Harpenden Scrabble maestro pipped at the post in national championships

A HARPENDEN Scrabble whiz narrowly missed out on the first place prize at last weekend s National Scrabble Championships. David Webb, 47, of Milton Road, took on Craig Beevers of Stockton-on-Tees at Sunday s final and after nearly three hours of non-stop

A HARPENDEN Scrabble whiz narrowly missed out on the first place prize at last weekend's National Scrabble Championships.

David Webb, 47, of Milton Road, took on Craig Beevers of Stockton-on-Tees at Sunday's final and after nearly three hours of non-stop play, Craig, a former Countdown series winner, was crowned champion.

Despite conjuring up gems such as bumbazed - a word meaning 'to be perplexed' - which won David an impressive 101 points, Craig's extensive vocabulary couldn't be topped and the former mathematics graduate ended up beating David 3-0.

David, who spent three hours a day learning new words in preparation for the competition, said it was a tough three games: "Craig is an excellent player and I'm pleased with my performance against him because all three games were quite close. Also, I think lady luck was on Craig's side on Sunday and we all know that that's a very important element in Scrabble."

But David, co-author of How to Win at Scrabble, said he can only get better: "I'm currently in the middle of a three-year computer programme to learn all the words in the dictionary and I think that by the time next year's championships come about, I might be good enough to clinch first place.