December 7 2013 Latest news:
Sunday, October 27, 2013
Horse chestnuts were drawn at dusk on Saturday, at the annual conker championships held at East Runton village pub, the Fishing Boat.
Competitors lined up to take shots at conkers gathered from near Cromer’s Meadow car park by pub landlady Sue Cox in the contest, which was first held in 2003 after schools began banning conkers over health and safety concerns.
“At the time, there was a lot of publicity about the dangers of playing conkers and we wanted to show how safe it can be in a controlled environment,” said Ms Cox’s partner Robert Clarke.
The traditional British game of conkers, which dates back to the mid-1800s, has recently enjoyed a revival, with one Cambridgeshire head teacher putting on conker lessons after realising his pupils were baffled by the sight of horse chestnuts and a Leeds and Manchester car park company allowing motorists to pay for city centre parking with conkers.
The scheme, which is now set to be extended, has seen drivers hand in more than 1500 conkers, whose 20p-each value has been donated to a nearby nature reserve.
And in Northamptonshire earlier this month, competitors from 15 countries took part in the 47th annual World Conker Championship, which was revived after a break of three years.
Mr Clarke and Ms Cox said they felt the game had lost its appeal for today’s tech-savvy youngsters.
“It does seem to be dying out,” Mr Clarke said. “I think children nowadays are more interested in computers.”
The couple joined in this year’s event, with Ms Cox, who has been landlady at the Fishing Boat since 1998, in charge of stringing conkers and Mr Clarke taking part in the tournament, which went on into the evening.
After a tense contest, Fishing Boat regulars Peter Flute and Mark Cyngier were eventually declared joint winners.
“They both had bruised arms as the conkers refused to break so, after an hour-and-a-half, we had to call it a draw,” Ms Cox said.