A school librarian narrowly missed out on being crowned a conker queen at the World Conker Championships at the weekend.
Janine Randall, of Sutton-on-Trent, was beaten in the ladies’ final by animal charity worker Julie Freeman, of Rutland.
They played for five minutes without a result and went on to the next stage, where they were each given nine shots.
With the game still tied it went to a sudden death smash-off, which Janine lost after being the first one to miss her opponent’s conker.
“She was unlucky,” said her husband, Ian Randall, who also took part in the competition.
“She lost by one strike.”
Julie went on to become the overall champion after beating the conker king — Chelsea Pensioner John Riley, 85, in the grand final.
Mr and Mrs Randall have been taking part in the competition for four years. Last year Ian was a quarter-finalist.
'We just turn up and get on with it'
“We enjoy it because it is something different and a great day out,” he said.
“We don’t practise. We just turn up and get on with it. It is a fun day and raises lots of money for charity.”
The competition at Southwick, Northamptonshire, was attended by thousands of conker fans.
They watched 230 competitors from 14 countries, including New Zealand, the USA and Russia.
More than 3,000 conkers were collected for the competition with a fresh one being used for each game.
“It’s down to the luck of the draw,” Ian said.
The couple are planning to take part in a similar competition at Peebles in Scotland a week on Saturday.