Shropshire Star

Do you have what it takes to be a conker-er at new championships?

A brand new conker tournament is being planned to crown the finest players of that traditional school sport.

Pictured is pub manager: Kate Howells and from the competition is: Ben Rodway.

So if you think you have what it takes to win the Upper Onny valley Conkers Tournament, you'll need to find a good seed of the horse chestnut tree before October 15.

That's when the tournament is being put on at the Bridges pub, at Ratlinghope.

Organiser Ben Rodway said: "We came up with the idea after the Bridges Tractor Run when we raised money for Yellow Wellies, theFarm Safety Foundation.

"We were thinking what could be a fun event in the autumn and came up with this."

Ben explained that the tournament will have sections for juniors (under 16), seniors, and veterans aged over 50. Entry will be £2 but you will need to get to the Bridges by 2pm to register, with the tournament starting at 3pm.

There will be prizes in each class, and an overall champion will be decided by pitching the best together to find the day's number one conker-er.

And Ben had some words of advice for the more competitive and possibly devious players out there.

"Conkers must be natural, they cannot be baked and the use of vinegar will not be allowed," he said. "No cheating is allowed."

He promised that a well known local judge will set the rules and that his word will be final, with no right to appeal.

Prizes are being worked out but may well include a golden coloured conker for the overall winner. There are also bound to be some pub related prizes too.

Wikipedia describes conkers as a traditional children's game in Great Britain and Ireland played using the seeds of horse chestnut trees.

The name 'conker' is also applied to the seed and to the tree itself.

The game is played by two players, each with a conker threaded onto a piece of string: they take turns striking each other's conker until one breaks.

The first mention of the game is in Robert Southey's memoirs published in 1821, with the first recorded game of conkers using horse chestnuts was on the Isle of Wight in 1848. There is uncertainty of the origins of the name.