7 things etched on your brain if you went to middle school in Doncaster in the late 80s

If your conkers came straight off the tree, you were doing it wrong.
If your conkers came straight off the tree, you were doing it wrong.

They were the best of times, they were the worst of times - but if you were there, here are seven things you'll still remember.

1. Nobody played tennis, but everybody had a Head bag

Head bags: as used by Andre Agassi, and you. For some reason.

Head bags: as used by Andre Agassi, and you. For some reason.

Quite how an obscure company that made bags for ski equipment and tennis players became the must-have brand around Donny schoolyards is lost in the annals of history, but the fact was that anyone who was anyone had a Head bag. If it was anything like ours its every surface will have been defaced with biro within days, much to your parents’ outrage.

2. Drain covers were for playing marbles on

Now, we’re not saying that today’s kids lack imagination. But back in our day we had to make own entertainment, and the drains in the playground made perfect arenas for gladiatorial combat as cat's eye and milky fought it out for schoolyard supremacy.

We somehow doubt this still goes on today what with health and safety ruling the roost. It’s political correctness gone mad!

The Wembley Stadium of the marbles world.

The Wembley Stadium of the marbles world.

3. That day a dog came into the playground

No explanation needed. You remember this, and it was the best day ever.

4. Epic games of football played with a crushed Coke can

After that time someone accidentally broke a window and balls were banned in the playground, people had to improvise. By the time the ban was lifted, it was almost a shame to go back to playing with a ball after months spent honing the unique skills needed to lob the keeper with a crushed can. Next goal wins.

These things had their ups and downs.

These things had their ups and downs.

READ MORE: 10 things that prove you're from Donny

5. Everyone went mad for yo-yos, twice

Coca-Cola branded yo-yos, at that. The second time, they came with a “professional” variant. Nobody really knew the difference, but everybody said they could see they were better.

6. The secret recipe for a winning conker

If your conker went straight off the tree and onto the string, you were going to get annihilated. Everyone had a foolproof way to cheat at conkers, whether it was soaking them in vinegar, putting them in the microwave for ten minutes or leaving a box of them on a sunny windowsill to dry out for an entire year. As a result conkers was a brilliant, unpredictable sport that made the Russian athletics team look like paragons of virtue.

7. That summer when everyone skipped five school years

Kids these days - and, for that matter, many of their parents - just take for granted that school years go from 1 all the way up to 11 - or 13, if you stick around for A Levels. It’s a simple, logical system. Surely it was always that way? But we remember the good old days, when moving up from first school to middle school meant going back into First Year. And then when you moved up to comprehensive school, guess what? Back to First Year again. That all changed in September 1990 when an entire generation of kids went back to school to find they’d skipped straight from second year into Year 7.