Fans enjoy pre-match conker game at Uckfield Rugby Club

Winner and this years champion Mick Hall SUS-180310-120925001
Winner and this years champion Mick Hall SUS-180310-120925001

Rugby fans were treated to a pre-match game of conkers ahead of an afternoon of scrums and trys at Uckfield Rugby Club.

On Saturday, September 29 Rugby Club members Dickie Pearce, Mick Hall, Shona and Mike Cranfield could not wait to get started with a competitive match of their own.

Rugby fans watched on as they battled it out for first place.

Each game lasted five minutes and if neither conker has broken during that time, a shoot out takes place.

Each player then had three sets of three hits.

The player who landed the most clean hits is named the winner.

After a tense set of hits Mick Hall came out as the overall winner.

Contestants are not allowed to use their own conkers, nuts are supplied for each game after being gathered and strung by the organisers.

As with any game with a long tradition, conkers has an almost-equally-long tradition of cheating.

Officially, anybody caught cheating is frowned upon, even shunned, but a successful cheat is almost as lauded as a successful player.

Cheating includes, using last year’s conker (a laggie), brief baking, time on a hot radiator, pickling, soaking and drying and coating with varnish (fresh conkers are shiny, and kept so by constant polishing.

Mick Hall said that he will be very happy for anyone to check his conkers next year when he defends his title!

It is thought that Robert Southey was the first person to recognise a game of ‘conkers’, describing the game in his memoirs in 1821.

However back then knock outs were played with snail shells or hazelnuts.

As the game became more popular horse chestnuts were used.