An everyday story of violent sporting folk by our guest columnist: Gary “Mr Stewed Eels & Mash” Hoadley
Cobbling was a little-known sport played in the slums of East London around the late 19th century. It’s a highly skilled test of endurance in which men line up facing each other, and at a given signal, take it in turns to kick each other in the testicles, or “cobblers” – a cockney rhyming slang term which has been shortened from “cobbler’s awls” The last man standing is then declared the champion.
My Granddad was champion of West London, while the editor-in-chief of The Whitechapel Whelk, Billy Sykes’s granddad, was champion of East London.
They met for a showdown late one afternoon in Mile End Road in July 1898. Sadly, for both competitors and the watching crowd of over 2000, the contest descended into farce and was declared null and void after a runaway milkman’s horse kicked both men in the groin, rendering them unable to continue. The horse was led away, and after receiving the winner’s trophy, was poleaxed by a vet for “cobbling without due care and attention”.
From the best-selling bargain bucket novel “Great Sporting Moments Involving Genitalia” by Gary Hoadley
Disclaimer: No granddads ended up unable to have children as a direct result of this skit.