Uppies and doonies battle it out in Jethart Ba’

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Uppies and doonies are going head to head in Jedburgh with the winner of this year’s Jethart Ba’ still to be declared.

Dozens of boys and men took to the streets today for the annual handball game, which has been played in the town for some 250 years.

It sees uppies and doonies, so named after the part of the town from which they hail, compete over a small, leather ball.

Local historian and hand ba’ expert Billy Gillies said: “The hand ba’ is a big tradition in Jedburgh, it’s famous world wide.”

Never far from the thick of the action this afternoon, the 75-year-old, who has played in Jethart Ba’ for over 60 years, added “I come and offer a bit of advice, but there’s no rules so it’s up to them whether they take it!”

Battle commences as the teams aim to smuggle, sprint, throw and carry the leather ba’s to each other’s end of the town, with the uppies goal outside the castle jail and the doonies at the Pleasaunce, both a couple of hundred yards away from the starting point in the Market Place.

Over a dozen different balls are used throughout the day, with the action often spilling off the High Street and into alleyways.

The men’s game, which started at 2pm, is still ongoing with the action set to continue until all the ba’s are played.

Speaking to us during a break in play earlier, uppie Greg Nagle predicted this year’s game could go on into the night.

“I was born in Jed and I play every year,” the 31-year-old said.

“It’s a good turnout today, this will be going on late.”