Rob storms into the top 8 with a dominant win in London

London 2022: champ Rob collects his trophy from hosts George and Fiona

Last weekend, FOCAL finally returned to London for the first time since 2019 as George Armstrong and Fiona Titcombe teamed up to put on an event for us, with 52 players coming along to take part.

In the end, none of them could provide an answer to the unstoppable force of Rob Foster, who comfortably dispatched seven top-tier opponents to take the big prize (a Big Ben trophy and a Beefeater bobblehead, no less!) and displace Countdown Series 81 champion James Haughton from the top 8 in the current FOCAL League Table.

After the pre-event festivities had been enjoyed (some tackled a life-sized Monopoly game on Friday afternoon, some attended An Evening of Unnecessary Detail at Bloomsbury Theatre on Friday evening, and some tackled the Wormwood Scrubs parkrun on Saturday morning), we were ready to begin the anagramming.

The first round saw some big name match-ups and some even bigger scores! Rob’s haul of 95 against ZoomDown Series 4 Champion Rachael Montgomery was a portent of things to come. After a hard-fought second round five players remained unbeaten. But four of them would fall in the third and final round, leaving only Rob undefeated as a wild Conor Travers appeared to snatch the second spot in the final after very impressive third round wins against Martin Thomas and star of the current series of Countdown: Dan Byrom.

London 2022: Bradley, Ronan, and Cal enjoy the gameplay

Elsewhere in the field there were strong finishes from Andres Sanchez, who travelled all the way from America to be here (!), Ronan Higginson who came in fourth as the youngest player at the event (remember the name: Ronan is sure to be a star of Countdown in the near future), and reigning Countdown champion Ahmed Mohamed, who finished in third place upon his first co:event appearance for 9 years!

But the final was to be the clash of titans as Conor attempted to do what nobody else had been able to do so far on the day: beat Rob. Unfortunately for Conor, it wasn’t to be. Perhaps Rob had unnerved him in the pre-match staredown, but he fell to a rare letters round defeat early on as Rob beat him with the excellent spot of MUONIUMS. Rob’s lead eventually grew to 20 points heading in to the final numbers round, but Conor managed to win it to give himself half a chance of snatching his second tiebreak victory of the day. Unfortunately for him though, Rob was just as quick as he had been all day on the conundrums, and unscrambled ANCILLARY at lightning speed to seal his well-deserved event win.

London 2022: Conor suddenly realises he has to play Rob in the final

After a post-event Pizza Express and trip to the pub, and a Crystal Maze experince for some on the Sunday, we all headed home with another event in the books. Rob’s masterclass earns him a spot in the top 8 of the current League Table as we look ahead to our next event in the North East on 14th May. See you there!

London 2022: Rachael, Adam, Darren, Steven, and Coral hit the pub
Post-London standings

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