FOCAL made its debut at the Lancashire coast on Saturday 13th October when 24 entrants gathered at the Cleveleys WMC, as Mark Mills switched roles for the first time from competitor to compere.
Everyone played six 9-round games using the Lincoln table format and by late afternoon, local man Jack Worsley was undefeated returning six wins and 415 points. Bradley Horrocks, from Bolton, was next on five wins with 409 points, almost 50 points ahead of Tom Carey who too had only lost once.
And so, Jack would face Bradley in the Grand Final — another 9-round match, this time played in front of a captive audience. Host Mark Mills took notes and gives us his report…
Grand Final – recap
James Robinson hosted this first Blackpool final and my wife Tracey took up the role of lexicographer. Bradley was Player 1 and Jack would be Player 2.
After the handshakes and photos, it was onto the game and Round 1 we had two EIGHTS — well, two 6’s actually, and scores opened at 6-6.
Round 2, a winning round for Jack who spotted STEADILY whilst Bradley could only offer DISABLE so Jack moved ahead 14-6.
Round 3 and both players offered the same word, NETSUKE, which is an ornament worn in Japan. Jack now led 21-13.
Onto the numbers now and Bradley chose 4 large: 100 75 50 25 2 1 for a target of 754. Both players could only manage one away, both offering 755 for 7 points. Example method: 151×5 by (100+50+1)x((75/25)+2). As it goes, the target of 754 was impossible. Half-time score, Bradley 20-28 Jack.
Onto the second half, and the fifth round, both players offered the same 8 in WANTONED taking the scores to 36-28 in Jack’s favour.
Round 6, our finalists had different offerings for once but it was only one letter different — Bradley knew his ONIONS and Jack opted for UNIONS. Score BH 34-42 JW.
Onto round 7, the last letters game, it was back to the same offering for both players with the word GLAIVE — a type of sword. Letters now done, scores at BH 40-48 JW.
Round 8, the last numbers game and two large were chosen: 100 75 10 7 2 1 for a target of 325. Example method: (75×7)-(100×2). All too easy for both of our players and now with the score of 50-58 in favour of Jack, our first Blackpool Final conundrum would be crucial. It took Jack less than 2 seconds to solve the spread of HCTYONPAS, answering SYCOPHANT, so the Blackpool boy becomes the first winner here with a score of 68-50.
Have to say, I really enjoyed running this event and look forward to next year which is already set in stone for Saturday 12th October 2019.
See you all again next year!