Tiddington are the champs in a brutal 61st tug-of-war

editorial image

When all was said and done Tiddington villagers stood triumphantly while their opposite numbers lay soaked in the River Thame.

The annual tug-of-war, now in its 61st year, pitted the Oxfordshire village against their great rivals and neighbours Icford, representing Bucks.

And it was Tiddington who came out on top to notch up their third consecutive success.

Tiddington team member Dan Brownsill, 31, has already competed 18 times in the competition (14 of those as a senior).

The front puller said: “It was a very brutal pull from the start of it. You do hurt for a few days after. We have been training for three months.”

Eight people on each team take part in the battle, with the winning side jumping into the river to join the losers afterwards.

The traditions of the event, started to celebrate the Queen’s accession to the throne, run deep with generations of families taking part.

Mr Brownsill added: “My dad pulled at the front for years and now I do too. The guy on the other side is the son of another former competitor. It’s a bit weird.”

Former Ickford competitor Tom Illsley, 50, was one of the 200-strong crowd on the night and said their village had been beaten on fitness but not technique.

“We had unfortunately not trained enough. It was disappointing to lose. They are closing the gap a little bit,” he said.

“The competition always gets a little bit fiery for a few weeks. It’s really well supported and I think everybody was drinking well into the night from both sides.”

Ickford did gain some revenge as both their ladies and junior teams defeated Tiddington.