Who are Countdown's unluckiest losers?

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L'oisleatch McGraw
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Who are Countdown's unluckiest losers?

Post by L'oisleatch McGraw » Wed Jan 08, 2020 5:19 am

Off the top of my head,

Philip Aston
Paul Anderson
Brendan Duke
Hazel Drury
Eddy Byrne
James Robinson
Callum Pickering
Patrick Thompson
Cammy Lovatt
James Rowan
George Armstrong
Aidan Linge
Anthony Endsor
Phil Hannan
Adam Dexter
Ian Linton
James Hall



Criteria* for an unlucky loser:-
1. Had octo-potential.
2. Was stopped in their tracks.
3. Their max rate - BEFORE they met their conqueror -was an average of 70% or higher.


Candidates like e.g. Philip and Paul are easy to spot when looking through the wiki, as they won so many before it all came tumbling down. I wonder can many of ye spot some of the others who are more likely to go under the radar, i.e. the ones who won just one game, or the ones who were (particularly talented) cannon fodder during the run of a mercurial talent?

In the world of 2020's Countdown, where you may get a 2nd (or even 3rd) bite at the cherry less than 5 years after your first try, these unlucky losers take on a particular significance as potential future finalists. (e.g. Zarte S, Martin M, Paul H, Paul N, Dinos S, Sandra P, Tony M, James K, Jeff C, Elliott M, etc. from the last decade.)


*inb4, I am aware that some of the names on that list do not fit the criteria... In those cases, current form is taken into consideration.
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Re: Who are Countdown's unluckiest losers?

Post by Thomas Cappleman » Wed Jan 08, 2020 8:14 am

Ciaran McCarthy and Peter Steggle also come to mind - both lost to Mark Murray with scores of 104 and 95 respectively.

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Re: Who are Countdown's unluckiest losers?

Post by Gavin Chipper » Wed Jan 08, 2020 8:59 am

L'oisleatch McGraw wrote:
Wed Jan 08, 2020 5:19 am
*inb4, I am aware that some of the names on that list do not fit the criteria... In those cases, current form is taken into consideration.
Is it unlucky though if someone works on their skill afrer they lose? Almost any player could become retrospectively unlucky that way.

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Re: Who are Countdown's unluckiest losers?

Post by Fiona T » Wed Jan 08, 2020 10:01 am

From my series, I'd add John Ashcroft to the list - I was convinced he'd make octo and hope we see him back on in the not too distant future.

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Re: Who are Countdown's unluckiest losers?

Post by Gavin Chipper » Wed Jan 08, 2020 1:50 pm

I don't think you can count Philip Aston because the ultimate goal isn't to become an octochamp - becoming an octochamp is just a step to the knockout stage, which he made anyway. He still got to the grand final of his series and the semi-final of the CoC.

Unless you also want to include Callum Todd?

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Re: Who are Countdown's unluckiest losers?

Post by Tom S » Wed Jan 08, 2020 5:57 pm

Possibly Stephen Mellor from 81 deserves a mention, despite the letters inconsistency.
Arran Cleminson and Harry Clark from S80- both finalist potential.
Chris Sturdy from S79 (despite the odd numbers-mishap). His letters were on a par with Martin May in that series.
Jason Palmer who lost to Toby M definitely deserves a mention.
Sarah Holey, Ben Leyburn, Phil Peel were finalist potential from (79)
Suzy Turner, Dave Ryan from 76.
Norm Ahmad from 75.

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Re: Who are Countdown's unluckiest losers?

Post by L'oisleatch McGraw » Wed Jan 08, 2020 11:02 pm

Very good points made by Gavin, as is to be expected... This thread is pretty irritating, as the definition for what constitutes an 'unlucky loser' is woolly and imprecise. We must remedy that...

I believe there is an argument to be made for Phil A's inclusion, in spite of a great performance in his series finals and CoC. In the history of the show, there have been thousands of contestants, but only ever 15 "champions of champions"... and for Philip to have come up against one of those, not once, but THREE times, smacks of 'bad luck' to me, particularly when he's otherwise unbeaten.

But that ^^^ is an aside.
Gavin Chipper wrote:
Wed Jan 08, 2020 8:59 am
Almost any player could become retrospectively unlucky.
Excellent point, and I agree: even the Christine Buffreys of this world probably have their personal set of "if onlys", and any past contestant has the potential to train up and come storming back some day. But we can only go with what we know, so with that in mind I would make 3 (or possibly 4) categories:-

1. Unluckiest Losers.
This category is the one we are most interested in here, and it comprises only those players who showed great potential, won fewer than 8 games, and missed the series finals.

2. The Premature ej-applicators (lol, sorry)
This category includes anyone who applied to the show before they hit peak form. Non-apterites, or those who practise the game secretly cannot be included, as no-one is aware their skills have improved. There would be some overlap with "Unluckiest Losers" as the likes of Hazel Drury and Sam Prouse could fit both. However, this category can also be applied to some very successful contestants... e.g. Jack Worsley, Innis Carson, and yes, Callum Todd.

3. The Redeemed
This is for anyone for whom the original unlucky loss was actually a Godsend in hindsight... as they got to compete again and smash it. e.g. Zarte, T-Cap, Dan McC etc. (and hopefully Robbo someday...)

.

[4. Unluckiest Winners (I suppose)
Do we need a special category to cater for the Philip Aston dilemma? i.e. Someone who applied at the right time (approx peak form), did well on TV, but can still be considered unlucky due to *something noteworthy*.]
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Re: Who are Countdown's unluckiest losers?

Post by Fred Mumford » Wed Jan 08, 2020 11:23 pm

In category 1, I can't help thinking of poor old Jonny Rye.

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Re: Who are Countdown's unluckiest losers?

Post by L'oisleatch McGraw » Thu Jan 09, 2020 2:59 am

I'm gung-ho for this now... so have been trying to work out a system for quantifying the "unluckiest loser" stat*.
There are certain (arbitrary, and subject to adjustment) thresholds to be met as regards winning max %, losing max %, and the relationship between losing max % and conqueror's overall max %. It's sort of complicated, so I won't bore you too much with the specifics.

Using S81 as a guinea pig series, I have applied the thresholds to all players, and come up with a list of 42 that *could* be eligible for 'unluckiest loser' status... However, I already know that that is a load of crap, as 42/126 is one third of the contestants, which is far too many! :lol:

Before the system gets tweaked, I'd like to run the names past ye...

1. [S81] Colin Beattie
2. [S81] Sam Digby
3. [S81] Libby Fawcett
4. [S81] Trevor Coates
5. [S81] Aaron Samuel
6. [S81] Darren Rampton
7. [S81] Katrina Bond
8. [S81] Caroline Raby
9. [S81] Stephen Mellor
10. [S81] Nina Gunton
11. [S81] Martin Garrett
12. [S81] Liam Bastick
13. [S81] Sarah Delap
14. [S81] Matt Sykes
15. [S81] Gerry Gray
16. [S81] Bekki Peckett
17. [S81] Abbie Arrowsmith
18. [S81] Daniel Smith
19. [S81] Geoff Pinney
20. [S81] Harry Robinson
21. [S81] Elliot Black
22. [S81] Matt Rosenfeld
23. [S81] Pierse Walsh
24. [S81] Mike Woodberry
25. [S81] Susie Fytche
26. [S81] Kay Goodsell
27. [S81] Alfie Webb
28. [S81] Lynne Scanlon
29. [S81] Ray Albrow
30. [S81] Paul Anderson
31. [S81] Ewen Alexander
32. [S81] Nick Parden
33. [S81] Peter Rattle
34. [S81] Greg Folgate
35. [S81] Peter Jackson
36. [S81] Alan Jones
37. [S81] Barbara Wylde
38. [S81] Joseph Bennett
39. [S81] Alex Stuart
40. [S81] Janice Collins
41. [S81] Jim Torpey
42. [S81] Stephen Rooney


Based purely on their stats and/or what you remember of their abilities from TV, which of these names stand out as people who definitely belong on an 'unlucky loser' list, and which names stand out as ones that most likely don't.

Link to the S81 page

[*Whether or where Corrina Attwood fits into all of this is anyone's guess...]
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Re: Who are Countdown's unluckiest losers?

Post by Fiona T » Thu Jan 09, 2020 2:58 pm

L'oisleatch McGraw wrote:
Wed Jan 08, 2020 11:02 pm
[4. Unluckiest Winners (I suppose)
Do we need a special category to cater for the Philip Aston dilemma? i.e. Someone who applied at the right time (approx peak form), did well on TV, but can still be considered unlucky due to *something noteworthy*.]
Well another contender for that category must be Corrina, who despite winning her 8 games failed to make the finals. On the other hand, she could be a considered a lucky winner as her name remains on the exclusive list of unbeaten contestants.

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Re: Who are Countdown's unluckiest losers?

Post by Gavin Chipper » Thu Jan 09, 2020 3:51 pm

I'd also question how many people you'd put on an "unluckiest" list. I'd probably be looking for 10 or so people over the whole history of Countdown, rather than every player who won a handful of games or averaged more than about 80.

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Re: Who are Countdown's unluckiest losers?

Post by David Williams » Thu Jan 09, 2020 4:17 pm

There's more than one way to be unlucky.

You can get drawn against a top player in the heats.

You can have a valid word disallowed (or your opponent can have an invalid word allowed).

You can get an 'impossible' crucial conundrum when you are behind, or a trivial one (50/50 shot) when you're ahead.

If you are a long way ahead and your opponent needs a nine letter word, you are unlucky if one is actually available.

Your opponent can take a desperate punt at an unlikely word he's made up - and get lucky.

For me the unluckiest loser is the one who has played well, lost narrowly, and had several of these happen. You are unlucky to draw Manchester City in the early rounds of the FA Cup. It takes a close game decided by a freak deflection and a terrible refereeing decision before it becomes noteworthy.

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Re: Who are Countdown's unluckiest losers?

Post by Tracey Anne Mills » Fri Jan 10, 2020 12:15 am

L'oisleatch McGraw wrote:
Wed Jan 08, 2020 5:19 am
Off the top of my head,

Philip Aston
Paul Anderson
Brendan Duke
Hazel Drury
Eddy Byrne
James Robinson
Callum Pickering
Patrick Thompson
Cammy Lovatt
James Rowan
George Armstrong
Aidan Linge
Anthony Endsor
Phil Hannan
Adam Dexter
Ian Linton
James Hall



Criteria* for an unlucky loser:-
1. Had octo-potential.
2. Was stopped in their tracks.
3. Their max rate - BEFORE they met their conqueror -was an average of 70% or higher.


Candidates like e.g. Philip and Paul are easy to spot when looking through the wiki, as they won so many before it all came tumbling down. I wonder can many of ye spot some of the others who are more likely to go under the radar, i.e. the ones who won just one game, or the ones who were (particularly talented) cannon fodder during the run of a mercurial talent?

In the world of 2020's Countdown, where you may get a 2nd (or even 3rd) bite at the cherry less than 5 years after your first try, these unlucky losers take on a particular significance as potential future finalists. (e.g. Zarte S, Martin M, Paul H, Paul N, Dinos S, Sandra P, Tony M, James K, Jeff C, Elliott M, etc. from the last decade.)


*inb4, I am aware that some of the names on that list do not fit the criteria... In those cases, current form is taken into consideration.
Matt Croy v Drew Halliburton series 65 heats, when Matt was looking for his 6th win and a possible shot at octochampdom but lost by 1 point on a crucial conundrum, that is why I think he deserves another bite at the cherry.
Tracey 'Old Enough To Be My Mum' Mills and cat lover

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Re: Who are Countdown's unluckiest losers?

Post by L'oisleatch McGraw » Fri Jan 10, 2020 5:41 am

Tracey Anne Mills wrote:
Fri Jan 10, 2020 12:15 am
Matt Croy
Tracey Mills in knowing-stuff-about-Matt-Croy shocker! :mrgreen: :lol: :twisted: :P
(Has anyone ever made a thread about 'most telegenic contestants'?)
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Re: Who are Countdown's unluckiest losers?

Post by Callum Todd » Fri Jan 10, 2020 11:48 am

From series 69:

Abdirizak Hirsi, who lost to Mark Hartnett
Mark Hartnett, who lost to Bradley Cates
Sean D (whose surname I can't remember - sorry Sean!) who I think also lost to Bradley Cates, but might be wrong.
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Re: Who are Countdown's unluckiest losers?

Post by Richard Priest » Fri Jan 10, 2020 5:33 pm

Ed Rossiter. Leading Scrabbler with definite octochamp potential who ran into Chris Davies after winning a few. Around series 61 I think.

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Re: Who are Countdown's unluckiest losers?

Post by samir pilica » Fri Jan 10, 2020 8:42 pm

Mark Goodliffe, arguably the greatest cryptic crossword solver, lost to Oliver Garner in Series 62 having led by 26 points at half stage, only to.lose on conundrum.

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Re: Who are Countdown's unluckiest losers?

Post by David Williams » Fri Jan 10, 2020 9:01 pm

Reminded by the Dictionary Revival thread.

Helen Wrigglesworth, who lost by two points having suffered a 15 point swing through having ROADSIDE disallowed, because the COD10 economised on space by omitting compound words whose meaning was clear. They did give her another go, and dropped COD10 after a single day's filming.

http://wiki.apterous.org/Episode_2682

I particularly remember Richard Whiteley saying to her opponent that he must be disappointed at winning the round in that way, and him clearly not being disappointed one bit.

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Re: Who are Countdown's unluckiest losers?

Post by Phil H » Sat Jan 11, 2020 12:39 pm

Very good shout I think, David.

On a more mundane note, I think Norm Ahmad might have been the Apterite with the highest rating at the time (1550-1600 iirc) not to make the series finals since I joined in 2015. Anyone know if Matt Croy or anyone else before Norm would have been higher? (I assume Zarte would have been, but I'm not really thinking of players who have since had another chance.)

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Re: Who are Countdown's unluckiest losers?

Post by Paul Anderson » Tue Jan 14, 2020 11:10 am

From one point of view, I could be considered unlucky perhaps, but from another I've had a great experience that I wouldn't change at all, so sometimes you just gotta run with the hand you're dealt.

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Re: Who are Countdown's unluckiest losers?

Post by L'oisleatch McGraw » Wed Jan 15, 2020 4:21 pm

Paul Anderson wrote:
Tue Jan 14, 2020 11:10 am
From one point of view, I could be considered unlucky perhaps, but from another I've had a great experience that I wouldn't change at all, so sometimes you just gotta run with the hand you're dealt.
Quite right!
Perspective makes a difference.

You could argue that the likes of Dinos S and Mark M were rather fortunate to have not made the finals of their original series, as they got to experience the fun of it all for a 2nd time... (and get a pretty nice result to boot).

But for the purposes of the "unluckiest losers" list that I'm trying to compile, we're just looking at cold hard stats, and ignoring the human interest side of it.
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Re: Who are Countdown's unluckiest losers?

Post by Paul Anderson » Wed Jan 15, 2020 8:42 pm

Well, in that case, I'm happy to make your list!

Corrina must figure too, as she did all she was asked to do, won 8 games, 700 points, didn't get to show her stuff in the finals.
That's unlucky

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Re: Who are Countdown's unluckiest losers?

Post by L'oisleatch McGraw » Wed Jan 15, 2020 9:59 pm

Gavin Chipper wrote:
Thu Jan 09, 2020 3:51 pm
I'd also question how many people you'd put on an "unluckiest" list. I'd probably be looking for 10 or so people over the whole history of Countdown, rather than every player who won a handful of games or averaged more than about 80.
Ah now Gevin!
Where's the fun in that?

I reckon a list of around 800 would be more appropriate here... approx 10 per series.
And then rate that list from #1 to #800 based on an algorithm that has a dubious mathematical basis.
Then we can debate how crap the system is!
Nerdtastic times await... :geek:
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