The maths graduate debuted on 19 July 2017 in impressive fashion, scoring the second highest total of the series to date and spotting the 9-letter word SPREADING. He missed out on joining the 800 club by 1 point, but nonetheless achieved four centuries and performed well in the numbers rounds in which he chose 6 small in every pick.
As a result of his preliminary success, Cowen returned for the Series 77 finals in December as #3 seed. In his quarter-final match, he thrashed fellow unbeaten player Michael Pfeffer, picking out the nine ANTINODES to prevail 105 – 49. In the semi-finals, he faced Bradley Horrocks, another player who picked 6 small most of the time (although he instead opted for 3 large there). However, his run came to an end after he had an incorrect solution to his final 6 small selection, meaning a crucial conundrum was avoided and gave the former the win by then.
|#||Date||Type||Contestant 1||Score||Contestant 2||Guest||Lex||Max|
|6626||19/07/2017||P||Shabir Alidina||53 – 128||John Cowen||Chris Packham||Susie Dent||136|
|6627||20/07/2017||P||John Cowen||106 – 24||Tom Blessington||Chris Packham||Susie Dent||129|
|6628||21/07/2017||P||John Cowen||79 – 38||Raf Seneviratne||Chris Packham||Susie Dent||136|
|6629||24/07/2017||P||John Cowen||97 – 74||Andrew Alden||Chris Packham||Susie Dent||125|
|6630||25/07/2017||P||John Cowen||103 – 77||David Marsh||Jenny Eclair||Susie Dent||141|
|6631||26/07/2017||P||John Cowen||104 – 35||Pete Hall||Jenny Eclair||Susie Dent||121|
|6632||27/07/2017||P||John Cowen||88 – 64||Sue Wishart||Jenny Eclair||Susie Dent||133|
|6633||28/07/2017||P||John Cowen||94 – 46||Vivek Mathews||Jenny Eclair||Susie Dent||121|
|6732||18/12/2017||QF||John Cowen||105 – 49||Michael Pfeffer||Rufus Hound||Susie Dent||123|
|6735||21/12/2017||SF||Bradley Horrocks||95 – 83||John Cowen||Rufus Hound||Susie Dent||134|