Focus: They do what ...? Byways of the charity world - The English Tiddlywinks Association

Mathew Little

Any organisation that defines its objectives as "co-ordinating winking activities in the UK" and which publishes a journal by the name of Winking World must have its tongue located in the general proximity of its cheek - and a reliable spell-checker.

The English Tiddlywinks Association gamely tries to convince the world that "it's not just about flicking counters into a cup", but is "a complex game of strategy and tactics".

But history tells a different story. The modern game was established by Cambridge undergraduates in 1955. The Duke of Edinburgh got involved and was accused of cheating. A grudge match resulted in which he nominated the Goons as 'Royal Champions', but Cambridge easily beat Milligan et al.

Typically, the Americans got involved and "shocked complacent Britons" by winning the first transatlantic contest in 1972. But England comfortably defeated the US in the last match in 2005 - it makes you proud to have got that double first at Cambridge.

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