IRVINE’S long-running Greasy Pole champions will be bowing out on a high after again winning the ham after one try this year.

The Afflecks say they will be stepping out of the competition to encourage younger teams to get involved.

James Affleck, who stands at the bottom of the pole, told the Times they plan to help train up some new teams for 2019 – then if no one gets the ham they can ‘show the young ones how its done’.

He said: “It will be the last year as there’s not enough teams because no one wants to come up against us. Maybe they’re a wee bit intimidated with seeing how easy it is for us and thinking they’re not going to win it anyway.

"It’s that easy for us and it would be better getting more teams up there, maybe 18 or 19-year-old boys, and get them a bit of practice.

“It is hard the first time, but the good thing is the pole stays there all year anyway if they want to go up and get wee shots for practice during the year.

“We have watched all our dads doing it since we were wee boys. With young boys doing it for their first time it will take ages for them to get like us - but it will make it more fun.

"The fun’s out it now because there is only one team and you don’t get the same buzz for it. We’re up there in five or ten minutes and then everybody’s away again.

“We know a lot of young boys down this way me, Jim and Cameron. They could get hold of a young team, I’ll get hold of a young team – even if it’s maybe top end vs bottom end something like that – and possibly arrange a few shots at the pole through the year.

“There was meant to be three teams going up against us and yet again it was only us that showed up for the second year running. We want to make a competition of it and play to the crowd, but its hard to do that when its only us competing.

“It’s a bad day when you have to stop doing something you love because you’re just too good at it, but we will talk with the Carters next year with our ideas and see what they think.”