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Commonwealth Games 2002

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Sunday, 14 October, 2001, 17:18 GMT 18:18 UK
Battle of the sexes ruled out
Players practice for the World Championships at Ashton in Northamptonshire
The men's and women's winners cannot play each other
Organisers of the Conker World Championships have refused to allow the winners of the men's and women's events to take part in a play-off.

Despite requests from both players, officials would not allow the match to go ahead at Ashton in Northamptonshire.

Restaurant manager Celine Parachou, 25, won the women's title beating more than 90 other competitors.

Her male counterpart, Neil Fraser, 47, took the men's title beating Scottish public relations consultant, Damon Statt in the final.

When both Mr Fraser and Ms Parachou said they would be willing to play each other, officials of the Ashton Conker Club said the rules would not allow such a contest.

'Last male bastion'

Richard Howard, club chairman, said: "We don't allow it. We hold a men's and ladies' championship. Those are the rules."

He added: "They don't have the men's and ladies' champions playing each other at Wimbledon, so why should we?"

The 37th annual championship attracted nearly 400 entrants with competitors travelling from the USA, New Zealand, Poland, Austria and Ireland.

Mr Fraser, from Oundle, Northamptonshire, said he was happy to play Ms Parachou.

"I think that would be a good idea. Maybe this is the last bastion of male supremacy.

"I wouldn't be confident of winning at all. To be honest, the whole thing is luck."

On Saturday, Irishman Eamonn Dooley, from Freshford, County Kilkenny, attempted to secure himself a spot in the Guinness Book of Records for smashing conkers.

In an hour, against eight other players, he managed to smash 306 conkers.

See also:

13 Oct 01 | England
Smashing time with conkers
03 Jul 01 | UK
Conker trees saved from axe
08 Dec 00 | Education
Conkers hit by legal fears
12 Oct 98 | UK
Germany conkers the world
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