Wed May 05 08:05pm EDT
Just before kicking off the record attempt, last chance for second thoughts. And the ability to feel their legs.
Ninety minutes is a lovely amount of time for a match. Two 45-minute halves of continuous play split up by a 15-minute break and you're back out the gate in less than two hours. But when you're attempting to break the Guinness World Record for the longest match -- which stood at 33 hours -- to benefit charity, as Cambray FC did in Cheltenham, England last weekend, the rules are a bit different. Namely, they go like this (as explained by Cambray):
-Players not playing for either team must remain by the pitch side and not leave the area throughout the game. For example those off for a while to rest/sleep must do this pitchside.
-Only 18 players are allowed in each squad. Basically we have to cover the normal rules of a football match throughout the whole game.
-A 5-minute break is earned for each hour played. Breaks can be accumulated, e.g after 4 hours continuous play; a 20-minute break can be had.
-An official break is the only time a player can leave the pitch or pitchside area.
So at 6 p.m. local time last Friday evening, Cambray FC lined up against a team comprised of their own local Cotswold Churches League All Stars on a pitch surrounded by tents for the 36 players and whoever they could convince to come and watch as they attempted to play for more than 40 hours straight.
Through the night and into a sunny Saturday that turned to "torrential rain" that hammered down for 15 hours non-stop, soaking the players and making a mud pit of the pitch, the match went on, finally ending at a record 35 hours after a vote among the players during an official break because playing conditions were no longer safe. Final score? Cambray 293, All Stars 333.
Said one of the players' wives:
"Supporters have been coming through the night to watch them and have even pitched up their tents as well.
"The players are completely shattered and many of them have been left with injuries.
"We had to make the decision to stop when the rain got heavier and it became a bit too dangerous."
In the end, Cambray not only broke the record and proved that the sport isn't at all low scoring when you play for 35 straight hours, but also reached its goal of raising £30,000 (about $45,000) to build and equip a school for the Dalit community in India. Then they all went home and probably vowed to just have a bake sale next time.
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