'Athletes' prepare for pie-noon at Wigan's World Pie-Eating Championships

The 27th World Pie-Eating Championships return to Wigan on Wednesday and they are being billed as a heavyweight score-settler.

Reigning global title-holder Martin Appleton-Clare and challenger Ian Gerrard are shaping up for a “pie noon” showdown at Harry’s Bar on Wallgate, with a supporting undercard of 2020 wannabes.

The move comes after builder Gerrard, from Wigan, came within milliseconds of toppling multiple champ Appleton-Clare in the 2019 contest.

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“There’s been some contention that we make up the rules as we go along, but that’s not true. We consistently change parameters according to committee meetings held well in advance on Tuesday night,” said Pie Master Tony Callaghan.

“With pie-mouth technology in 2018 we could see that it was almost too close to call between these two lads.

“Ian felt he’d won, but pie-oneering replay technology, the Video Assistant Umpire, gave it to Martin.

“With such high stakes, we have to move with the technolologically times, so we’ll have three lads with phones filming UPE27, and they can only have two pints before the contest.

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“We decided to have a very pure contest this year, with the two stand-outs from 2018 settling the score for the Bradley Piggins Trophy.

“If we are to be taken seriously on the world stage, then I can only see technology playing a greater and greater part.

“For instance, the scales and measuring cups we use for making pies are currently from a pound shop, but I think we may have to invest in the latest precision equipment from Asda, or even John Lewis, to match the Argos bathroom scales we’ll be using to weigh in the two contenders for UPE 27.

“However, the committee has ruled that a new regulation banning removal of clothing before the weigh-in is introduced.”

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The cooked dimensions of the official pie are a diameter of 12cm and a depth of 3.5cm, and a pie wall angle from base to top of between zero and 15 degrees.

In 2018, then reigning title-holder Martin Appleton-Clare stuffed down a chicken and veg pie in just 19.58 seconds to lift the Bradley Piggins Trophy.

The format of the contest changes a little this year. Noon tomorrow sees first a contenders weigh-in, followed by the (undercard) general competition with the Appleton-Clare/Gerrard clash providing the climax.

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