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There's some grim news today for those kids who are still allowed to play conkers, albeit in full body armour with helmet and visor: the crap summer weather has caused a "real shortage of serviceable conkers".

Keith Flett of the Campaign For Real Conkers has warned that conkers are dropping before they've had a chance to ripen in the sun, meaning they're pretty well useless.

He said: "Normally conkers games would be in full swing by now but there is a real shortage of serviceable conkers.

"The conkers are nowhere near ripe enough yet and people won't be able to get their practice in. When you whack a conker before it is ripe it will crumble to bits."

Quite how the emergency will hit the World Conker Championships, scheduled for 10 October in Ashton, Northants, remains to be seen.

Flett advised those determined to get their hands on some decent conkers to "travel to Wales or the south-west of England, where the weather has been better", the Sun explains.

The paper notes that killjoy schools have in recent years moved to prevent the terrible, crippling injuries which were previously part and parcel of a solid game of conkers.

It concludes: "Some schools have forced pupils to wear goggles while playing." ®

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