Bonkers about Conkers!!!
Started conversation Oct 15, 2003
I have perused a number of sites wrt conkers and gleaned a few 'nuts' of information.
The name may be from the French Cogner meaning 'to hit', and may have been an adaptation of a C15 game using hazelnuts (more appropriately called Cob-nuts)
The Annual Championship is held in Ashton, Northamptonshire on the 2nd Sunday of October.
Although primarily an English sport, Challengers come from as far afield as Australia, New Zealand, Poland and a large contingent from France. Last year France was runner-up.
This year there were more than 350 competitors, and 5,000 watched the event.The prize is a year's supply of Ice-cream, King Conker coming from Corby,Northamptonshire, and Queen Conker from Walthamstow, London.
This year's competition was in danger of being cancelled due to the hot summer, but the necessary quantity (1,500) of Conkers were collected for the tournament.
The 'Conker' tree (or Horse Chestnut) only arrived in the UK, from the Balkans, in the 1600's.The first recorded game was on the Isle Of Wight in 1848, although The Championship has been running since 1965.
All monies collected go to charity.
The Competition rules are simple:-
1) Conkers are provided by the organisers.
2) The lace is 8" from knuckle to Conker.
3) The striker must aim for the Conker.
4) If the laces become entwined, it is called a snag.Only three are permitted before disqualification.
5) Each competitor has three shots alternately. This continues until a Conker is smashed.
Most of this information was on the BBCi Northamptonshire site,15/10/03, as well as BBCi Kent, and chez.com.
For most children, the game has no real rules, except that there is a recognised scoring feature. A virgin conker winning its first game becomes a One-er, then on its next game becomes a two-er, etc. To complicate things, if 2 conkers are used that are champions,ie:- a six-er and a ten-er, the winner adds the loser's total, so becoming a sixteen-er.
However it doesn't help with the argument of whether a 'cheeser' or 'cheesecutter' (ie: wedge-shaped) Conker is better than a conventional Conker.
1) Soaking in Vinegar.
4) Using varnish or nail polish.
5) Soaking in Vodka.
6) Storing in the dark for a year.
7) Coating in hairspray.
However this is deemed very un-sportman-like.
It does seem as though 'Conkering' has gone out of favour in recent times.