A history of cornwall online - through its objects

Sport

Oggy, Oggy, Oggy!

  • Surfboards

    Surfboards

    Cornwall has some of the best surfing beaches in the country. Bellyboard surfing became popular at Perranporth in the early 1920s and early 'coffin boards' were made by Tom Tremewan, local builder and coffin maker.

    Visit Perranzabuloe Museum in Perranporth

  • Football Medal

    Football Medal

    By 1874 emigrating miners had established thriving Cornish communities in Mexico, mining for silver and gold. These miners introduced football to Mexico and this medal is from the first international football game in 1902. It was won by J.M. Rule, a miner from Camborne.

  • Rugby Shirt

    Rugby Shirt

    Rugby is the now the main sport of Cornwall. This Royal Cornwall Rugby Union shirt dates from 1991 when Cornwall won the County Championship and the Cornish 'army' turned Twickenham black and gold.

    Visit Redruth Old Cornwall Society Museum

  • Cornish Kayles

    Cornish Kayles

    Cornish gentry, like the Arundells of Trerice, enjoyed bowling on immaculate lawns. The working classes played nine-pin kayles, also known as keels or skittles, often in pubs. These kayles possibly came from a pub in Newquay and are over a 100 years old.

    Visit Trerice

  • Ellen MacArthur's food

    Ellen MacArthur's food

    Falmouth has a place in history for being the first or last port for ships and adventuring sailors. In 2005 over 8000 people welcomed home Ellen MacArthur after a record breaking 71-day around-the world solo voyage. Dame Ellen had dried food to last well beyond the 71 days; this one is for day 74.

    Visit National Maritime Museum Cornwall

  • Hurling Ball

    Hurling Ball

    Hurling was Cornwall's national sport before rugby and is still played today. Hurling balls are the size of cricket balls and are made of applewood with a silver outer skin. This 1704 ball is inscribed in Cornish which translates as 'Paul Parish - fair play is good play'.

    Visit Penlee House Gallery and Museum

Chant “Oggy, Oggy, Oggy!” at any event in which a Cornish competitor or team is involved and you will be greeted back with “Oi, Oi, Oi!”

Cornish sport embraces the traditional and the modern. There are some sports which are uniquely Cornish such as a form of wrestling or Wrasslin’ which is characterised by the wearing of strong jackets or waistcoats that can be gripped by your opponent.

Another sport specific to Cornwall is hurling, a throwing and carrying game with similarities to rugby but played with a small silver ball. Although not played widely anymore some parishes still have competitive matches, or it is played during festivals. The Cornish version of skittles, called kayles, used to be a pub favourite amongst the working classes.

The most popular sport in Cornwall is rugby. In fact the Rugby Union black and gold striped shirt of Trelawny’s Army is emblematic of modern Cornish identity. While no Cornish football team has made it to the Premier League it was mining emigrants from here who took the sport to football-mad countries such as Mexico.

The sea is the stage for Cornwall’s second most popular sport. Cornwall is one of the spiritual homes of modern surfing and Fistral beach in Newquay is synonymous with the sport.

Sailing has put Cornwall firmly on the international sporting map, particularly as a place of departure and arrival for around-the-world and long-distance races. Cornish ports such as Falmouth are often the first to welcome back intrepid sailors such as record-breaker Ellen MacArthur in 2005.