The Rules Of The Game

The Rules Of The Game - blog post image

Conkers are beginning to fall from the oak trees. They crash through the branches and land with a thud beneath. In September and October it is best not to stand horse chestnut

branches when it’s windy. Such hazards have their benefits of course and a primary one is it’s the time of year we all carry a piece of string inour pockets and have bruised knuckles. If, like me, you are hazy about the rules of the game but unlike me are a stickler for principles, here is a reminder of the do’s and don’ts of playing conkers.

1. Each player must use a new conker at the start of each game (ideally, a new lace as well). Players cannot re-use conkers from earlier games.

2. The game begins with the toss of a coin. The winner of the toss chooses to strike or receive.

3. A distance of no less than eight inches or 20cm of lace must be between a player’s knuckle and their conker.

4. Each player takes three strikes at the opponent’s conker before play switched to their opponent. The opponent then takes three strikes and turns alternate in this way until the end of the game.

5. Each strike must be clearly aimed at the nut. There can be no deliberate mis-hits.

6. The game is decided once one of the conkers is smashed.

7. If a conker is not completely smashed but so little of it remains that it cannot possibly mount a serious attack against its opponent, that conker is out.

8. If both nuts smash at the same time, the match must be replayed.

9. Any nut that is knocked from the lace but not smashed may be re-threaded and the game may be continued.

10. Any player causing a knotting of the laces (a snag) will be noted. Three snags will lead to a disqualification

11. If a game lasts for more than five minutes then play is halted. Each player is allowed nine further strikes at their opponent’s nut, again alternating after every three strikes. If neither conker has been smashed at the end of the nine strikes then the player who strikes the nut the most times during this period is judged the winner.

And when the games over, don't throw away your ammunition, store it in your drawers and wardrobes - experts say the old wives’ tale about conkers stopping moth caterpillars feeding on fabrics is scientifically accurate because the seeds produce a natural insecticide.




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