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Whether we like to admit it or not, RL is a pretty localised sport having only two real areas of strength - Northern England and Australia. Whenever I think of somebody living in a country like Bulgaria or Spain for instance, I imagine that almost none of them will be aware that RL exists as a professional sport. Even whilst many might know of 'rugby' it will undoubtedly be Rugby Union.

When I think of other regional sports that are professional (or are so without paying players) like AFL, GAA and NFL, I think that their existence is relatively well known of outside of their respective countries. The same goes for other geographically limited sports like Darts and Snooker. Maybe it is the fact that we are so closely related to RU that means we are otherwise less well-known than we would otherwise be.

Anyway, it got me thinking. So many of these localised sports are sports that came from English-speaking countries. Either England is bizarre in having so many different professional sports or there are others that I just haven't heard of. Are there any significant regional sports that are not well-known here?

I remember hearing about Arena football (a short form of American Football) that is probably not known too well here and also Kabbadi from India. There is also a version of Handball from Ireland that I've never seen anyone actually play and I doubt is professional. Does anybody know of any others? 

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I managed to bunk off PE for a whole half term. The sport I missed was basketball. My end of term report gave me a B and said I'd learnt new skills. Which was sort of true.

Calcio Fiorentino - Wikipedia

No, much too small scale for that, and has always kept it amateur for the players.  The top clubs tend to come from villages, such as Newtonmore and Kingussie in the Spey Valley, and Kyles Athletic, t

53 minutes ago, Maximus Decimus said:

Whether we like to admit it or not, RL is a pretty localised sport having only two real areas of strength - Northern England and Australia. Whenever I think of somebody living in a country like Bulgaria or Spain for instance, I imagine that almost none of them will be aware that RL exists as a professional sport. Even whilst many might know of 'rugby' it will undoubtedly be Rugby Union.

When I think of other regional sports that are professional (or are so without paying players) like AFL, GAA and NFL, I think that their existence is relatively well known of outside of their respective countries. The same goes for other geographically limited sports like Darts and Snooker. Maybe it is the fact that we are so closely related to RU that means we are otherwise less well-known than we would otherwise be.

Anyway, it got me thinking. So many of these localised sports are sports that came from English-speaking countries. Either England is bizarre in having so many different professional sports or there are others that I just haven't heard of. Are there any significant regional sports that are not well-known here?

I remember hearing about Arena football (a short form of American Football) that is probably not known too well here and also Kabbadi from India. There is also a version of Handball from Ireland that I've never seen anyone actually play and I doubt is professional. Does anybody know of any others? 

I think bandy could count as a localised professional sport. Essentially (parts of) Sweden and Russia and for everyone else you have to explain that no it's not ice hockey.

Are there (semi) professionals in shinty? That would come from a Gaelic rather than English speaking heritage.

EDIT

Just had to look up how to spell pelota and confirm that, yes, people make money out of that too. So pelota.

Edited by gingerjon

Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life. (Terry Pratchett)

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Pesapello, ie Finnish baseball. Don't know what kind of presence it has outside of Finland, I just know about it cos we have friends there. 

Also, Buzkashi (no, not bukkake before you think it), a game played in Central Asia, I think mainly the former Soviet 'stans, which is essentially polo except the horse-mounted players attempt to get a goat carcass into the goal not a ball. To be fair, don't know how professional the players are in this one, never know though, there might be a pro goat polo league. 

Edited by The Hallucinating Goose
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1 hour ago, gingerjon said:

I think bandy could count as a localised professional sport. Essentially (parts of) Sweden and Russia and for everyone else you have to explain that no it's not ice hockey.

Are there (semi) professionals in shinty? That would come from a Gaelic rather than English speaking heritage.

EDIT

Just had to look up how to spell pelota and confirm that, yes, people make money out of that too. So pelota.

No, much too small scale for that, and has always kept it amateur for the players.  The top clubs tend to come from villages, such as Newtonmore and Kingussie in the Spey Valley, and Kyles Athletic, the club from Tighnabruaich down on the Kyles of Bute.

Inverness itself has just the one club, although a number of nearby villages or small towns have a club each.

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45 minutes ago, The Hallucinating Goose said:

Also, Buzkashi (no, not bukkake before you think it), a game played in Central Asia, I think mainly the former Soviet 'stans, which is essentially polo except the horse-mounted players attempt to get a goat carcass into the goal not a ball. To be fair, don't know how professional the players are in this one, never know though, there might be a pro goat polo league. 

Buzkashi's gone soft in the modern era. They play in teams these days, and have outlawed the use of knives and chains. Nowadays, you can't use anything more dangerous than a lead-tipped whip to "persuade" another player to relinquish possession.

Back in the days of Soviet occupation, if they didn't have a goat, it was occasionally played with a decapitated enemy soldier's carcass.

Edited by Futtocks

"Men will be proud to say 'I am a European'. We hope to see a day when men of every country will think as much of being a European as of being from their native land." (Winston Churchill)

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1 minute ago, Futtocks said:

Buzkashi's gone soft these days. They play in teams these days, and have outlawed the use of knives and chains. Nowadays, you can't use anything more dangerous than a lead-tipped whip to "persuade" another player to relinquish possession.

Back in the days of Soviet occupation, if they didn't have a goat, it was occasionally played with a decapitated enemy soldier's carcass.

Knives, chains and decapitated bodies... just sounds like a regular night in East Hull... 🤔

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1 hour ago, gingerjon said:

I think bandy could count as a localised professional sport. Essentially (parts of) Sweden and Russia and for everyone else you have to explain that no it's not ice hockey.

Are there (semi) professionals in shinty? That would come from a Gaelic rather than English speaking heritage.

EDIT

Just had to look up how to spell pelota and confirm that, yes, people make money out of that too. So pelota.

With reference back to the original thread, gingerjon, the irony is that bandy is a sport from the English speaking world.  It originally comes from the Fens.  Incidentally, it is this fact that is behind the attempts of some grumpy Canadians (none on here, I am sure!) to deny that the oldest ice hockey match in the world that is still played on a regular basis is the Oxford v Cambridge varsity match; it is suggested the earliest games were more bandy than hockey.

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Just now, Wiltshire Warrior Dragon said:

With reference back to the original thread, gingerjon, the irony is that bandy is a sport from the English speaking world.  It originally comes from the Fens. 

I did know that but was hoping no one else would!

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Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life. (Terry Pratchett)

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1 hour ago, gingerjon said:

I think bandy could count as a localised professional sport. Essentially (parts of) Sweden and Russia and for everyone else you have to explain that no it's not ice hockey.

Are there (semi) professionals in shinty? That would come from a Gaelic rather than English speaking heritage.

EDIT

Just had to look up how to spell pelota and confirm that, yes, people make money out of that too. So pelota.

Am I right in thinking that pelota is a collective word for a number of related sports?  I seem to recall the differences are quite significant, eg some using the hand to strike the ball and some not.

The idea of a group of sports with a collective name also makes me think of boules.  Does anybody play that for cash?  Maybe some of our French contributors will know.

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1 minute ago, Wiltshire Warrior Dragon said:

Am I right in thinking that pelota is a collective word for a number of related sports?  I seem to recall the differences are quite significant, eg some using the hand to strike the ball and some not.

The idea of a group of sports with a collective name also makes me think of boules.  Does anybody play that for cash?  Maybe some of our French contributors will know.

I think you're right about pelota. Some with a sort of basket and some with the hand?

I don't know about professionals in boules but I do know that when we went on holiday to a majority French speaking holiday camp, it was good fun to time our afternoon drink at the bar with the more serious boules competitions as the level of intensity was off the chart.

(We did similar on a cruise when the bingo was on, TBH.)

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Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life. (Terry Pratchett)

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27 minutes ago, gingerjon said:

I did know that but was hoping no one else would!

Did you know there was also a sport called bando, which seems to have flourished on dry land, not ice, in South Wales in the 19th century?  The Margam Bando Boys were celebrated in a 19th century poem.  In Victorian times, the maxim for team sports seems to have been 'get codified or die'.  Bando, it would seem, did the latter.

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Just now, Wiltshire Warrior Dragon said:

Did you know there was also a sport called bando, which seems to have flourished on dry land, not ice, in South Wales in the 19th century?  The Margam Bando Boys were celebrated in a 19th century poem.  In Victorian times, the maxim for team sports seems to have been 'get codified or die'.  Bando, it would seem, did the latter.

Blimey.

Thanks for that. I wonder if demographic shifts also did for them.

A non professional regional sport that has died in the past few years from being pretty popular in an area would be British baseball. Teams in Cardiff/Newport and Liverpool. Now essentially moribund.

Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life. (Terry Pratchett)

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Canadian football is the most obvious example which springs to mind as a sport with certain characteristics of relative obscurity, geographical isolation and overshadowing by a similar but inferior sport.

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5s and 3s, I can only recall 2 pubs I drank in as a youth, that the locals played this game, that's pretty regional.

 

..... it must count as being professional as there was money changing hands ........ sometimes enough to buy two pints

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Once you head in the direction of pub games - as VRG has taken us - you still have some wonderful local variations, no doubt as in the 5's & 3's scenario.  In some instances, we are back with the pelota situation, namely local variations on a common theme; that would be true of darts (with differently marked dartboards) and skittles.  In the (so called but not really) Isle of Portland, just south of Weymouth, they used to play shove ha'penny using pre-decimal, Guernsey ha'pennies.  I don't know whether they still do.  

Meanwhile, devotees of the Oxfordshire outdoor pub speciality, Aunt Sally, wait with baited breath to see if this season's league competition goes ahead, but the Oxford & District Aunt Sally Association are sounding guardedly optimistic!

Oxford Aunt Sally

Pub games of England  (Timothy Finn) and Played in the pub  (Arthur Taylor) are good reference works.

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4 minutes ago, Mumby Magic said:

Royal Tennis (is that it's name)   

Real Tennis

Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life. (Terry Pratchett)

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Quoits is popular in the Esk Valley (North Yorkshire) and, AFAIK, few other places.

http://danbyquoitleague.btck.co.uk/Aboutus

Hound trailing is a Cumbria oddity (although I think it takes place also in parts of Ireland and southwest Scotland).

https://www.houndtrailing.org.uk

I gather Hertfordshire is a pétanque hotbed.

Edited by Hopping Mad
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1 hour ago, Mumby Magic said:

Royal Tennis (is that it's name) tossing the caber, surely bull fighting is one, I also have an image of Italian men in harlequin type suits???? Any idea?

  

Your secret fantasies are safe with us all on here, MM!

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1 hour ago, Mumby Magic said:

Royal Tennis (is that it's name) tossing the caber, surely bull fighting is one, I also have an image of Italian men in harlequin type suits???? Any idea?

  

As others have said, usually called 'real tennis' nowadays, or in the right circles, just 'tennis' - as in Manchester Tennis & Racquets Club, which is arguably misnamed being located in Salford; I was once a lunchtime guest visitor there.

I suppose, geographically, you might say that it is not so much regional, as dotted about here and there; in the UK context, that means real tennis courts as far north as Falkland Palace in the Scottish industrial belt, with a smattering south and south-west of London.

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21 hours ago, voteronniegibbs said:

5s and 3s, I can only recall 2 pubs I drank in as a youth, that the locals played this game, that's pretty regional.

 

..... it must count as being professional as there was money changing hands ........ sometimes enough to buy two pints

When I worked in Royal Mail 5's and 3's was part of the " sports  championship " there were about 8 or 9 regions of the UK who sent teams of 6. I had 3 freebies in the mid 90's having week ends away in Bawtry, Chester and best of all Hull were one of the teams had two elderly Wakefield Trinty (Wildcats ) fans who were surprised I had heard of them and were anti super league. Best about it was being from N.I. we flew over on Thursday night played friday and saturday and returned home after a fine sunday dinner. Us and the teams from London and Scotland were the same six blokes every year whereas I remember one year the team that won it stated that their qualifying for next years comp started a month later.

Cribbage was another three day freebie.

I know one bloke who represented the post office in the London marathon and they flew him home that night.

Would Crown Green bowling qualify as a regional sports?

Edited by Irish Saint
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