Conkering hero puts it down to kinetic energy theory

A mathematical formula is the key to success at the World Conker Championships, the winner said yesterday.

Ray Kellock, 64, took the title at the 46th contest for the second time – saying he had perfected his "kinetic energy theory" that brought him success in 2008.

About 350 adults and 700 juniors took part in the competition today, held in Ashton, near Oundle, Northamptonshire, organisers said.

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Self-employed Mr Kellock, from Rushden, Northants, who regained the title after being knocked out in last year's semi-finals, said it was all down to the now-modified formula.

"It's design this time, it was a chance last time but it was design this time.

"It's all about potential energy, according to my son anyway, who's a Batchelor of Engineering.

"He says that it's all about kinetic energy and potential energy.

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"We only had kinetic energy two years ago and now we've got potential energy factored in too.

"It's all about how you hit it and where you hit it.

"We didn't quite perfect it last year, that's why we didn't win."

Wendy Bradford, 45, from Brixworth, Northants, said she was "stunned" to win the women's title. She said: "We've competed a few times in the past as a family, but obviously I've not done as well as this before.

"We just enjoy competing. It's a really nice day and somehow they always book the really nice weather.

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"I'll probably be back next year but I think this is the pinnacle of my achievements."

The championship was nearly derailed by a lack of conkers in the weeks running up to the annual event.

John Hadman, secretary at Ashton Conker Club, said: "There was a potential

problem when we started to

collect, normally about three weeks before. The only ones were small and few-and-far between.

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"And our usual trees, the ones we rely on, just weren't producing them.

"We started looking further afield and sent out an SOS and we've got responses from all over the country.

"But we didn't need to take them up in the end, because with the recent wind and rain we got ones coming down from trees which had not produced good ones for years.

"It's one of those vagaries of nature."

He said about 4, 000 to 5,000 people were estimated to have turned out for this year's competition, with proceeds being donated to charities for the blind and partially sighted.