Going bonkers for Conker Championship

AUTUMN was officially announced in Peterborough as scores of residents battled each other to become the city’s conker-or.

Conker fans gathered for the second Peterborough Conker Championship which was again held at the Green Backyard, Oundle Road, Peterborough, on Saturday afternoon.

Some claimed to be bark-ing mad others just plain nuts about the traditional childhood favourite game but battle lines were swiftly drawn as the competitors daringly dangled their conkers on a string to be attacked by the other player.

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The event saw a large number of people turn out to try to claim the conker crown for themselves while raising money for the charitable organisation and to ensure a level playing field all the conkers were sourced from the same tree.

Former 2007 World Conker champion and Whittlesey based Peterborough reigning champion Ady Hurrell (39) returned to the fray bringing his brother Mauric, reigning Scottish conker champion along.

Ady said the key was a big swing and to hit as “hard as you can” and said it was just a fun event but was delighted to scoop the title for the second year running.

He added: “I used to love playing conkers as a child and it’s still good fun now, it takes you back to the being younger.”

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Organiser of the Wisbech Lions Club’s annual Wisbech and Fenland Conker Championships, Kevin Rodgers, was at the Peterborough event but had given himself a handicap after he managed to drill a hole in his thumb while preparing conkers.

He said: “I have never done it before and won’t ever do it again it hurt that much. I had 500 conkers to drill and this was number 480, but am not going to let it put me off it’s a great sport.”

Organiser Sophie Antonelli had promised this years conker championship would be bigger, better and badder and said was really pleased with how it went.

She added: “The whole community have got involved and congratulations to Ady.”

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And yesterday thousands flocked to the World Conker Championships organised by Ashton Conker Club. The winner Ray Kellock, 64, took the title at the 46th contest for the second time – saying he had perfected his “kinetic energy theory” that brought him success in 2008. Around 350 adults and 700 juniors took part in the competition held in Ashton, near Oundle, organisers said.

Self-employed Mr Kellock, from Rushden, Northants, who regained the title after being knocked out in last year’s semi-finals, said it was all down to his formula.

“It was chance last time but it was design this time. It’s all about potential energy, according to my son anyway, who’s a Batchelor of Engineering. He says that it’s all about kinetic energy and potential energy. It’s all about how you hit it and where you hit it.

Wendy Bradford, 45, from Brixworth, Northants, said she was “stunned” to win the ladies’ title.

She said: “We’ve competed a few times in the past as a family, but obviously I’ve not done as well as this before.”

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