News > Conker contest knocked on head
The world of sport was dealt a bitter blow this week, when the 2011 World Conker Championships fell prey to the autumn weather. The annual competition at Ashton Conker Club has been attracting an international array of competitors for over four decades. But it had to be called off after bad weather defeated the organisers' efforts to set up the competition marquees at the site at Polebrook in Northamptonshire.
About 300 competitors from 20 countries were set to take part in the championships on Sunday 9th November. Armed only with their trusty conker and a piece of string contestants battle it out on a series of podiums - a necessary development as the event attracts several thousand each year. The winners progress through the rounds until the victor emerges, who is then led to the Conker Throne and crowned with a crown of conkers.
Established in 1965, the championship attracts thousands of visitors every year who come to watch entrants from across the globe compete for the Conker Crown. Competitors from as far afield as Sri Lanka, America and Bangladesh were expected to take part in this year's contest. But organisers felt compelled to cancel the event for the first time in its 46 year history after high winds looked set to hit the site over the weekend.
John Hadman, secretary of the club, said it had been a very sad and difficult decision. "We just couldn't get the marquees or stalls up," Mr Hadman said. "We couldn't risk them blowing down on people." The championship committee are now contacting entrants by email and telephone to tell them the contest has been cancelled. An extraordinary meeting has been scheduled for November to discuss the future of the competition. "The future is in the balance," Mr Hadman said. "We want to carry on but the weather could be just as bad next year."
However you can be sure that the British sense of silliness will prevail and that a way for the conker kings and queens to live on will be found. After all, any nation committed to other such sporting gems as 'Wellie Wanging' and 'Dyke Jumping' isn't going to be blown off course by the occasional windy day.