 21st November 2014

Six things you may not have known were happening in Oxfordshire this weekend.

Hanborough primary school among region's best

Oxford Mail: Magdalen College School Antiques Roadshow

8:30am Saturday 22nd November 2014

A state primary school in Long Hanborough has been included in a list of the top schools in the South East.

Teacher denies abuse

Oxford Mail: Oxford Crown Court

8:30am Saturday 22nd November 2014

A 70-year-old former teacher has denied historical sexual abuse offences.

Comments (1)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

11:14am Mon 30 Jun 14

HomerSimpsonDoh says...

World Championship with the best players not taking part. What a farce.
World Championship with the best players not taking part. What a farce. HomerSimpsonDoh
  • Score: 0

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree