CONKERS might have been outlawed in some UK schools, but it's still being played in Manx schools and this weekend it's hoped a competition will boost the playground game's profile.

Braaid Young Men's Club is staging its annual conker competition on Saturday, starting at 7pm, and it's open to all children and there'll even be the chance for mums and dads to have a go too.

Organiser Sue Howe said: 'We are trying to maintain this traditional sport and the committee was out last weekend collecting conkers.

'We will provide the conkers for competitors, ready stringed and a new conker will be used by each competitor in each round of the knock-out competition.

'This means that no one is disadvantaged by using a cracked or damaged conker and no one is able to use their own baked or vinegar-treated model.

'The aim of the contestants is the important thing. Boys and girls compete in the same competition, which is a trophy presented in memory of Mary Summerton, who was a great worker for BYMC, and a separate fun event is run for the adults.

'Everyone is welcome to come and join in the fun. Refreshments will be available and it is 1 to enter the competition.'

A conker is the seed of the horse chestnut tree, a hard brown nut found in a prickly casing which fall from trees when they are ripe during the autumn months.

To prepare one for a game, you need to make a hole through the middle of the conker and thread a strong piece of string about 25cms long through the hole and tie a knot at one end.

Over the last couple of years, the game of conkers has been banned in some schools in the UK by head teachers afraid of being sued by parents in the event of an accident.

But the Department of Education says it hasn't banned the game and believes it is still played in some Manx schools.

While it's certainly not as popular as it was with previous generations, there's still a world conker championship held every year on the second Sunday in October on the village green at Ashton, Northamptonshire.

Braaid Young Men's Club is situated on the right hand side of the road just through the Braaid crossroads on the way to Foxdale.

For more information about the competition, contact Sue on 852809.

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