Top 'international' players have already signed up to take part in the world championships of a sport almost exclusively played in Oxfordshire.

The 10th World Aunt Sally Singles Championship will take place at its traditional home of Charlbury Beer Festival on June 25.

The game, usually played in pub gardens and at fetes, involves players throwing sticks or battens at a wooden 'dolly' balanced on a bracket.

Phil Adams from Sutton Courtenay, near Abingdon, will be defending the title he won in gripping style at the last pre-Covid event.

Meanwhile Oxfordshire's Roger Goodall and Gloucestershire's Steve McAteer are both looking to win the world crown for a third time.

The championship, sponsored by Witney accountants Bronsens, sees a first prize of £100 in cash, plus a replica of the trophy to take away. The second prize is £50.

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The winner will have their name engraved on the main trophy, the Finings Cup, which will be retained by festival organisers to present annually at the competition.

Last year, players reported that the impact of the pandemic and not enough interest from young people had left the sport's future at risk.

The Oxford and District Aunt Sally Association, which has existed for more than 80 years, said its future was in peril.

Organisers were looking at reducing team numbers, and more crucially, finding ways of increasing the number of young people playing.

Andy Beal, results and fixtures secretary for the Oxford and district association, said Covid-19 had had a stark effect particularly as some pubs had closed down.

He said: "We need more youngsters involved but young people don't go to the pub now.

"We run competitions for certain age groups so they're not playing against seasoned players.

"We encourage families to come to the pubs and hold fun days just to get people interested."

The idea of reducing team numbers and extending the number of legs played was also mooted.

Mr Beal said: "We've looked at adapting Aunt Sally by reducing team numbers, we could reduce to six and then have more teams.

"It could be easier for younger people to field smaller teams.

"We could extend the number of legs we play to increase how long we play."

But he added: "These things then don't go down so well with the seasoned players – it's like tearing up the history books and that's what people resist to."

The 10th World Aunt Sally Singles Championship takes place on Saturday June 25 during the annual Charlbury Beer Festival at Charlbury Cricket Club from 12 noon.

To register visit the Charlbury Beer Festival website at