World Conker Championships

The World Conker Championships (WCC) are held annually on the second Sunday in October[1] in the county of Northamptonshire, England. Two players use conkers threaded onto a string and take turns to strike the other's nut until it shatters.[2] Since 1965, conker players from around the world have gathered to compete in a knock-out, to be world champion in team and individual, also women's and youth titles. Up to 5,000 spectators watch around 400 players participating.[3] from many countries, including Australia, Austria, Canada, France, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Poland, Russia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Ukraine, the United States and the United Kingdom.[4][5][6][7][8]

World Conker Championships
Strung conker.jpg
World Conker Championships
Highest governing bodyAshton Conker Club
First played1965
Characteristics
ContactNo
TypePub games, Precision sports
EquipmentStrung conker

The 2020 World Conker Championship was due to be held on Sunday 11 October 2020, but was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[9]

WCC HistoryEdit

The World Conker Championships began in 1965 when a group of anglers in Ashton held a conker contest at the Chequered Skipper public house[3] because the weather was too bad to go fishing.[2] The event was held in Ashton for 45 years before moving to a larger venue at the Shuckburgh Arms[10] in Southwick, Northamptonshire in 2009.[5][6] Money made from the competition goes to charities such as the Northamptonshire Association for the Blind and the Huntingdon Society for the Blind.

The tournament has been threatened with conker shortages over the years, in 1976 conkers used in the tournament had to be flown in from Jersey,[11] in 1980 freak spring weather was one of the factors that threatened the World Conker Championships causing a conker shortage, and in 1982 a late frost killed off the horse chestnut blossom resulting in a failed conker harvest.[11]

On Thursday 6 October 2011, Ashton Conker Club the organisers of the World Conker Championships were forced to cancel the event over safety fears with high winds being forecasted.[12] In 2012, the championships were cancelled again when a suitable venue couldn't be found in time.[13]

Concerns for the future of the event were voiced over the Horse-chestnut leaf miner moth, Cameraria ohridella, which has appeared in the region and could have a detrimental effect on the UK's Horse-chestnut population affecting conker yields.[10]

On 9 October 2017, Chelsea pensioner John Riley won the men's tournament at the age of 85, quite possibly making him the oldest world champion on the planet.[14]

in 2018, Her Majesty The Queen and Sir David Attenborough chatted about conkers in a 2018 TV documentary.[1]

WCC RulesEdit

Players' Rules of Engagement for the Noble Game of Conkers as follows: [2]

  1. Prior to the game, over 2,000 conkers (horse chestnuts) of the required 1.25-inch (30 mm) width are collected, drilled and strung ready by tournament officials.[1]
  2. Each game will commence with a toss of a coin, the winner of the toss may elect to strike or receive.
  3. A distance of no less than 8" or 20 cm of lace must be between knuckle and nut.
  4. Each player then takes three alternate strikes at the opponent's conker.
  5. Each attempted strike must be clearly aimed at the nut, no deliberate miss hits.
  6. The game will be decided once one of the conkers is smashed.
  7. A small piece of nut or skin remaining shall be judged out, it must be enough to mount an attack.
  8. If both nuts smash at the same time then the match shall be replayed.
  9. Any nut being knocked from the lace but not smashing may be re threaded and the game continued.
  10. A player causing a knotting of the laces (a snag) will be noted, three snags will lead to disqualification.
  11. If a game lasts for more than five minutes then play will halt and the "5-minute rule" will come into effect. Each player will be allowed up to nine further strikes at their opponent's nut, again alternating three strikes each. If neither conker has been smashed at the end of the nine strikes then the player who strikes the nut the most times during this period will be judged the winner.

WCC Results historyEdit

All players are British except where indicated with a national flag icon.

Year Mens Individual Ladies Individual Team Winner Ladies Team Junior (7–11) Youth/Intermediate (11–15) Young adult (16–18)
1965 Ron Marsh - - - - - -
1966 Sid Walden[15] - - - - - -
1967 L. Collins - - - - - -
1968 Tim Winham - - - - - -
1969 Peter Midlane - - - - - -
1970 John M. Hillyard - - - - - -
1971 T. Dicks - - - - - -
1972 Ron Marsh - - - - - -
1973 Peter Midlane[8] - - - Simon Bayliss[8] - -
1974 J Marsh - - - - - -
1975 J Marsh - - - - - -
1976 Jorge Ramirez Carrillo  [16][6] - - - - - -
1977 C. Childs - - - - - -
1978 L. Treliving - - - - - -
1979 Charlie Bray[11] - - - - - -
1980 Keith Height[11] - - - - - -
1981 Bill Cox[11] - - - - - -
1982 Jim Blackman - - - - - -
1983 S. Rowan - - - - - -
1984 R. Langer - - - - - -
1985 Peter Midlane - - - - - -
1986 Charlie Bray - - - Luke Bilson Craig Belson -
1987 John Hawes - - - - Martin Nikel -
1988 W. Cox Sheila Doubleday - - - Martin Nikel -
1989 P. Short Christina Bateman - - Fiona Kingdom Lempriere -
1990 H. Watson Mary Bedford - - - Faye Elliott -
1991 John Bull Pauline Baker - - - Lisa Crews -
1992 P. Canning J. Courtney Chequered Skipper 'B' Team - - M. Hutcheson -
1993 M. Tindall Sheila Doubleday Chequered Skipper 'B' Team - M. Heatherington R. Rawcliffe -
1994 James Marsh Tina Stone The Crocodile - Daniel Jack James Nikel -
1995 Brian Jackson Judi Rabbit The Brigstock International Quartet The Wilpave Swingers Tim Maguire James Gould -
1996 John Bull Karen Morgan Sebright Arms Nutcracker Suite Richard Fuller James Nikel Ian Smith
1997 Paul Vjestica Louise Bunker Nelson Nutcrackers The Minge Petals Graham Clark Diane Allen -
1998 Helmut Kern  [6] Lesley Bullock Nauort 2   Sebright Arms Matthew Storrow Jonathon Lyan Ashley Thomas
1999 Jody Tracey Margaret Twiddy Absolutely Hammered Wilpave Sweeties Charlotte Laskey Jack Jarvis Chris Eccles
2000 Mark Tracey Selma Becker   Barton Seagrave Bashers The Minge Petals Rachel Mintern Sally Rate Tim Linnell
2001 Neil Fraser Celine Parachou   Royal Oak Resistance France Fillies   Duncan Winfrey Max Aitken Lewis Chilvers
2002 Richard Swailes Liz Gibson Elton Wasps Castle Green Conkerers Ruth Pritchard Joseph Emery -
2003 Brian Stewart Debbie Oates No Strings Attached Magnificent 7 Minus 3 Kieran Campbell William Pritchard Lucy Walshaw
2004 Darren Foster Alison Everett Daniel Lambert Dining Club Les Filles Francais   Kieran O'Connor Jordan Witherall James Robinson
2005 Alex Callan Jayne Coddington Peterborough Nutters Magnificent 7 Minus 3 Callum Owen William Pritchard Kallom Nash
2006 Chris Jones Sandy Gardner Celtic Conkerors France   Philip Broomhead Jack Boon Emma Ratcliffe
2007 Ady Hurrell Tina Stone Royal Haskoning Rest of the World Magnificent 7 Minus 3 Philip Broomhead Nicolas Rothera Steven Wray
2008 Ray Kellock[4] Amy Farrow[4] Rushden Reprobates France   Thomas Whincup Robert Winfield Rebecca Moss
2009 Thomas Gormley Sue Howes Peterborough Nutters - Evie Driscoll-King Oliver Mas Brent Walker
2010 Ray Kellock[17] Wendy Bradford[4] The Fairways Sri Lankan Ladies   [4] Louis Carpenter Samuel Lewin Robyn Geldard
2011 Event Cancelled[12] (Bad weather)
2012 Event Cancelled[13] (No venue)
2013 Simon Cullum[18] Sophie Knox[18] Woodbeeez event abolished Harrison Scott Oliver Simons Georgie Spence-Jones
2014 John Doyle[19] Stephanie Withall[19] Woodbeeez - Elliott Hurrell Daniel Devaney Alex Wallman
2015 Steven Prescott[20] Amy Farrow [20] Woodbeeez - Peter Rogers Isla Watson Charlie Dathorne
2016 Tom Dryden[7] Lorna Clarke[7] Lord Robartes Nutters - William Chapman Josh Broomhead Oliver Simons[21]
2017 John Riley[14] Julie Freeman[14] Mutts Nutts - Benjamin Wallace Faith Weatherington Oliver Simons[21]
Year Overall World Champion Ladies' World Champion Men's World Champion Team Champion
2018 Karen Holloway[22] Karen Holloway Edward Gaze
2019 Jasmine Tetley[23] Jasmine Tetley Andy Moore
2020 Event Cancelled (COVID-19 pandemic)
2021 Jasmine Tetley[24] Jasmine Tetley Ady Hurrell We Came, We Saw, Jasmine Conkered

WCC Roll of HonourEdit

Shown in alphabetical order by surname in the event of a tie.

Individual Multiple Champions Wins
Peter Midlane 3
Oliver Simons 3
Charlie Bray 3
Philip Broomhead 2
John Bull 2
Bill Cox 2
Sheila Doubleday 2
Amy Farrow 2
Ray Kellock 2
J Marsh 2
Ron Marsh 2
James Nikel 2
Martin Nikel 2
William Pritchard 2
Tina Stone 2
Jasmine Tetley 2
Team Competition Wins
France   4
Magnificent 7 Minus 3 3
Woodbeeez 3
Chequered Skipper 'B' Team 2
Peterborough Nutters 2
Sebright Arms 2
The Minge Petals 2

WCC Video History from 2007 to 2017Edit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b "Hail the Conkering Hero". timetravel-britain.com. 2005.
  2. ^ a b "Enough nuts for conker champions". BBC. 2006.
  3. ^ a b "World Conker Championships in Ashton". chequeredskipper.co.uk. 2016.
  4. ^ a b c d e "World Conker Championship Press Photos". web.archive.org/worldconkerchampionships.com. 2011. Archived from the original on 8 October 2011.
  5. ^ a b "World Conker Championship History". worldconkerchampionships.com. 2017.
  6. ^ a b c d "World Conker Championship returns to Northants tomorrow". northantstelegraph.co.uk. 2016.
  7. ^ a b c "World Conker Championship crowns new king 2016". BBC. 2016.
  8. ^ a b c "Breaking Horse Chestnuts". The Morning Herald. Hagerstown, Maryland. 21 November 1973. p. 7. Retrieved 2 September 2020 – via newspapers.com.
  9. ^ "2020 Championships Cancelled". World Conker Championship. Archived from the original on 19 September 2020. Retrieved 19 September 2020.
  10. ^ a b "PANIC! World Conker Championships threatened by moths". Metro. 2015.
  11. ^ a b c d e "World conker championships competition at Ashton in Northamptonshire". Media Archive for Central England (Mace) 1969 to 1982. 2017.
  12. ^ a b "World Conker Championship cancelled because of high winds". The Telegraph. 2011.
  13. ^ a b "World Conker Championship cancelled for second year in row". BBC. 2012.
  14. ^ a b c "Conker world champion, 85, 'hadn't played for 70 years'". BBC. 2017. Archived from the original on 9 October 2017.
  15. ^ "Retro: Conkering Heroes". Northamptonshire Telegraph. 2014.
  16. ^ "Posts Tagged 'conkers'". sweffling.wordpress.com. 2010.
  17. ^ Nex, Sally (3 November 2010). "A load of old chestnuts". BBC. Retrieved 2 September 2020.
  18. ^ a b "Southwick toasts 2013 conker conquerors". BBC News.
  19. ^ a b "King of the conkers crowned". BBC Newsround.
  20. ^ a b "World Conker Champion crowned in Northamptonshire". BBC News.
  21. ^ a b "Past World Conker Champions". worldconkerchampionships.com. 2017. Archived from the original on 15 August 2018.
  22. ^ "World Conker Champions 2018 crowned in Northamptonshire". BBC. 2018.
  23. ^ "Rain delays play at the World Conker Champions 2019". BBC. 2019.
  24. ^ "Northamptonshire: Thousands attend World Conker Championships=BBC". 2021.