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The Second Annual Office Conkers Championship

Yes, it's that time of year again. Sunday October 8th sees our second annual Conkers Championship. It is a fantastic night of sporting excellence, high drama and sometimes pain. Anybody is welcome to enter. Martina (seen above receiving her trophy from Chav husband, Dom) is the defending Champion. She does not want to give up her title, and all that goes with it, without a fight.

Are you up for it?

If you would like to take part, either email us at the address below or turn up on the night before 16:30 and sign up (conkers will be provided):

[email protected]

You can read more about the game HERE and download the rules of the tournament HERE (pdf) .

`There follows a report of last year's event to whet the appetite:

"The event kicked off a little behind schedule due to the generally lethargic approach to life adopted by most of the competitors. Dom Giovanni officiously read the rules of the competition before announcing who would face who in the initial group stage. Sixteen Conkerers (Dom, Martina, Tim, Elke, Cam, Ade, Audrey, Rob, Jo, Daniel, Keith, Jan, Peter, Guy, Dave and our webmaster, Jim the Bubble), coming from as far afield as Australia (who we beat in the Ashes), comprised four groups each containing four contestants.

After a brief spell of confusion we were right into it and the floor was soon awash with decimated conker fragments. Microphone commentary, of a generally high standard throughout, was shared by event referee Dom and an increasingly inebriated Peter Clancy. The initial group stage saw less experienced contestants coming to grips with the complex Laws of the game.

The first non-conker-to-conker decimation by 'Stampsies' (Law 36 Subsection 3c) was delivered by a delirious Tim to a clearly distressed Jo, who might have been served better by saying "No Stampsies"*. This starkly demonstrated to all the roller-coaster emotions of the game. Other highlights were the play of Elke, who was the only unbeaten player in the group stage, the supremely tactical (i.e. long) game between Cam and Audrey, and an inordinately long telephone converstion by Guy, which delayed the completion of the group stage. After the round-robin, eight had to go.

The quarter finals saw the first dream fixture, a 'Spouse in the House' affair between Cam (US) and Ade (ENG) in which the American triumphed. Early crackage was skillfully exploited by Dom (ENG) as he beat Tim (ENG) in the second match, an all-England (who won the Ashes) affair. Elke (AUT) suffered her first defeat, eliminated at the hands of an increasingly confident Martina (AUT) in the local Derby. The last quarter saw an aggressive Rob (ENG) take out a somewhat bemused Daniel (GER). Bring on the semi's.

The tension was bearable as the draw for the semi-finals was made using the Internationally ratified but complex First-Letter-Of-Name-On-Scrap-Of-Paper method. A girl-on-girl affair, between Cam and Martina, and the Chav-on-Chav encounter of Dom and Rob ensured a battle of the sexes in the final. Both semi-finals were to see moments of high drama and not inconsiderable physical pain. The girls game was a deeply tactical affair, with both players frequently threatening to hit their opponents conker before skillfully adjusting their shots so as to narrowly miss but frighten the opposing nut. Peter's commentary lifted the crowd during passages of play that were strictly for the purist. Martina won the end game but not after delivering a compound fracture of the hand to Cam as the latter tried to protect her conker from 'Stampsies'(*).

The lads game was always likely to draw a big crowd to watch the Midlands vs. The North clash. Differing styles were apparent, Rob using his height and aggresion to attack the top of his opponents conker, and Dom favouring the tactic of peering unendingly at his conker every time the bastard was hit. The game was fairly evenly balanced when Dom lost his grip and Rob pounced for 'Stampsies'. A counter shout of 'No Stampsies' by Dom looked to be ignored as the floored nut received a critical shoeing. Although Dom's conker remained on the string, the writing was on the floor and it was all over shortly after. Dom was left with a sour taste in the mouth as he realised his dream was dead for a year. Rob didn't give a shit. He was there with a chance to adorn the Garland of Conkers, to lift the slightly abstract Conker Cup and to win the not-inconsiderable purse of 24 euros.

To fully highlight the magnitude of the event, Peter did what any of us would have done in his place - he dimmed the main lights and turned the red spotlight on. An increasingly pissed crowd looked on with anticipation and mild envy as the finalists downed a free half pint, a Law (41 subsection 2g) recently introduced to the Styrian game. It was a short affair taking little more than a minute or so, although to the contestants it must have seemed like a lifetime. In a blur of string, conker and emotion Martina had done it, she had done what hundreds of thousands of children dream of, she became a Conker legend. The crowd went madder and cheered and shouted, mainly for more drink.

The official event was bought to a close with Dom presenting the Garland and Conker Cup to his wife, a deserving Champion. Martina returned to the bar and spent her winnings on a round of schnaps for all competitors except Peter who had one anyway. And that was it, the end of the first conker championship."

There will be a conker championship on the second Sunday in October every year from now on. Hope to see you all there. Tim

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e-mail: [email protected]