This was a sport peculiar to East Kent and the Weald. It became popular in the late 19th century and its heyday was in the early 20th century. Its beauty was that it required no special equipment or pitch - any level meadow would do. Many games were played in the Faversham ‘Rec’ (recreation ground), and the nearby village of Oare fielded some strong sides.
Teams from villages and pubs played in town and county leagues, competing vigorously for the cups and banners, some of which can be seen in the Fleur de Lis Heritage Centre.
Played barefoot with teams of ten, it was a organised version of the game of tag, popular in school playgrounds. Players from one team tried to evade a ‘stroke’, or touch, from members of opposing teams as they ran round the course. A referee and linesmen adjudicated.
The sport was revived for a few years after World War II, with women’s teams as well as men’s. The gate at one match in 1950 was over 3,000. However as a spectator sport goal-running could not compete with more sophisticated games like football and cricket, and it died out.
Rules of Goal Running
text and pictures courtesy of Arthur Percival