Championship of Champions XII

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Championship of Champions XII: Week 1
Championship of Champions XII: Week 2

Championship of Champions XII is remembered as one of the most consistently excellent Championships of Champions ever produced. Sixteen of the best contestants from Series 49 to 54 were assembled for a knockout showdown from the 29th May to 16th June 2006.

The tournament had originally been scheduled for the end of Series 53, but was delayed by the transition of presenters. The original tournament had a slightly different line-up, including Sweyn Kirkness and Stuart Earl, who were replaced by Series 54 contestants. Another favourite, Series 51 champion Stewart Holden, declined to enter the CoC because he was studying the Scrabble dictionary at the time.

The first three games all featured centuries, as Mark Tournoff, John Davies and Conor Travers progressed at the expense of Steve Graston, Gary Male and John Hunt respectively. The fourth game saw Jack Welsby make a mere 99 to Jon O'Neill's 94, as both missed PROSPERED. The onslaught of centuries continued, with Paul Howe making 117 against John Mayhew, Paul Gallen taking the tournament's highscore with 125 against Eamonn Timmins, and the first double century game as Chris Cummins' 101 was inadequate to overcome Matthew Shore's 109. The 86 – 48 score by which John Brackstone defeated Series 49 runner up David Wilson formed the only arguably weak point of the preliminary round.

Eight days in and it did not seem like the championship could get anyway better. However the first quarter final, Matthew Shore vs Mark Tournoff, was described by Jon O'Neill as "the greatest game of Countdown ever played" — both players scored two nines and, while Shore made a mighty 117, Tournoff made an incredible 124 to take the game. The second quarter final was less explosive but no less exciting, with John Davies trying to claw back an 18-point first round deficit after missing STINGAREE/RESEATING against a ferociously focussed Paul Gallen. Gallen held on confidently, running out the winner at 118 – 96. The third quarter final saw recent champion Conor Travers sneak through against John Brackstone 101 – 80, pulling out the awesome BRESAOLA in Round 13 and ultimately running out comfortable winner. The last quarter final was between Paul Howe and Jack Welsby but, faced with difficult selections, the game finished close and low-scoring, with Paul winning 83 – 72.

Heading into the semifinals were two players from Series 52 and two from Series 54, and naturally the pairings were between series. The first saw a steady scoring affair between Paul Howe and Mark Tournoff, which headed for a crucial conundrum with Tournoff a point to the good. After six seconds, he buzzed with the correct solution to STUARTFIR to take him into the final, leaving Howe disappointed for the second time in just a few weeks. The second semifinal was a battle all fans had been relishing – Gallen vs Travers. With both players making perfect scores in almost every round, including RITENUTO and HELICONS, there was little to separate them; a crucial conundrum seemed inevitable, and indeed it came, with Gallen leading by 108 to 102. Gallen buzzed in almost immediately with the solution to CHOPLOSER to claim the his spot in the final. Incredibly he had dropped just two points (KETOSIS and the DC-beating CLANGOUR.)

And so the final would be a repeat of the Series 52 final! Both players started strongly, with finds like STARFISH, SUNBEAM and CELLARET, but Gallen finally opened a lead in Round 12 with the superb pair TELECOM and DYSPNOEA. An impossible numbers game allowed Tournoff to score 7 points and come within striking distance. The game would again be a crucial conundrum! The roller spun to reveal PRONEPIPE and, just as in their previous match, Gallen buzzed quickly – but this time, there could be no mistake, as PEPPERONI gave him the points needed to take championship. Final score: 111 – 93 from a possible 118.

Gallen at last allowed himself a smile – it was a fitting end to an amazing championship.

Progress

Mark Tournoff (52) vs Steve Graston (51) Mark Tournoff vs Matthew Shore Mark Tournoff
vs
Paul Howe
Mark Tournoff
vs
Paul Gallen
Matthew Shore (54) vs Chris Cummins (50)
Jack Welsby (52) vs Jon O'Neill (53) Jack Welsby vs Paul Howe
John Mayhew (53) vs Paul Howe (54)
John Davies (49) vs Gary Male (51) John Davies vs Paul Gallen Paul Gallen
vs
Conor Travers
Paul Gallen (52) vs Eamonn Timmins (50)
Conor Travers (54) vs John Hunt (52) Conor Travers vs John Brackstone
John Brackstone (53) vs David Wilson (49)
The winner of each game is displayed in bold.
The numbers refer to the series in which each contestant originally played in the finals.

Episodes

# Date Type Contestant 1 Score Contestant 2 Guest Lex Max
4113 29/05/2006 CP Mark Tournoff 119 – 83 Steve Graston Ron Atkinson Susie Dent 131
4114 30/05/2006 CP John Davies 106 – 73 Gary Male Ron Atkinson Susie Dent 131
4115 31/05/2006 CP Conor Travers 124 – 91 John Hunt Ron Atkinson Susie Dent 138
4116 1/06/2006 CP Jack Welsby 99 – 94 Jon O'Neill Ron Atkinson Susie Dent 134
4117 2/06/2006 CP John Mayhew 87 – 117 Paul Howe Ron Atkinson Susie Dent 132
4118 5/06/2006 CP John Brackstone 86 – 48 David Wilson Ann Widdecombe Susie Dent 120
4119 6/06/2006 CP Paul Gallen 125 – 80 Eamonn Timmins Ann Widdecombe Susie Dent 141
4120 7/06/2006 CP Matthew Shore 109 – 101 Chris Cummins Ann Widdecombe Susie Dent 131
4121 8/06/2006 CQF Matthew Shore 117 – 124 Mark Tournoff Ann Widdecombe Susie Dent 139
4122 9/06/2006 CQF Paul Gallen 118 – 96 John Davies Ann Widdecombe Susie Dent 127
4123 12/06/2006 CQF Conor Travers 101 – 80 John Brackstone Kim Woodburn Susie Dent 130
4124 13/06/2006 CQF Jack Welsby 72 – 83 Paul Howe Kim Woodburn Susie Dent 118
4125 14/06/2006 CSF Paul Howe 88 – 99 Mark Tournoff Kim Woodburn Susie Dent 126
4126 15/06/2006 CSF Paul Gallen 118 – 102 Conor Travers Kim Woodburn Susie Dent 120
4127 16/06/2006 CGF Paul Gallen 111 – 93 Mark Tournoff Kim Woodburn Susie Dent 118

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