Northampton

World Conker Championship crowns new king

World Conker Champion and Women's Champion
Image caption Tom Dryden and Lorna Clarke were crowned World Conker Champion and Women's Champion respectively

A new king has been crowned World Conker Champion after taking part in the annual games for the first time.

Tom Dryden, from Earls Barton in Northamptonshire, described the news as "absolutely outstanding".

Lorna Clarke, from Oxford, took the the women's title. It's the second time she has entered the games.

Organisers said 190 competitors from countries including Russia, the USA and Japan took part in the event in Southwick, Northamptonshire.

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Since it began in 1965, the event has raised about £400,000 for blind and visually impaired charities.

Ms Clarke, a digital marketing manager said: "Its amazing. The trick was skill, accuracy and a little bit of luck. My colleagues will laugh but will be very impressed."

Mr Dryden, who is a Cub Scout assistant, said: "I never thought I'd win the first time I entered. The cubs will be over the moon."

Image caption David Jamin who has held the King Conker title for 11 years giving it his best shot

A new conker is used for every round. StJohn Burkett said preparations had been tough this year because of a shortage of decent conkers.

He said: "We collect a couple of thousand and we have to get the proper Championship-sized conkers. They're quite rare.

"We usually rely on two secret trees but even they haven't produced this year so we've had the whole committee out collecting."

Image caption A shortage of conkers has not stopped people flocking to the World Conker Championships

Official rules

  • Conkers are provided for each game and cannot be tampered with or re-used
  • There must be at least 20cm (8in) of lace between knuckle and nut
  • Each player takes three alternate strikes at their opponent's conker, with a game decided once one of the conkers is smashed
  • If a game lasts for more than five minutes it is halted and each player will be allowed a further nine strikes
  • If neither conker is smashed then the winner will be the player who hit the nut the most times during this period
Image caption A team from Sutton Coldfield returned to take their chances at this year's event

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