I have finally joined the elite ranks of those who have represented their country at two different sports, luminaries such as Johnny Arnold and Andy Ducat, two of only twelve men to have represented England at both cricket and football. Those of you who have been reading my ramblings on here will probably have noticed me riding bikes for long periods of time but earlier this year I made my debut at The Egg Throwing World Championships.
I don’t recall seeing the same level of media coverage for his event as there was for the Olympics a couple of years ago so for those of you who missed it here is a brief explanation of the rules:
A team consists of two people, a ‘Thrower’ who throws the eggs and a ‘Catcher’ who catches the eggs
Selection is by the rigorous process of turning up and saying you want a go.
Starting at 10 meters the teams get three attempts at each distance.
The Catcher is not allowed to move from behind his line until the egg has left the Thrower’s hand. A broken catch does not count, all eggs must be caught intact. Surviving teams then progress to longer and longer distances until only one team remains, the World Champions.
Ginge, the defending World Champion Catcher being interviewed
for the telly prior to the event
We were eliminated in the second round, entirely my Thrower’s fault of course and so we had to sit out and watch the rest of the contest.
A one-handed catch from the defending champions
It actually turned out to be a lot of fun watching, it was an excitingly close contest. The last three pairs made it to 40 meters, where the rules change slightly and the Catcher is no longer allowed to move forward of his line at all, even once the egg is in motion. One team was eliminated at the distance and so two teams progressed to 45 meters.
Both succeeded and so they moved to 50 meters.
Both failed, and so 50 meters was re-run.
It was decided that neither could catch successfully at 50 meters and so they returned to 45 meters.
The tension in the crowd was palpable.
Back to 50 meters. Both failed.
A conference of the judges followed.
I can barely see the Thrower, never mind the egg
Sudden-death was introduced, the three attempts rule was rescinded.
The first team missed again. The second team also missed.
The first team caught theirs. The crowd went wild, the pressure was on the second team, they had to catch to stay in.
The first team missed.
The second team missed.
The first team missed.
The second team caught!!! World Champions! We have a winner!!! Titch & Ginge, a hard fought victory for Team GB over some very strong Dutch opposition.
This had surprised me, I was expecting something like Egg Throwing to be one of those events which billed itself as The World Championships but which was mainly full of slightly eccentric locals, like Cheese Rolling (which I have done) or the International Lawn Mower Racing Championship (which I haven’t)
However, it turns out that Egg Throwing is a really big sport in Holland and there was a significant Dutch contingent at the event. There were also Germans, French, Czechs, Americans and probably quite a few others.
While Titch & Ginge went off to celebrate their victory attention in the main arena moved to the Trebuchets. The rules for this were simple, it had to fit within a 2m2 area and be solely gravity-powered. Eggs would be launched over distances of 20, 30 and 40 meters, three at each distance, with 3 points awarded for a catch and 1 point for a broken catch.
The trebuchets being inspected by the Official Tosser
This was another excitingly close contest, precision welded steel against cobbled together timber, form over function against elaborately decorated machines, traditional designs against left-field ideas.
Standing six feet behind the contraptions I managed to catch one of the eggs as it sailed off into the crowd and away from the waiting Catcher. This was unusual though, most of the catapults were surprisingly effective, apart from the one which had clearly been hastily assembled that morning from some spare 2x4 and string. This was abandoned shortly into the competition by it’s makers, but was then taken over by enthusiastic group of spectators who completely failed to make it work any better.
At the other end of the scale it was proving to be a tight race between the metal catapult with the slider, the rotating-arm design which threw the eggs horizontally rather than in an upwards arc and the traditional style design of the German team over the far right of the field. (note the lack of jokes about the Germans and the far right, I have resisted)
Eventually the German precision-engineering won through against their British and Dutch opposition and they were crowned as the new World Champions.
Attention then moved to the finals of Egg Roullette, the preliminary rounds having been conducted earlier in the day before the Egg Throwing got under way. The principles of Egg Roulette are simple. It’s a knock-out competition, played one on one. Four eggs are placed in front of the participants, three hard boiled and one raw. Each player picks an egg in turn and smashes it as hard as he can against his own forehead. The player who draws the raw egg is eliminated, the surviving player progresses to the next round.
I had sailed easily through the first three rounds earlier that morning and so found myself in the main arena for the quarter finals. Whatever happened here I was guaranteed to finish in the top 16, not bad for my first attempt competing at World Championship level. I was drawn against Ashley Dean, I had a bit of a bone to pick with him, he had knocked my Thrower out in the first round.
The quarter finals getting under way.
We sat down facing each other. The four eggs were placed in front of us. The coin was tossed and the call made. He would won and would get to go first. The more mathematically astute among you will have noticed that going first gives a player an advantage. He chose his egg and brought it up hard against his forehead. Hard boiled. I chose my egg and did the same. It was also hard boiled.
He chose his second egg, which of course left me only one. I picked mine up, we would go together. We looked at each other and brought our eggs up. I felt mine crumple and the white run down my forehead. I was out.
The raw egg, I'm out
We stayed to watch the remainder of the competition. My nemesis went out in the semis and we were onto the grand final. Egg Roulette is a sport at which mn and women compete n equal terms and it was a mixed final. Six eggs were produced for this most important match, but the raw one was drawn third, giving Norman Fowler (GB) a resounding victory.
We have a winner! Norm takes the title
The event concluded with the Egg Cups being presented to the winners by the Official Tosser, upon which the crowd began pelting them with the remaining eggs.
Team Germany holding their Egg Cup aloft
Titch and Ginge collecting their medals as the Official Tosser
catches an incoming shot.