Best ever televised game?

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Rhys Benjamin
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Best ever televised game?

Post by Rhys Benjamin » Thu Aug 25, 2016 6:45 pm

Everyone loves one of these "best ever X" discussions, or so I'm told.

What is, therefore, in your opinion, the best ever game(s) of televised Countdown? For whatever reason? Maybe it's Innis Carson vs Chris Davies for sheer excitement? Or a record-breaking affair like Jack Hurst vs Conor Travers, Danny Hamilton vs Julian Fell, or John Widdowson vs Jenny Haldane?
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Re: Best ever televised game?

Post by Thomas Carey » Thu Aug 25, 2016 6:52 pm

Best one I've seen in the studio (and presumably the best recent one) has got to be Ann vs Tim
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Re: Best ever televised game?

Post by Conor » Thu Aug 25, 2016 9:52 pm

For me, still nothing has quite topped the series 52 final: Paul Gallen vs Mark Tournoff.

My favourites from watching in the studio are the two 117 losing score games: Matt Shore vs Mark Tournoff and Chris Davies vs David O'Donnell, closely followed by Kirk vs Innis and Jack W vs Jono. Innis vs Chris, Jack W vs Graeme and Dylan vs Andy will be up there for almost everyone, though I knew the results of these before watching so the excitement I recall is slightly dampened.

My other favourites: Jack Welsby vs Mark Tournoff, Jono vs John Mayhew, John Brackstone vs John Mayhew, Callum Todd vs Dylan Taylor, Paul Howe vs Keith Maynard, Jack Hurst vs Jonathan Rawlinson. My favouritism is heavily weighted by the intensity of my Countdown interest, so I'll leave it to others to give more objective lists.

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Re: Best ever televised game?

Post by Jennifer Steadman » Thu Aug 25, 2016 10:13 pm

Callum v Dylan and Ann v Tim are great shouts, but it's got to be Graeme v Carl, hasn't it?* Not only beautiful for all the Graeme it featured, the twists and turns of the game itself and the climactic, breathless squeak of 'galvanise', but the general #narrative of good v evil. It's like Lord of the Rings without the fantasy twat dialogue.

30th BC was obviously great, but the consistently high number of maxes/crucials got too repetitive for any of the games to really stand out - they've all blurred into one for me. Phenomenal quality doesn't usually make a particularly memorable game, unless one of the parties is vastly overachieving relative to their general standard.

(*only started watching properly in like 2010. Might have been loads of better games back in the day but I can't judge based on a Wiki recap.)

Aside from Callum v Dylan, best game I've watched in the studio was Giles v T-Cap, even if I practically drowned the studio because I was crying so hard with pride for my boy G after the game. #healthy
Conor Travers wrote:My favourites from watching in the studio are the two 117 losing score games: Matt Shore vs Mark Tournoff and Chris Davies vs David O'Donnell
Mate, there are three 117 losing score games Image
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Re: Best ever televised game?

Post by David Williams » Thu Aug 25, 2016 11:39 pm

http://www.thecountdownpage.com/gotw-001027.htm
I can't remember one high scoring game from another, but the tension at the end of this one as you realised they were on the edge of greatness was unforgettable.

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Re: Best ever televised game?

Post by Gavin Chipper » Fri Aug 26, 2016 4:35 am

Harvey Freeman v David Trace in the Coc III final was definitely an early classic.

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Re: Best ever televised game?

Post by Gavin Chipper » Fri Aug 26, 2016 4:00 pm

Conor wrote:For me, still nothing has quite topped the series 52 final: Paul Gallen vs Mark Tournoff.

My favourites from watching in the studio are the two 117 losing score games: Matt Shore vs Mark Tournoff and Chris Davies vs David O'Donnell, closely followed by Kirk vs Innis and Jack W vs Jono. Innis vs Chris, Jack W vs Graeme and Dylan vs Andy will be up there for almost everyone, though I knew the results of these before watching so the excitement I recall is slightly dampened.

My other favourites: Jack Welsby vs Mark Tournoff, Jono vs John Mayhew, John Brackstone vs John Mayhew, Callum Todd vs Dylan Taylor, Paul Howe vs Keith Maynard, Jack Hurst vs Jonathan Rawlinson. My favouritism is heavily weighted by the intensity of my Countdown interest, so I'll leave it to others to give more objective lists.
You v Jono is up there as well.

I agree Gallen v Tournoff is a potential for greatest. Also, if you look at the games on their own merits (rather than whether it was a final), Worsley v Cole was really good. It would have made a brilliant final.

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Re: Best ever televised game?

Post by Rhys Benjamin » Fri Aug 26, 2016 10:56 pm

My favourite is very difficult but my favourite is actually for sentimental reasons as it's the earliest Countdown I still have on a VCR tape. It's a tight, tight game too: John Hastings vs Les Noble.
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Re: Best ever televised game?

Post by Mark James » Sat Aug 27, 2016 2:10 am

My first game was great but mainly because of the tie I was wearing.

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Re: Best ever televised game?

Post by Charlie Reams » Tue Aug 30, 2016 2:51 am

For me it's this: http://wiki.apterous.org/Episode_3531 . Before Chris Cummins I was only slightly interested in Countdown, seeing his episodes blew my mind.

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Re: Best ever televised game?

Post by Rob McKay » Fri Oct 14, 2016 4:36 pm

Thomas Carey wrote:Best one I've seen in the studio (and presumably the best recent one) has got to be Ann vs Tim
I agree Tom, that was an absolute cracker.

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Re: Best ever televised game?

Post by Adam Gillard » Sat Oct 15, 2016 6:35 pm

Carl WIlliams vs Graeme Cole was the best televised game I've seen live; "GALVANISE!" is a squeak that has stayed with me vividly, and vanquished semi-finalist Mark Deeks peering round from the edge of the set is an image that has stayed with me as well, cracking denouement.

Going off Charlie's post of being wowed by Chris Cummins, I remember a young lad named Kai Laddiman who really amazed me; I hadn't really watched Countdown between primary school and university, but that was when I started getting back into it.

My favourite televised game is a bit of a cheat as I've only seen it on YouTube, it also involved a young lad, the youngest to ever appear on the show I believe. A couple of bloopers in there as well in the words he declared, highly recommended viewing!

Maybe I just like young lads? Is that so wrong?
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Re: Best ever televised game?

Post by Thomas Carey » Sat Oct 15, 2016 7:16 pm

Adam Gillard wrote: My favourite televised game is a bit of a cheat as I've only seen it on YouTube, it also involved a young lad, the youngest to ever appear on the show I believe. A couple of bloopers in there as well in the words he declared, highly recommended viewing!

Maybe I just like young lads? Is that so wrong?
Coincidence thread - just before going on c4c and seeing this post, guess who i found out is going to be on some trip I signed up for tomorrow? I wasn't sure if I was going to bother but I'm definitely going now!
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Re: Best ever televised game?

Post by Jennifer Steadman » Sat Oct 15, 2016 7:21 pm

Thomas Carey wrote:
Adam Gillard wrote: My favourite televised game is a bit of a cheat as I've only seen it on YouTube, it also involved a young lad, the youngest to ever appear on the show I believe. A couple of bloopers in there as well in the words he declared, highly recommended viewing!

Maybe I just like young lads? Is that so wrong?
Coincidence thread - just before going on c4c and seeing this post, guess who i found out is going to be on some trip I signed up for tomorrow? I wasn't sure if I was going to bother but I'm definitely going now!
Get him to the COLIN Hangover so Adam can meet him! (Or meat him, given his Yewtree-esque obsession with young lads :| )
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Re: Best ever televised game?

Post by Jon O'Neill » Sun Oct 16, 2016 8:13 pm

Adam Gillard wrote:My favourite televised game is a bit of a cheat as I've only seen it on YouTube, it also involved a young lad, the youngest to ever appear on the show I believe. A couple of bloopers in there as well in the words he declared, highly recommended viewing!
I forgot how good this was. Easy to forget that he was 8.. Also completely forgot he lost the first two rounds as well. When the champion declares in round 2 to go 13-0 up she almost sounds guilty. Then he comes back and rocks it. Great times. Great series too.

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Re: Best ever televised game?

Post by Gavin Chipper » Sun Oct 16, 2016 8:33 pm

Gavin Chipper wrote:
Conor wrote:For me, still nothing has quite topped the series 52 final: Paul Gallen vs Mark Tournoff.

My favourites from watching in the studio are the two 117 losing score games: Matt Shore vs Mark Tournoff and Chris Davies vs David O'Donnell, closely followed by Kirk vs Innis and Jack W vs Jono. Innis vs Chris, Jack W vs Graeme and Dylan vs Andy will be up there for almost everyone, though I knew the results of these before watching so the excitement I recall is slightly dampened.

My other favourites: Jack Welsby vs Mark Tournoff, Jono vs John Mayhew, John Brackstone vs John Mayhew, Callum Todd vs Dylan Taylor, Paul Howe vs Keith Maynard, Jack Hurst vs Jonathan Rawlinson. My favouritism is heavily weighted by the intensity of my Countdown interest, so I'll leave it to others to give more objective lists.
You v Jono is up there as well.

I agree Gallen v Tournoff is a potential for greatest. Also, if you look at the games on their own merits (rather than whether it was a final), Worsley v Cole was really good. It would have made a brilliant final.
Sorry, I misread. It was the Gallen v Tournoff CoC final that I think is one of the best ever, not their regular final.

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Re: Best ever televised game?

Post by Tracey Anne Mills » Mon Oct 17, 2016 10:29 am

My favourite televised games has to Graeme Cole v Carl Williams ( Series 65 ) best ever final I watched at the studios, my first game against Neil Stephenson when it looked like history was going to repeat itself again !!!!!! but I had other ideas !!!!!!! Andy Platt v Dylan Taylor which was a very entertaining game almost worthy of a series final Jack Hurst v Jonathan Rawlinson another entertaining game that went down to the wire but there are plenty more out there but each to your own.
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Re: Best ever televised game?

Post by Marc Meakin » Fri Oct 21, 2016 1:58 pm

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Re: Best ever televised game?

Post by Jonathan Wynn » Wed Dec 28, 2016 8:31 am

Just reading about Jenny Haldane and noticed she sadly died this year. 2016 strikes again....

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Re: Best ever televised game?

Post by Peter Clarke » Wed Dec 28, 2016 10:05 am

Ann vs Tim was amazing, I agree.

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Re: Best ever televised game?

Post by Gavin Chipper » Fri Jun 26, 2020 4:15 pm

OK, having watched the 30th birthday championship again, I'd decided to resurrect this thread. It's interesting reading these choices, and a lot of them seem to reflect the time when people got into Countdown and recentness rather than having any genuine claims on being the greatest - e.g. Tim v Ann and Charlie's hilariously quaint choice.

I'm going to stick my neck out and say that objectively, there are only realistic two choices for this, based on how exciting the games were and what was at stake (e.g. being a close final trumps an equally close random heat game).

The first is Harvey Freeman v David Trace in the CoC III final. This is also one of the classic games on Mike Brown's site. Anyway, to give it some background, Harvey and David had both won their series as unbeaten xicounts, as well as their quarter and semi-finals, so they were both 13 games unbeaten. Harvey had come into this as the number 1 seed (they had seeds for CoCs back then) and was the clear favourite in the final based on their scores. He also had the then octo record for the 9-round era of 523 (only ever beaten by this forum's David Williams with 535). But if anyone thought he was going to have it all his own way, they were mistaken. They tied the first 8 rounds, but David got the first conundrum going 10 up (the only round where Harvey didn't score). Harvey beat David in one round before the final conundrum (where David offered the invalid erraticly) and was still 2 points behind. But he buzzed in quickly to win by 115 points to 107 - the highest winning and losing scores ever in the 14-round final format.

And the second is Paul Gallen v Mark Tournoff in the CoC XII final. They had previously met in the series final where Mark pinched it from Paul on the conundrum with 3 seconds remaining, so they had history, and this added to the excitement given how the game went. Amazingly both players maxed the first 11 rounds, before Paul drew 15 points clear by maxing rounds 12 and 13 alone. 13 rounds in and he was still on for a max game and looking like avenging the series final defeat. But then a tricky numbers and it's 7 points for Mark, putting him in range for the crucial. Could it happen again? Not this time. Paul was on the conundrum like a flash and managed to take the title.
Last edited by Gavin Chipper on Fri Jun 26, 2020 4:25 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Best ever televised game?

Post by Gavin Chipper » Fri Jun 26, 2020 4:20 pm

I'm going to give a couple of special mentions for classic games that have not been mentioned here. The first is Clive Freedman v Peter Evans in the CoC II final, which Clive won on a sudden death conundrum after being 14-0 down after two rounds and 17 points down after 9 rounds, and there is a Mike report for this game as well. But it's episode 404 on the wiki, so no wonder none of you managed to find it.

And then there is Graham Nash v Julian Fell in the quarter finals of CoC X, which Graham beat the odds to win and contained the gambiers round. Though the wiki seems to have just gone down, curtailing this post. Well, I was really just going to add the link anyway. Graham obviously went on to win the whole tournament, beating Julian Fell, Tom Hargreaves and Chris Wills in succession, but this game was the highlight.

Edit - It's back up.

Edit 2 - The Nash/Fell game is also arguably the game that has resonated the most over the years. Although it hadn't previously been mentioned in this thread (surprisingly, though most of the posts in here seem to represent a very small sample of Countdown history on the whole and this thread has been a bit of a damp squib to be honest!), it has been talked about a lot since it happened, and because it happened in the "online days" that might also have helped. As I write this, "gambiers" has 29 matches on a forum search.
Last edited by Gavin Chipper on Sat Jul 04, 2020 8:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Best ever televised game?

Post by Tom S » Sat Jun 27, 2020 10:46 pm

Zarte-Philip Grand FInal is probably the strongest ever Grand Final game in my opinion.

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Re: Best ever televised game?

Post by Gavin Chipper » Sun Jun 28, 2020 7:05 pm

Tom S wrote:
Sat Jun 27, 2020 10:46 pm
Zarte-Philip Grand FInal is probably the strongest ever Grand Final game in my opinion.
That game and Callum v Dylan were both 14-13 in terms of maxes, so it's difficult to choose between them!

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Re: Best ever televised game?

Post by Gavin Chipper » Thu Jul 02, 2020 8:20 pm

Another classic is the Masters game between Mark Nyman and Harvey Freeman. This was Harvey's only defeat. However, upon closer inspection, although he lost by 8 points, 10 of those came from an invalid conundrum, and another 10 from a potentially Hansforded one.

As said, this was Harvey's only ever defeat, and perhaps it was this that guaranteed his entry into the Supreme championship, which he went on to win. Nic Brown didn't take part, arguably because of not wanting to lose his unbeaten record, whereas Harvey would have been in a position where he didn't want to end his career on defeat. All idle speculation of course.

Edit - I also think I heard somewhere that Harvey didn't want to take part in one of the specials (before the supremes I think) because he didn't think he'd be able to reach the same high standard or something), but maybe a one-off game would have been too much to risk his reputation for (nothing to gain), whereas the supreme championship was something he really had to do to be considered the greatest.

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Re: Best ever televised game?

Post by Gavin Chipper » Mon Jul 20, 2020 9:22 pm

Conor wrote:
Thu Aug 25, 2016 9:52 pm
Dylan vs Andy will be up there for almost everyone
Having just watched the repeat of CoC 14, Dylan v Andy was probably the best game of the championship. But also Tom Cappleman v Giles Hutchings was very good, and also the final between Dylan Taylor and Dan McColm, once Dan made the comeback with METACONID.

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Re: Best ever televised game?

Post by Gavin Chipper » Fri Aug 07, 2020 9:19 pm

Having watched the repeats of the most recent CoC, there was only one really great game in there I thought. And surprisingly I don't think it's been mentioned yet in this thread. It's Zarte beating Tom Carey by 150 points to 122. It was the record score at the time and it is the highest total score of the two players. It wasn't a crucial conundrum or anything but it still had tension after Tom halved the 36-point lead to 18 wth TIRAMISUS meaning that the last numbers game was still crucial.

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Re: Best ever televised game?

Post by samir pilica » Sat Oct 17, 2020 8:06 pm

Hopefully this question will finally be settled. Conor v Jack in Xmas Special.

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Re: Best ever televised game?

Post by JackHurst » Sat Oct 17, 2020 10:49 pm

samir pilica wrote:
Sat Oct 17, 2020 8:06 pm
Hopefully this question will finally be settled. Conor v Jack in Xmas Special.
I like your enthusiasm but it's a bit much to get carried away and put pressure onto two players to produce the best game of all time before the game has happened ;)

That being said, I am sure the two of them are going to put on a great show!

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Re: Best ever televised game?

Post by Gavin Chipper » Sun Oct 18, 2020 8:23 pm

There's less at stake in a special so there might be less tension. I'm sure it will be great but best ever? Well let's wait and see.

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