Countdown in Waterford report: The Afterword

The perfect venue, in the perfect setting… but then, as proof of the existence of a piss-taking God, it got plonked right in the back-arse of rural Ireland, making for a very hard sell to a fanbase that is largely UK-based.

When the news came in that there were no flights operating out of Waterford Airport, one attendee expected there might be maybe 3 participants if we were lucky. In the end it was 7 times that number. 21 people found their way to Woodstown to play some Countdown in the Summer heat.

1. Of the 21 participants, there were 10 female and 11 male.
2. Seven players had attended at least one co:event before.
3. We had 28 players signed up.
There were NINE last minute dropouts.
There were TWO last minute additions. Mike and Elaine were originally going to spectate only, but fair play, they stepped in to compensate for the unexpected drop in numbers.
4. One UK-based player attended.
5. Just four of the participants would describe themselves as “Apterites”.
6. Aside from the four Apterites, only Shane had appeared on the show and won a teapot.
7. Of the 21, eight stayed over in the dormitories.

Champ Tom with Carol Sinnott’s very impressive Countdown clock cake!

1. There were one or two culture shocks. Alan remarked, “We’re not in Dublin now!” on hearing that the security arrangements were a little looser than anticipated. Also, in relation to the laid back nature of things, Thomas at one point mused, “I think I’m too English for this…”

2. Turns out Eddy is some man on the guitar. Properly talented. He can do a mean David Bowie, and could jam along with most stuff.

3. At the very end of Saturday night we managed to cobble together a thoroughly enjoyable version of “Matchstalk Men and Matchstalk Cats and Dogs”. All we were missing was Mark Mills to row in with the “Big ship sails…” countermelody.

4. Saturday was an excellent day for Co:gender-balance, as around half the participants were female, and Hazel became the first female Co-event finalist.

5. Food on the day included lunch [loaded potato skins, broccoli salad, cous cous salad, pasta & blue cheese salad, bean salad, tossed green salad], dinner [garlic & sweet chilli chicken, with rice and/or chips], Carol’s wonderful Countdown Clock Cake, plenty of crisps & chocolate… and free flowing tea, coffee and soft drinks. No-one went hungry anyway!

6. Eddy did a great job of sending over messages so the final could be live-tweeted by FOCAL, but there are 2 things that need to be added in. Just to mention firstly that there was a touch of culinary commentary in the conundrum scramble. It was EGGSARPOO… and since they smell like fart, I feel it is fair. Also, the final numbers game was solved within the 30s by one of the spectators (Kevin Jackson).

7. We adopted P!nk’s “So what?” as theme tune for the day, played each time a 9-letter word was available in the selection. (It didn’t take too much in the way of mental acrobatics to imagine she was singing “Co:Wat?!” instead.)

8. “Word of the day” would to go to Hazel Drury for the darrenic 8, BASENJIS.

9. Everything mainly went to plan, but there were two major errors. One was in the final when GALIPOTS was mistakenly allowed, only for the 8pts to be retrospectively deducted. The final score was Thomas Carey 101 – 82 Hazel Drury. The other was that the scores for the final round of games went unrecorded… so had to be collected during the days after the event.

Hazel, Tom and Gerry, the top 3 on the day.

“The presence of so many local people helped add to the event.”
Gerry Tynan

“Is there a prize for last place? Think I may be in with a good chance there!”
Clodagh Irish

“Now I’ve won, I should probably pay the entry fee!”
Thomas Carey

“I liked how there were trophies for the winners of each of the 3 groups. The atmosphere was great, and I liked how there was music when there was a 9, making it more exciting.”
Hazel Drury

“The accommodation was fantastic, the food was amazing, and the price was unbeatable.”
Eddy Byrne

“At some stages I was in hysterics and couldn’t stop laughing, sorry. Well, I’m not really cos the laugh made the day for us…”
Carol Hayes Sinnott

“Hey, I just found NEMO!”
Mike McDermott

And now to the key part of the report… What were the standings?

The standings from the first half of the day, which determined the final stage groups, were:


And the final stages, after the group quarter finals, semi finals and final were thus:


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