Two months on from our 2019 finals in Wolverhampton, FOCAL returned from a winter break with a curtain-raising double event in a Lincoln last weekend.
The weekend began with a darts tournament in the Fox and Hounds pub on Friday evening, where 16 avid anagrammers chucked arrows at (or, in some cases, five feet above) a board until only two remained: Conor and Mark, who are clearly very multi-talented chaps. Some folk just have it all. In the end, it was Mark who claimed the victory.
Saturday morning saw 10 Countdowners descend on the inaugural Doddington Hall parkrun, located near the event venue and hotel of choice. From debut parkrunner Chris to running veterans Toby and Tim, all did well and had a great time, representing Countdown on the parkrun scene (time to start a FOCAL running club, anyone?)
Dart-throwing, running and drinking (mostly) put on hold for a few hours, it was time for COLIN XVI. Incredibly, this was the 16th consecutive year that host Ben Wilson would be welcoming us to Lincoln. This amazing feat of longevity proves two important things: a) co:events have stood the test of time, and b) COLIN is old enough to be Tracey’s son.
Conundrums have always been important in the crunch matches at COLIN, as you can see above with a mind blowing dead heat between Tom Carey and Callum Todd!
After three rounds of Countdown matches, Series 73 champ Jonathan Wynn stood alone at the top of the 46 player table with a perfect record of six wins from six games. His opponent would be Series 66 king and the most decorated player in Countdown history (as in titles, not sequins – sorry Jacob and Jen) Jack Worsley, who was hoping to extend his record haul of COLIN crowns to four.
The two former FOCAL champions played perfectly in the final, not dropping a single point before the crucial conundrum. When that was revealed it was Jonathan, true to form, who unravelled PRESHADOW first, claiming his first COLIN title.
After some eating, drinking, quizzing, and board gaming in the pub on Saturday night, 34 players returned to take part in the Hangover event on Sunday. In this truncated format only two rounds of matches were played, after which we had four players on perfect records.
Unfortunately for FOCAL’s 2019 finalists, Callum and Bradley didn’t get a place in the final as they didn’t have enough points. That honour instead fell to the previous day’s runner-up Jack and the current on-screen champion James Haughton (amazingly the first ever reigning on-screen Countdown champ to reach a Lincoln final!)
This time it was Jack who emerged victorious from the final. It just wouldn’t be like him to spend a whole weekend in Lincoln and not come back with a Countdown trophy!
So after our first two events of the year, here is the FOCAL league table for 2020: [link]
Unsurprisingly it is Jack who heads the list with two finals out of two, earning him 1928 points under our new scoring system. Last year’s FOCAL champ Callum follows close behind, having amassed 1850 points from his pair of 3rd place finishes.
The next batch of FOCAL ranking points will be available at our Manchester event on February 15th, which is still taking entrants! Have a look here for all the details and sign up if you haven’t already! We’ll see you there.