Ever felt like that final whistle was never going to come? Well you ain’t seen nothing yet!
A bunch of footballers in Gloucesterhire gave new meaning to the term ‘extra time’ last weekend when they set a new Guiness World Record for the longest football match ever played.
Players from the Cotswold Churches League came together for a match that lasted an extraordinary 35 hours to raise £30,000 to build a new school for impoverished children in India.
Cotswold All Stars and Cambray FC kicked off at 6.30pm on Friday and the final whistle blew at 6.30am on Sunday when torrential rain brought play to a halt with the All Stars winning 333 – 293.
Despite the length of the encounter, the game lacked nothing in intensity. “We started off quite fast because we were all so excited, but I was actually surprised by the pace of some of the lads hours into the game,” said Cambray FC’s Andy Champion, 37.
“It was a great effort, but the main thing is raising money for the school in India. Every player has raised about £1,000 each,” he told the Gloucestershire Echo.
The epic game beat the previous record of 33 hours and would have gone on longer – the target was 40 hours – had the weather not made the pitch too dangerous.
Each player from the 18-man squads played in three hour stints and spent the rest of the time in tents pitched along the sidelines as the rules of the record attempt – watched over by Guinness invigilators – meant that players were unable to leave the surrounding area during the game.
Not surprisingly, tiredness proved to be the biggest hurdle. “We did a lot of intense training sessions but they don’t prepare you for how long an ordeal this is,” said the All Stars’ Pete Sheppard, 24.
“90 minutes is a long time but you are playing double that before you have a break. That last hour, everyone is really counting down the minutes.”
Not only did the players smash the existing world record, but they are also on target to reach their fundraising total of £30,000, which will help the Dalit community in India, who are considered outcasts and denied access to public areas such as parks.
To donate to the team’s cause online, visit www.football4dalits.com.