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The World Conker Championships! A picturesque corner of Northamptonshire hosts the World Conker Championships on the second Sunday in October every year. Thousands flock to the venue near the ancient market town of Oundle to watch this great spectacle as modern day gladiators fight for glory armed only with a nut and 12" of string.
Players’ Rules of Engagement for the Noble Game of Conkers at the Ashton Conker Club World Conker Championships:
Organised by Ashton Conker Club, the competition first took place in 1965 and has grown year-on-year ever since. Nowadays, teams from all over the world meet for the competition. The competitors play on eight white podiums in the playing arena and go through rounds until the winner emerges and is lead to the Conker Throne and crowned with conkers. In 2009 the Championships moved away from Ashton's tiny village green to a much larger venue less than a mile away.
As well as being a fantastic fun family day out with stalls and sideshows, there is a serious point: to raise money for charities for the blind and the visually impaired. In 2010 the event raised £21,000, bringing the all-time grand total raised to over £400,000! This is with tremendous voluntary work by the organising committee, members of Ashton Conker Club and of course the players, stall holders, sponsors and spectators.
All Conkers and Laces are supplied by Ashton Conker Club. Laces must not be knotted further or tampered with. Each player is given a new conker and lace at the start of each game. Players may not re-use conkers from earlier games. The game will commence with a toss of a coin, the winner of the toss may elect to strike or receive. A distance of no less than 8" or 20cm of lace must be between knuckle and nut. Each player then takes three alternate strikes at the opponent’s conker. Each attempted strike must be clearly aimed at the nut, no deliberate mis-hits. The game will be decided once one of the conkers is smashed. A small piece of nut or skin remaining shall be judged out, it must be enough to mount an attack.
If both nuts smash at the same time then the match shall be replayed. Any nut being knocked from the lace but not smashing may be re-threaded and the game continued. A player causing a knotting of the laces (a snag) will be noted, three snags will lead to disqualification. 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.
The History of Ashton Conker Club It was on Ashton village green, surrounded by horse chestnut trees, that the World Conker Championships were conceived in 1965.