Healthy Havering: Zorb football - playing the beautiful game in a bubble is riotous fun
PUBLISHED: 12:00 10 August 2018 | UPDATED: 14:32 06 September 2018
One in three people in Havering does not do enough exercise, according to the NHS Active Lives Survey. So reporter Aaron Walawalkar and some Recorder colleagues tried out Zorb football to show one fun way to get active.
Encircled by eight of my colleagues who are poised to pile-drive me into dust, I brace myself and try to lock my trembling legs into a strong and stable stance.
At the shrill sound of the whistle, they hurtle forward like stampeding bulls exacting their long-awaited revenge on a repentant matador.
I am struck first from behind and then again from the front, ricocheting around like a rubber bullet before finally flopping onto the ground.
But, rather than scream in agony, I emerge unscathed thanks to the inflatable, plastic orb in which I am encased.
For the uninitiated, this plastic ball is known as a Zorb.
Nine intrepid reporters from the Recorder and sister newspapers went to PlayFootball in Eastern Avenue West, Romford to test out Zorb football, also known as Bubble football.
The sport involves playing the beautiful game with your mates while you are each strapped inside a transparent, doughtnut-like bubble.
It is advertised on PlayFootball as an “ideal event for corporate events, stag and hen-dos, birthday parties or just getting a group together for a fun day out”.
And I have to agree – Zorb football is riotous fun.
Our experience began with around 10 minutes of traditional football – Blues versus Reds.
The Red team got the knack of the game fastest, quickly rocketing ahead to 4-0.
“Come on Blues – you are behind and you’ve got five minutes left,” shouted our extremely friendly referee and coach Grant.
Lo and behold the Blues quickly caught up with a hat-trick from Alex McFayden, features writer for The Havering Resident, and a sensational goal from reporter April Roach.
“Woahohoho!” Grant would remark as a player made good contact with another, his commentary greatly adding to the excitement of the game.
“Look at that spin!” was another of his choice phrases.
At half-time everyone emerged from their bubbles red-faced and drenched in sweat.
“It’s too bloody hot,” said Sophie Morton, a chief reporter, articulating what we were all thinking.
With the temperatures well in excess of 30 degrees celsius, running around inside the Zorbs proved an intense cardio-vascular workout.
It is probably sensible to save Zorbing for a cooler day.
But, thanks to a plentiful supply of drinking water from PlayFootball, we all stayed safe and hydrated.
Another challenge was being able to see the football, as the glare of the setting sun obscured visibility inside the Zorb.
But you could overcome this by bending forward and looking through the hole at the top of the Zorb.
Win or lose, the most fun part of the game is the novelty of bumping into each other without injury or consequence.
Whether you are a novice or a seasoned pro, the playing field is levelled when wearing a Zorb.
Those of a more competitive mindset may disagree.
In the end, the Reds won 8-5.
After the match, Grant led our group through games of British Bulldog, one-on-one duals and King of the Ring.
“I usually save this one for the birthday boy or girl,” laughed Grant, as he explained the rules of King of the Ring – the Zorbing equivalent of birthday beats.
After the group took their free hit against a specially selected person, in this case me, the game becomes a free-for-all with the last man standing crowned King or Queen.
At £250 a game for up to 20 people, Zorb football might be a little beyond most people’s budget for a regular keep-fit activity.
But I could not recommend it enough as a fun day out.
After leaving PlayFootball, I still felt like I was inside the Zorb and had to fight the urge to hurl myself at unsuspecting pedestrians on my journey home.
A point to note: if you’re going with your colleagues, particularly your boss, it may be worth exercising a little restraint.
You may have some pent-up frustration you want to release.
But best to wait until you’ve secured that long-awaiting promotion before doing so.
10per cent discount for readers
The Recorder has teamed up with PlayFootball to give Romford Recorder readers a special discount.
A Zorb football session costs £250 for up to 20 people.
PlayFootball will give a 10per cent discount for groups that mention this Romford Recorder article when they book.
Valid for Zorb parties booked and paid in full before September 9, 2018. Party must take place before December 31, 2018 and subject to availability.
Additional party places £17 per place.
Does not include Champions Experience or children’s parties.
Cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer.
PlayFootball reserve the right to substitute this offer for a similar product. PlayFootball reserve the right to cancel/vary this offer without notice.