Countdown in King’s Lynn 2016 was won by Stephen Read, who had an astonishing comeback in the final to beat runner-up Callum Todd.
Mike’s report…: “The second Countdown in King’s Lynn tournament took place on Saturday May 28th and saw 15 players gathered together for some verbal jousting and a bit of social banter.
After a meeting of the early arrivals in the local ‘Spoons on the Friday night, the event proper kicked off at the “new for 2016” venue at the historic Thoresby College (no longer a college) the following morning. With the start for the first round of games set at 11.30, there was plenty of time for anyone who hadn’t stayed overnight to get there (and also time for the energetic types to compete in the local Parkrun).
With old and new faces met up again – or for the first time – it was then time for Round 1. The first of three rounds of Lincoln/Edinburgh-style Countdown, with two players competing in a nine-round game while the other hosts (which always seems to encourage lots of chat, even if it sometimes slows down the gameplay!), ended at around 12.50 and saw Callum, Oli and James winning both their games and earning the opportunity to compete on the top table for Round 2, which would start after the lunch break.
After trawling the streets of King’s Lynn in search of food (judging by Facebook posts, one happy band ended up in the Baguette Stop in the High Street, while Matty found some vinyl in the treasure trove that is The Record Store), Round 2 kicked off just before two o’clock. Matching the format of the first round, players now paired (tripled?) up based on their earlier performances, but avoiding re-matches (thanks to the programming skills of the one and only Graeme Cole), this second set of games took the afternoon up to ten past three, when it was time for some (more) tea and cake (lovingly baked by my better half).
After the short refreshment interlude, the top table for the third and final round then kicked off with James, Rob and Graeme on Table 1, while Heather, Callum and Stephen were close behind on Table 2. The results were in by a quarter-to-five and it seemed we were set for a grand final between Callum Todd and recent Co-Event debutant Stephen Read, the only two people to have won five out of their six games.
After a bit of a recess and a rearrangement of the furniture, the fifteen-round game began, with Mike hosting, James in Dictionary Corner and Graeme Cole operating the computery stuff that makes the event look rather more hi-tech than it otherwise would. In addition, Matty was doing wonders with a video camera, while Jen was doing some tweeting thanks to live updates from James. Oh, the technology!
As can be seen by viewing Matty’s YouTube video, Callum was leading 79-63 with three rounds remaining, but Stephen managed to pull things back to a draw after spotting what turned out to be the first of two conundrums! Only a second into the tie-break and Stephen had buzzed to unscramble the Richard Priest-set CRYONABET and become the second Countdown in King’s Lynn champion!
After the prizegiving – and some sports event-like interviewing for the finalists from Mr Robinson – it was time to pack up and head back to the Wetherspoons for some more good value food and drink and a chance for some more word- (or not) related chat!
2017 sees the opening of the long-awaited King’s Lynn Travelodge – will this become the ‘Standard Method’ hotel for the next event? You’ll have to come along and find out!”
See the results and full final standings HERE!
Date: Saturday 28th May 2016
Venue: Thoresby College, 9 Queen St, King’s Lynn, Norfolk, PE30 1HX
Doors opened: 10.30 for 11.30 start
Presented by: Mike Brown, lusciously-eyelashed Countdown historian
Games played: 6, plus the final
Finished by: 6pm