Winners and boozers

We're as thrilled as the next man that women's boxing has entered the Olympic spectrum [insert mildly leery joke here], but we wonder if the committee might have reconsidered their selection had they known about the wealth of weird, wonderful and oh-so-British sports being played in the nation's pubs?

Historian Arthur Taylor has compiled his third - yes, third - book about games played in pubs, called, appropriately enough, Played In The Pub: The Pub Games Of Britain. Taylor sheds light on niche activities ranging from skittles - the second most popular pub game after darts - through to black pudding throwing, in which a pudding wrapped in ladies' tights (to "prevent seepage"...) is lobbed at a pyramid of yorkshire puddings. We were also surprised to learn that pub shooting has a surprising following; not too long ago some venues became so popular that riflemen had to shoot over the heads of seated spectators to reach the target. So, assuming the Devizes And District Miniature Rifle League can negotiate with the doping agencies and health and safety, it should be a shoo-in for 2016. 

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Played In The Pub: The Pub Games Of Britain (English Heritage) by Arthur Taylor is out now

All pictures courtesy of English Heritage except middle right, courtesy of Phil Taylor