The origin of the Irregulars name is lost in time, although local historian Nigel Twicks hopes to uncover the truth in his upcoming book on the village. It seems there are several possible stories. In one, the name came from Archie Oswald, who played for the cricket team at the turn of the century. Archie was known for his flamboyant dress and evidently played several games in a dress, a fact which led other villages to christen the team. Another possibility is that the name came from a game in the 1920's when after a bout of flu that swept the south of England, the Puckering team constantly ran from the field during a game to avail themselves of the facilities. It is possible that this is merely a story put about by West Bean and has no basis in truth. Twicks thinks it is most likely that the name came from WWI, when the lack of young men in the village led to Puckering playing a number of games with an assortment of players including, reputedly, women. In future research, Twicks hopes to find further evidence to confirm one of these stories.
The Downs Village League
Teams: Ballsgate, E. Imbiben, Featherstone, Great Badstow, Kentish Wanderers, New Celand, St. Annes, West Bean, Wooden Forest
For the Puckering Irregulars, no games are bigger than those against hated rivals E. Imbiben and West Bean. The West Bean games have been the centre of some quite unpleasant crowd problems in recent years with the unruly elements at Bean calling into question just how the Irregulars got their name. Play was suspended in 1998 after an Irregular player was hit with a suppository.
The E. Imbiben rivalry reflects antagonism between the villages that goes back centuries. Imbiben has been seen as a Catholic village and that has, unfortunately, played into some of the conflict between these places. Improved relations between the current vicar of Puckering and the priest at Imbiben have improved matters, as has the disparity between the teams. With Imbiben proving to be the best in the league in recent years, it has been hard for Puckering to sustain much of a rivalry against their decidedly superior opponents.
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