Thirty-third Vale of Belvoir Conker Championships were fiercely contested under a new competition format

Conkering competitors do battle in the Long Clawson sunshine 
PHOTO: Tim Williams

Conkering competitors do battle in the Long Clawson sunshine PHOTO: Tim Williams

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Around 100 people took part in the newly formated 33rd annual Vale of Belvoir Conker Championships at Long Clawson on Sunday.

For the first time ever, male and female competitors went head to head in an open competition.

Action from the junior final between James Boles and Max Seddon PHOTO: Tim Williams

Action from the junior final between James Boles and Max Seddon PHOTO: Tim Williams

The voluntary organising committee decided to make the championships simpler and more appealing to players by having a mixed over 14s contest and a mixed under 14s junior competition.

Villager Martin Walker said: “This was the first year we ran a male and female mixed open competition and the tournament was fiercely contested.

“The 2016 Vale of Belvoir champions were Andy Bickle, of Long Clawson, who beat Charlotte Street, and junior Max Seddon, who conquered James Boles, son of Steve Boles, last year’s runner up.

“At 11am the heavens opened and it started to pour down. There was doubt cast over whether the event would actually go ahead. In the end, we got started, but because of the weather numbers were down on previous years.”

The Goddard family celebrate Charlotte Street's semi-final win PHOTO: Tim Williams

The Goddard family celebrate Charlotte Street's semi-final win PHOTO: Tim Williams

The championships took place at The Pingle, next to the Crown and Plough pub. Players were charged £6 for the senior competition and £2 for the juniors section.

Proceeds from the event totalled around £250, which will go towards village hall funds.

Prince Conker (aka Robin Bailey) was knocked out in the first round by last year’s winner Steve Tunnicliffe.

The organising commitee are looking for someone to take on the future running of the event.

The 2016 Vale of Belvoir conker champions Max Seddon and Andy Bickle PHOTO: Tim Williams

The 2016 Vale of Belvoir conker champions Max Seddon and Andy Bickle PHOTO: Tim Williams

Abigail McCahon slugs it out with husband Rob PHOTO: Tim Williams

Abigail McCahon slugs it out with husband Rob PHOTO: Tim Williams

Winners and runners up show off their trophies PHOTO: Tim Williams

Winners and runners up show off their trophies PHOTO: Tim Williams