Gallery: Champion 'dwile flonkers' in reunion

IT has been known as an ancient harvest ritual, a competitive sport, or just an organised binge drinking session.

Anthony Bond

IT has been known as an ancient harvest ritual, a competitive sport, or just an organised binge drinking session.

Key items needed include a dwileand a driveller - along with copious amounts of the very best Suffolk ales.

On Saturday the reigning world champions of Dwile Flonking - the Blyth Valley Dwile Flonkers - got together for a reunion.

The team, who won the last World Championships in Beccles in 1970, were in Halesworth with local author Charlie Haylock.

He was signing copies of his new book Caw'd A Hell! Thas Suffen Goodwhich dedicates a chapter to the ancient sport.

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The team - together with two burly security guards - brought along the World Cup, a pewter chamber pot, which they won in 1968, '69, and '70.

“Nobody could beat us,” said Alan 'Caleb' Hall. “We could out-drink, out-fight and out-swadger every other team.”

“Dunker” Mauldenadded: “We could flonkstraighter and faster than anybody else and we could dunk from a great height.”

Each team consisted of eight or more players who form a circle around one of the opposing team.

The man in the circle takes a type of dishcloth - known as a “dwile” - from a bucket of ale and places it on the end of his “driveller” - a pole used to project the dwile.

He then shouts “dwiles away!” and spins around. With a flick of his driveller he attempts to hit opposing team members in the circle with the dwile. He scores points depending on which part of the body he hits.

The sport first started in the 8th century as a ritual after harvest. Through the ages it evolved but the principal objective never changed - getting “hammered” on the very best Suffolk ales.

And now Mr Haylock would like to see the game revived with a new league.

“It was good fun, yes there was a lot of beer drunk but it was still good humoured and there was never any fights. It was just people enjoying themselves.

“It evolved so that it could became a bit of a drinking game. You could not have Dwile Flonking without the beer.”

However, if a new championship was set up, there would have to be a new World Cup made.

“If it started again, we are not parting with this cup at all,” said Mr Hall. “It would never be the same again. But if anybody does have a go at it and travel to the places that we did and get as much enjoyment out of it as we did then they will have a great time.”

And would the Blyth Valley Dwile Flonkers resurrect their glory days?

“We will never play again,” said Mr Hall. “We went out on high. If we do it again, we go out on a stretcher.”

NB: Caw'd A Hell! Thas Suffen Good is published by Countryside Books and is priced at £7.99.

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