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Ronan Higginson

From Countdown
Ronan Higginson
Octochamp Statistics
Final positionChampion
Points total1,041
Conundrums solved7
Ronan Higginson in Series 87.
Ronan Higginson holding the Richard Whiteley Memorial Trophy after winning Series 87.

Ronan Higginson was an octochamp in and the champion of Series 87. At the time of his appearances, he was an A-Level Student from Ramsgate in Kent. He is also an Apterite who has reached No. 1 on the Apterous Pro Rank leaderboard.

Appearances on the programme

Series 87 Heats

Higginson made his heavily anticipated TV debut on 17 May 2023, against five-game winner Jonathan Seal. With both players having spotted two nine-letter words BATTERIES and REPOSTING, Higginson won with a strong 132 points to Seal's still comparatively impressive 98 points. These two scores helped make the highest joint score in a preliminary game under the new 15 round format; a record unbeaten for nine-and-a-half years.

Ronan then rattled off seven more sublime performances, which were also all centuries, and included further 9's such as NEOTERIST, ARAGONITE, RITUALITY, AMBROSIAN and ALPENROSE to become only the second octochamp of the series after Cillian McMulkin nearly four months prior. Of particular note, in his fifth match, Higginson achieved only the thirteenth perfect game with 135 points being both the max and his score. This was the second time within a year this had occurred; Tom Stevenson's record-breaking performance in Episode 7860 being the last one. And, in his sixth game, he equalled Elliott Mellor's four-year-old record for the highest margin of victory in a game of Countdown when he defeated challenger Aaron Sutton by 133 points; this game also confirmed his qualification for the series finals and his joint-highest score of 143. He also showed exceptional skill in his conundrum solving ability, with not only the variety of difficulties faced, but also with four of them each being solved in under a second.

Ronan finished off his heats and established himself as the No.1 seed, with a 13-round max performance against Richard Clingen. This game also marked the fourth time he had held an opponent to under 30 points and the fourth time he had won a game by over 100 points; the former being an all-time joint-record. He ultimately finished with 1,041 points and an average of just over 130 per game; this, along with making him the 31st member of the 900 club and only the fifth person to score at least 1,000, also gave him the 2nd-highest octotal of all time, with only Elliott Mellor having more points. Murray by this point had also given him the title 'The Hurricane' owing to his performances on the show.


Ronan returned for the series finals on 21 June 2023, against No. 8 seed Andrew Barrett, where a 12-max performance, and a spot of IGNORABLE for nine helped him to finish with a high score of 122 points to qualify for the semi-finals, although Barrett had the last word by solving the conundrum. His semi-final face-off against fellow Apterite Adam Dexter was a much closer affair, but with wolfman ☓ and epistema ☓ being unfortunate misfires from Dexter, this kept Ronan 14 points ahead after the last numbers round. Although both players could have made a closer figure to the target in the first numbers game, Ronan unravelled the conundrum with a trademark flourish to achieve his second maximum-scoring game; he is the first person ever to achieve this feat twice in a regular series, and the first to do it more than once since Conor Travers did it thrice in the 30th Birthday Championship.

In the final, both 'The Hurricane' and McMulkin scored immediately off the blocks, spotting IGNORABLE for nine. However, Higginson began to pull away either side of both players finding another set of nines, and then in R10, Ronan claimed a symbolic coup de grâce with the fantastic spot of PECORAITE for his third nine-letter-word of the game. With the match wrapped up before the final numbers round, Higginson signed off by unscrambling SOULPARTY to PULSATORY to win the series with an astonishing 150 points, matching Zarte Siempre's 150 in the quarter-finals of Championship of Champions XV in 2019. He lifted the Richard Whiteley Memorial Trophy with an astounding Xicount total of 1,435 points; the highest of all time, beating Luke Johnson-Davies's previous 11-game record by a hefty 51 points.

Preceded by
Tom Stevenson
Series winner
Series 87
Followed by
Harry Savage


Prior to appearing on the show, Higginson participated in episodes 81 and 82 of ZoomDown, triumphing against fellow Countdown alumni Philip Aston but losing to Tom Cappleman. He later appeared in ZoomDown Series 4, winning two games before losing on a crucial conundrum to Ahmed Mohamed. But after tetrachamp Adam Beach was unable to participate in the series finals, Higginson qualified for the finals as number 8 seed.

In the quarter-finals of ZoomDown Series 4, Higginson caused an upset when he defeated number 1 seed Brendan Whitehurst on a crucial conundrum, winning with 99 points to Whitehurst's 88. He then went on to beat number 5 seed Adam Dexter with 112 – 81, thus making a spot in the grand final against Rachael Montgomery. However, Rachael gained the lead when Ronan had coatage ☓ disallowed and also got to one away on the numbers round that followed, whereas Rachael got the target spot on. He did eventually claw back with COWRIES - forcing a crucial conundrum - but Ronan had buzzed incorrectly with scramload ☓ with only 0.8 seconds left, thus resulting in him taking the runner-up spot.

Despite this loss, his success in the series had him qualify for the ZoomDown Championship of Champions. He had been drawn to play against Conor Travers, and both had started pretty well in the first quarter of their game by maxing the first three rounds. However, two disallowed words and Conor's words like OSTEOID and APRONFUL helped him secure one of many 14 max games throughout the tournament. The scoreline was left 125 – 86 in Conor's favour, helping him progress onward to win the series.


# Date Type Contestant 1 Score Contestant 2 Presenters Guest Lex Max
8019 17/05/2023 P Jonathan Seal 98 – 132 Ronan Higginson Colin Murray Rachel Riley Annie MacManus Susie Dent 143
8020 18/05/2023 P Ronan Higginson 110 – 64 Brian Cookson Colin Murray Rachel Riley Annie MacManus Susie Dent 124
8021 19/05/2023 P Ronan Higginson 126 – 12 Greg Raine Colin Murray Rachel Riley Annie MacManus Susie Dent 133
8022 22/05/2023 P Ronan Higginson 130 – 50 John Waterhouse Colin Murray Rachel Riley Vick Hope Susie Dent 135
8023 23/05/2023 P Ronan Higginson 135 – 27 Martin Peirce Colin Murray Rachel Riley Vick Hope Susie Dent 135
8024 24/05/2023 P Ronan Higginson 143 – 10 Aaron Sutton Colin Murray Rachel Riley Vick Hope Susie Dent 166
8025 25/05/2023 P Ronan Higginson 143 – 57 Andy Sheppard Colin Murray Rachel Riley Vick Hope Susie Dent 151
8026 26/05/2023 P Ronan Higginson 122 – 17 Richard Clingen Colin Murray Rachel Riley Cally Beaton Susie Dent 124
8044 21/06/2023 QF Ronan Higginson 122 – 70 Andrew Barrett Colin Murray Rachel Riley Marcus Brigstocke Susie Dent 135
8048 27/06/2023 SF Ronan Higginson 122 – 98 Adam Dexter Colin Murray Rachel Riley Maggie Aderin-Pocock Susie Dent 122
8050 29/06/2023 GF Ronan Higginson 150 – 83 Cillian McMulkin Colin Murray Rachel Riley Maggie Aderin-Pocock Susie Dent 155