Collecting the folklore and uses of plants

16th Hampstead Heath Conker Championships

Posted on by royvickery |

The 16th annual Hampstead Heath Conker Championships took place at the bandstand in Parliament Hill Fields, London Borough of Camden, on the afternoon of Sunday 1 October 2017.

Registration started at 2.30 p.m. and play commenced at 3 o’clock.  Competitors were divided according to age: under 5s (who seemed totally bemused by what was happening), 5-7 (who seemed slightly less bemused), 8-13, 14-17, and 18+.  Competitors each took three strikes against their opponents and continued until one of the conkers was shattered.  Surprisingly few conkers were shattered, so after five minutes the ‘5 minute rule’ came into force, and each competitor then had nine strikes, the winner being the one who either smashed the opponent’s nut, or scored the most hits.  The losers were eliminated and the winners moved on to play against another opponent.  By about 3.40 this left only two competitors in most age groups (in a couple of age groups, there was only one competitor left).  The two remaining competitors then played a final game, each being allocated nine strikes and the winner being the one who scored most hits.  Winners and runners-up were awarded a certificate, and the winners also received a ‘gold’ conker – a gold-painted strung nut.

Before the start of the competition and at intervals throughout the afternoon a band, the ‘Conkering Heroes’, provided music, and the compere encouraged spectators to chant: ‘Obly, obly-onker, let’s play conkers!’

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