World Conker Championships

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The World Conker Championships are held annually on the second Sunday in October in the village of Ashton near Oundle in Northamptonshire, England. Since 1965, conker players from around the world have gathered on the village green to compete for the world title. The male champion is crowned King Conker, and the women's champion is Queen Conker. This year's King is Ray Kellock, and Wendy Bradford is the Queen.

History[edit]

The championships began in 1965 after a group of people in Ashton held a conker contest because the weather was too bad to go fishing [1]. At first the event was modest in size but in the last twelve years, rising numbers of participants and more interest from abroad have brought it into the headlines. Money made from the competition goes to charity; since 1965 over £400,000 has been raised [2].

On Thursday October 6, 2011. after 46 years of championships, it was with deep sadness that Ashton Conker Club the organisers of the World Conker Championships in Ashton were forced to cancel the event over fears forecasted high winds could ruin the show and leave a hefty bill. The Club say the risk of high tents and marquees coming down in the wind on participants and spectators at the exposed venue was too great a risk to take. [3].

In 2012, the championships were held in the village of Southwick, north of Oundle. Unfortunately, due to a lack of advertising the attendance at the event was minimal. in 2013 the championships will be again held in the village. All efforts were made to find a new home for the competition after the last-minute cancellation last year due to very windy weather. [4].

The competition[edit]

The competition is divided into men's and women's events with some of these playing as part of a team; as the event raises funds for charities helping the visually impaired, blind and partly sighted people can be seen playing at the event. In 2004, 5,000 spectators watched more than 500 participants from 13 countries, including Australia, New Zealand, Austria, the Ukraine, Scotland, France and Poland. France, the winning team in 2003, looked in for a good chance but were finally beaten by Britain.

Prior to the game, 2,283 conkers (horse chestnuts) of the required 1.25-inch width were collected, drilled and strung for the game by Ashton Conker Club officials. Worries were voiced over the leaf-miner moth, Cameraria ohridella, which has appeared in the region and could have a detrimental effect on conker yields.

The competition caters for 256 Men and 64 Ladies. The men's section is split into 4 different colour group each with 64 players. A "gand slam" or knockout procedure is in place reducing the 64 in each group to 32 then 16 then 8 etc., until only one person remains in each group. This is the semi-finals, when red winner may play blue and green may play orange. This results in 2 players who battle out in the final for the title of World Conker Champion.

The rules[edit]

Players’ Rules of Engagement for the Noble Game of Conkers at the Liberal Clubs Conker Championships: [5]


  1. The game will commence with a toss of a coin, the winner of the toss may elect to strike or receive.
  2. A distance of no less than 8" or 20 cm of lace must be between knuckle and nut.
  3. Each player then takes three alternate strikes at the opponent’s conker.
  4. Each attempted strike must be clearly aimed at the nut, no deliberate miss hits.
  5. The game will be decided once one of the conkers is smashed.
  6. A small piece of nut or skin remaining shall be judged out, it must be enough to mount an attack.
  7. If both nuts smash at the same time then the match shall be replayed.
  8. Any nut being knocked from the lace but not smashing may be re threaded and the game continued.
  9. A player causing a knotting of the laces (a snag) will be noted, three snags will lead to disqualification.
  10. 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 opponents 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.

Past Champions[edit]

All champions from official website: [6]

Men's[edit]

All British except where stated.

  • 1965 R.W. Marsh
  • 1966 S.J. Walden
  • 1967 L. Collins
  • 1968 Tim Winham
  • 1969 P. Midlane
  • 1970 J. M. Hillyard
  • 1971 T. Dicks
  • 1972 Ron Marsh
  • 1973 P. Midlane
  • 1974 J. Marsh
  • 1975 J. Marsh
  • 1976 J. Ramirez - Mexico
  • 1977 C. Childs
  • 1978 L. Treliving
  • 1979 Charlie Bray
  • 1980 K. Height
  • 1981 W. Cox
  • 1982 Jim Blackman
  • 1983 S. Rowan
  • 1984 R. Langer
  • 1985 P. Midlane
  • 1986 Charlie Bray
  • 1987 John Hawes
  • 1988 W. Cox
  • 1989 P. Short
  • 1990 H. Watson
  • 1991 John Bull
  • 1992 P. Canning
  • 1993 M. Tindall
  • 1994 James Marsh
  • 1995 Brian Jackson
  • 1996 John Bull
  • 1997 Paul Vjestica
  • 1998 Helmut Kern - Germany
  • 1999 Jody Tracey
  • 2000 Mark Tracey
  • 2001 Neil Fraser
  • 2002 Richard Swailes
  • 2003 Brian Stewart
  • 2004 Darren Foster
  • 2005 Alex Callan
  • 2006 Chris Jones
  • 2007 Ady Hurrell
  • 2008 Ray Kellock
  • 2009 Thomas Gormley
  • 2010 Ray Kellock
  • 2011 EVENT CANCELLED DUE TO WEATHER [7]
  • 2013 Simon Cullum

Women's[edit]

All British except where stated

  • 1988 Sheila Doubleday
  • 1989 Christina Bateman
  • 1990 Mary Bedford
  • 1991 Pauline Baker
  • 1992 J. Courtney
  • 1993 Sheila Doubleday
  • 1994 Tina Stone
  • 1995 Judi Rabbit
  • 1996 Karen Morgan
  • 1997 Louise Bunker
  • 1998 Lesley Bullock
  • 1999 Margaret Twiddy
  • 2000 Selma Becker - Austria
  • 2001 Celine Parachou - France
  • 2002 Liz Gibson
  • 2003 Debbie Oates
  • 2004 Alison Everett
  • 2005 Jayne Coddington
  • 2006 Sandy Gardner
  • 2007 Tina Stone
  • 2008 Amy Farrow
  • 2009 Sue Howes
  • 2010 Wendy Bradford
  • 2011 EVENT CANCELLED DUE TO WEATHER [8]

Team[edit]

Mixed Team[edit]

  • 1992 Chequered Skipper 'B' Team
  • 1993 Chequered Skipper 'B' Team
  • 1994 The Crocodile
  • 1995 The Brigstock International Quartet
  • 1996 Sebright Arms
  • 1997 Nelson Nutcrackers
  • 1998 Nauort 2 (Germany)
  • 1999 Absolutely Hammered
  • 2000 Barton Seagrave Bashers
  • 2001 Royal Oak Resistance
  • 2002 Elton Wasps
  • 2003 No Strings Attached
  • 2004 Daniel Lambert Dining Club
  • 2005 Peterborough Nutters
  • 2006 Celtic Conkerors
  • 2007 Royal Haskoning Rest of the World
  • 2008 Rushden Reprobates
  • 2009 Peterborough Nutters
  • 2010 TBC
  • 2011 EVENT CANCELED DUE TO WEATHER [9]

Ladies Team[edit]

  • 1995 The Wilpave Swingers
  • 1996 Nutcracker Suite
  • 1997 The Minge Petals
  • 1998 Sebright Arms
  • 1999 Wilpave Sweeties
  • 2000 The Minge Petals
  • 2001 France Fillies
  • 2002 Castle Green Conkerers
  • 2003 Magnificent 7 Minus 3
  • 2004 Les Filles Francais
  • 2005 Magnificent 7 Minus 3
  • 2006 France
  • 2007 Magnificent 7 Minus 3
  • 2008 France
  • 2009 (Not Played)
  • 2010 Sri Lankan Ladies
  • 2011 EVENT CANCELED DUE TO WEATHER [10]

Junior Champions[edit]

  • 1986 (10-15yrs) Craig Belson -- (5–9 years) Luke Bilson
  • 1987 Martin Nikel
  • 1988 Martin Nikel
  • 1989 Fiona Kingdon
  • 1990 Faye Elliott
  • 1991 Lisa Crews
  • 1992 M. Hutcheson
  • 1993 Junior Under 13 - M. Heatherington—Intermediate - R. Rawcliffe
  • 1994 Junior Under 13 - Daniel Jacks—Intermediate - James Nikel
  • 1995 Junior - Tim Maguire—Intermediate - James Gould
  • 1996 Junior - Richard Fuller—Intermediate - James Nikel
  • 1997 Junior - Graham Clark—Intermediate - Diane Allen
  • 1998 Junior - Mathew Storrow—Intermediate - Jonathon Lyan—Senior - Ashley Thomas
  • 1999 Junior - Charlotte Laskey—Intermediate - Jack Jarvis
  • 2000 Intermediate - Sally Rate—Senior - Tim Linnell
  • 2002 Intermediate - Joseph Emery

External links[edit]