Players Make a Splash in Annual River Match
For the rest of the year, the peaceful trickle of the River Windrush is the backdrop for tourists visiting the old world charm of the Cotswolds in the heart of the English countryside.
But for one holiday Monday each August, a short stretch of the river plays host to the annual Bourton-in-the-Water football match.
With a history dating back more than 100 years, players from both sides battle it out in the water to see who can score the most goals in the 30-minute match.
Braving the chilly knee-high waters this year were two six-a-side teams from Bourton Rovers Football Club. The goals are erected between the two central bridges in the Gloucestershire village.
Hundreds of spectators lined the banks for the unique game - I don’t think even the players knew who won - and many ended up soaked in the sunshine as splashing the crowds is as much part of the action as trying to kick the ball.
It's a world away from the Premier League, La Liga or even the MLS, but it just goes to show that the beautiful game can be played anywhere on any surface. All you need is a ball.
River football match organiser Matt Winter, of Bourton Rovers FC, said: "The game has been played for over 100 years now. Rumor has it that it was started by some men who were bored, so to break the boredom they decided to jump in the river and have a kick about and it's carried on ever since.
"The teams that play are Bourton Rovers 1st team v Bourton Rovers reserves, so there's a bit at stake in the bragging stakes. It's hard work - you ache for days and days after.
"We get average crowds of roughly 2,000 people, sometimes more, when it's hot weather. It coincides with the Bourton Rovers fete which is on the village green next to the river. The fete has stalls and games for kids and we also do duck racing in the river from 10am until the river football starts."
For more information on Bourton Rovers FC, visit the club's website at www.pitchero.com/clubs/bourtonrovers.