CoLeeds report: Champion of Champions Dylan Taylor continues blistering 2017 form by winning another much-enjoyed event

Co:Leeds 2: This Time It’s Psoralen: Champion of Champions Dylan Taylor continues blistering 2017 form by winning another much-enjoyed event

After a successful maiden event last year, attended by 30 people, Co:Leeds was back for the difficult second album in 2017: with it, we saw the return of its matchday programmes and profanity-adorned numbers cards.

A change of venue from the previous year saw an increased attendance of 35 descend upon the Cardigan Centre in Leeds, which sports a function room reminiscent of venues past used at Lincoln events.

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There were four event newcomers at last year’s Co:Leeds and, giving testament to the success of the 2016 event, they all returned in 2017. Winner Innis wasn’t there to defend his title though, so a new champion was to be crowned this day.

Despite suffering severe delays to their train services and missing their first games as a result, latecomers Conrad Teixeira and Co:Manchester champion Stephen Read managed to find time to replay their missed games in Round 1 and catch up with the rest of the contestants. Round 1 also saw Countdown Series 73 champion Jonathan Wynn set the bar for the rest of the day, scoring an incredible 101 by spotting three nine-letter words back to back, known in the community as an ‘ambulance’.

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After a break for lunch and some quizzing, we resumed play for a second round of anagramming. A highlight of round 2 was Chris Marshall making a remarkable double-conundrum comeback against his opponent Dinos Sfyris, going into the conundrum ten points behind but solving it and then solving a tie-break conundrum too to take the win. When the dust settled after round 2, with four games played by all, only Jack Worsley, Dylan Taylor, and Tom Chafer-Cook had emerged with their 100% records intact, setting the three of them up for a very strong top table in the third and final round.

On that final top table, Jack Worsley and Dylan Taylor both won their first games to leave them pit against each other in the last heat game of the day to decide who would have the only unbeaten record of the day. After a tight battle, Dylan was five points behind going into the conundrum but correctly unscrambled AGREENBUS to find SUBGENERA and take a 62-57 win.

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Before we went into the semi-finals, the last round of quizzing saw a tie at the top with team Soft-Toed Emojis – made up of Thomas Carey, Jamie McNeill, Ian Peek, and Bradley Horrocks – matching the 11 points scored by Them Over There – comprising Dinos Sfyris, James Robinson, Nathan Pace, and Katherine Webb – setting up a quiz final to be played just before the Countdown final.

Back to the anagramming, the semi-finals saw our top seed Dylan face off against Jamie McNeill, who despite having not attended an event for over two years, had put in a very strong performance to make fourth seed. Dylan and Jamie had played once before that day, with Dylan winning on a crucial conundrum. This time the only thing that changed was the margin of the result as Dylan had his victory wrapped up before the conundrum this time, sealing a place in the final.

In the other semi-final, second seed Ben Wilson – Series 46 champion, COLIN host, and all-round hero of the community – faced off against third seed Jack Worsley. Having both amassed five wins over the course of the day, only one point separated these two champions, with Ben’s 383 taking a slight advantage over Jack’s 382. As you might expect after such similar heat scores, the game was close enough to go a crucial conundrum – NOCOATING – which Jack correctly unscrambled to CONTAGION to book a rematch with Dylan in the final.

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But before that we had to settle the matter of the quiz contest, as our two teams were inseparable in the heat games. The final was an excruciatingly close contest, going right down to the last question with everything up for grabs, but in the end Them Over There emerged victorious, much to the delight of team member James Robinson, whose James Bond knowledge helped secure the victory.

The quality of the final was evident right from the introductions, with the current Countdown Champion of Champions and COLIN champ Dylan facing up against last year’s FOCAL champion and by far the most decorated player in Co:event history Jack.

Livestreamed and tweeted by a technologically savvy pairing of Jen Steadman and Matty Artell, the final went to a crucial conundrum with Dylan holding a six-point lead. Underscoring his dominance of the event, it was Dylan yet again who unscrambled TWINHOUND to WHODUNNIT and claim the Co:Leeds 2: This Time It’s Psoralen crown.

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With a perfect eight wins from eight games, including eight conundrum solves (all very fast as well, I believe) and a max game or two along the way, Dylan truly bossed this event and couldn’t possibly have been a more deserving winner.

He has now attended three FOCAL events in 2017, winning two and coming third in the other, even then missing out on the final only by two points! With such strong form Dylan is sure to be a favourite at any further events he plays in this year.

But most importantly of all, 35 people had a great day in Leeds and hopefully we will see many of them back next year, amongst some newcomers too.

Callum Todd

 

Author: Jen Mandates

Left-handed (hence the username) Countdown queen and wannabe journalist who loves football, European travel and pet gerbils.

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