Photo Gallery: The Norfolk men who have been battling it out to be King of the Cup for two decades

The chaotic action of the Diss King of the Cup competition, organised by Bob Kilkenny, takes place a

The chaotic action of the Diss King of the Cup competition, organised by Bob Kilkenny, takes place at Rectory Meadow.PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY - Credit: Archant Norfolk

They started out as a group of eight-year-old boys looking to entertain themselves on a bank holiday.

The youngsters pooled their pocket money to buy a trophy, made a goal and the King of the Cup competition was born. And more than 20 years later, Bob Kilkenny and his friends still hold the tournament every Good Friday in their hometown, Diss.

More than 50 men braced the biting wind and took part in the knock-out event yesterday, where players are eliminated from a round if they do not score a goal.

Mr Kilkenny said: 'We were eight years old and we spent all of our spare time playing football on an estate in Diss.

'We have always played a world cup singles tournament. It has turned into an event which is incredible.'


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The day attracts up to 100 spectators who enjoy music and a barbecue while watching men battle for the title.

This year's winner was Jon Abbott a former Diss Town FC player who is studying at the University of Derby.

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The game was originally played near the youngsters' homes near Victoria Road in Diss but was soon moved to the playing field at Diss Junior School. Four years ago, they moved it to Rectory Meadow, which is also home to the town's cricket club.

Competitors, who are mostly former Diss High School pupils, travel from as far as London to take part in the tradition in the town and the game can last up to eight hours.

Mr Kilkenny, 29, said: 'Most of the lads come back from wherever they are living now and we always have a good night out afterwards.'

And although the event was not intended to raise money for charity, they donated £100 to a friend who was running the London marathon and contributed to running costs at the cricket club last year.

James Goulding, who was crowned King of the Cup in 2012 returned from his Army base near Bournemouth, to fight for his title.

The 23-year-old, who is a signalman with the Royal Corps of Signals, said: 'It's a big deal and it's really competitive. I wouldn't miss it.

'I won it last year and it was the first time I had ever played it.

'The winner gets a trophy, the winner's jacket, a hoodie and their pride. It can be mentally and physically exhausting.'

Mr Kilkenny takes the first penalty but does not compete in the game after having his leg amputated.

He initially broke his right leg while playing football in a Sunday league match for Wortham in 2008, but suffered repeated infections and the decision was made to amputate the leg.

lucy.wright@archant.co.uk

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