It’s a centuries-old tradition in British autumn playgrounds – the conker fight.

And although some schools have made headlines to ban the practice, Worstead Elementary School has taken a different approach.

Students and staff roll up their sleeves for a full conker tournament – battle against each other to find out which conker is stronger and to be declared the “conker-er”.


Hanah Schutte and Rowan Alderton playing conkers at Worstead Primary School.
– Credit: Danielle Booden

Nick Read, principal, said: “It teaches children many life skills – finding the best conkers to use, measure and cut the string, there is all the math involved and the older students help the most. youth.

“There’s always a little risk of bruising your fingers, but that is more than made up for by the fun of playing and competing, and it teaches kids that some things are risky.


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“It’s a real playground game that kids don’t play at home, and I understand it’s only in Britain that conkers are played.

“It’s one of our seasonal traditions that seems to be slowly fading, but it’s really good fun in a good mood.”


Luca Williams, Hanah Schutte and Rowan Alderton playing conkers at Worstead Primary School.  Photo:

Luca Williams, Hanah Schutte and Rowan Alderton playing conkers at Worstead Primary School.
– Credit: Danielle Booden

Mr Read said the school started hosting conker fights in 2018 when he noticed a horse chestnut tree towering over the playground.

“I realized most of the kids didn’t even know what they were, so I showed them how to play the game,” he said.

“Since then we’ve had the pandemic so we couldn’t have had it last year, but some of the older kids remember the last time we had the tournament. “


Kamilla Stark playing conkers at Worstead Primary School.  Photo: Danielle Booden

Kamilla Stark playing conkers at Worstead Primary School.
– Credit: Danielle Booden

In the game, each child has a conker attached to the end of a string, and the pairs take turns trying to hit their opponent’s conker.

The winner of each fight gets the points accumulated by the conker they beat, until there is only one conker left with all the points.

Popular methods of strengthening conkers such as soaking in vinegar, baking or painting with nail polish are prohibited.

It is also not allowed to shout “bells” after a conker falls to the ground – which allows a player to smash an opponent’s conker by tapping on it.

Mr Read said all 113 children at the school would have the chance to participate and the tournament winners would be rewarded at a meeting after the midterm break.


Guinevere Gilligan and Noah Thompson playing conkers at Worstead Elementary School.  Photo: Danielle B

Guinevere Gilligan and Noah Thompson playing conkers at Worstead Elementary School.
– Credit: Danielle Booden


Noah Thompson and Luther Lewis playing conkers at Worstead Elementary School.  Photo: Danielle Booden

Noah Thompson and Luther Lewis playing conkers at Worstead Elementary School.
– Credit: Danielle Booden


Noah Thompson and Luther Lewis playing conkers at Worstead Elementary School.  Photo: Danielle Booden

Noah Thompson and Luther Lewis playing conkers at Worstead Elementary School.
– Credit: Danielle Booden


Noah Thompson playing conkers at Worstead Elementary School.  Photo: Danielle Booden

Noah Thompson playing conkers at Worstead Elementary School.
– Credit: Danielle Booden


Guinevere Gilligan and Noah Thompson playing conkers at Worstead Elementary School.  Photo: Danielle B

Guinevere Gilligan and Noah Thompson playing conkers at Worstead Elementary School.
– Credit: Danielle Booden


Ash Hall-Wood playing conkers at Worstead Primary School.  Photo: Danielle Booden

Ash Hall-Wood playing conkers at Worstead Primary School.
– Credit: Danielle Booden


Oscar Tuthill with his broken conker at Worstead Primary School.  Photo: Danielle Booden

Oscar Tuthill with his broken conker at Worstead Primary School.
– Credit: Danielle Booden


Isla Marjoram playing conkers at Worstead Primary School.  Photo: Danielle Booden

Isla Marjoram playing conkers at Worstead Primary School.
– Credit: Danielle Booden


Hannah Schutte playing conkers at Worstead Primary School.  Photo: Danielle Booden

Hannah Schutte playing conkers at Worstead Primary School.
– Credit: Danielle Booden


Luca Williams playing conkers at Worstead Primary School.  Photo: Danielle Booden

Luca Williams playing conkers at Worstead Primary School.
– Credit: Danielle Booden


Ash Hall-Wood playing conkers at Worstead Primary School.  Photo: Danielle Booden

Ash Hall-Wood playing conkers at Worstead Primary School.
– Credit: Danielle Booden


Izzy Williams playing conkers at Worstead Primary School.  Photo: Danielle Booden

Izzy Williams playing conkers at Worstead Primary School.
– Credit: Danielle Booden


Ginny Wall playing conkers at Worstead Primary School.  Photo: Danielle Booden

Ginny Wall playing conkers at Worstead Primary School.
– Credit: Danielle Booden


Belle Wilson playing conkers at Worstead Primary School.  Photo: Danielle Booden

Belle Wilson playing conkers at Worstead Primary School.
– Credit: Danielle Booden


Elsie Wilson playing conkers at Worstead Primary School.  Photo: Danielle Booden

Elsie Wilson playing conkers at Worstead Primary School.
– Credit: Danielle Booden


Mr. Read and Luther Lewis playing conkers at Worstead Primary School.  Photo: Danielle Booden

Mr. Read and Luther Lewis playing conkers at Worstead Primary School.
– Credit: Danielle Booden


Rowan Alderton plays conkers at Worstead Primary School.  Photo: Danielle Booden

Rowan Alderton playing conkers at Worstead Primary School.
– Credit: Danielle Booden


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