Competitors spring into action at World Conker Championships


The Conkers were back and ready to swing when the Conker World Championships returned.

The event, which took place at the Shuckburgh Arms in Southwick, Peterborough on Sunday, was attended by over 300 competitors and around 5,000 spectators from around the world.

No costume was off limits to competitors, with Stephanie Withall – a former champion – donning a bee outfit to pay tribute to her work as a beekeeper.

Stephanie Withall at the annual Conker World Championships (Joe Giddens/PA)

There was also an Elvis look-alike, a Spider-Man and a contestant dressed as a beer bottle – the wearer of which seemed to be having fun taking on his rivals at the event.

Chelsea pensioners also got in on the action, with one – Phil Watkins, 75 – ogling his target to get the best shot possible, while others were caught with massive smiles on their faces as the competition was in full swing.

All competitors must follow a strict set of rules to ensure the event is as fair as possible, which includes used conkers and laces provided by the organisers, while laces cannot be further tied or twisted.

2022 World Conker Championships
Competitors take part in the annual World Conker Championships at the Shuckburgh Arms in Southwick, Peterborough (Joe Giddens/PA)

In addition, a minimum distance of at least 20cm of yaw must be between the knuckle and the nut for both “hitting” and “receiving” players.

Organizers added that conkers are drawn ‘blind’ from a bag, with players allowed to discard up to three conkers.

To win, the opponent’s conker must be crushed and if both are broken at the same time, new conkers will be fired.

2022 World Conker Championships
Chelsea retiree Phil Watkins, 75, competes in the annual Conker World Championships (Joe Giddens/PA)

Other rules apply if a match lasts longer than five minutes and penalties may also be imposed for foul play.

Apart from the fun people have at the event, the main purpose of the championships is to support charities helping the visually impaired.

Since the event’s inception in 1965, a total of £420,000 has been raised.


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