AN amateur wordsmith has narrowly failed in his attempt to win the national Scrabble championships.

Craig Beevers, a 27-year-old from Norton, near Stockton and a former winner of the Channel 4 show Countdown, was beaten in todays final by professional Scrabble consultant Allan Simmons.

The first two games of the 37th annual National Scrabble Championship, held at the Cavendish Conference Centre in central London, were tied.

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But the 51-year-old veteran, from Berwickshire, won the next two games to take the match 3-1, making good use of the words "semiarid", "yutz and "bogart" along the way.

Mr Simmons said: "Im exhilarated. I have won lots of major events in my time but this is the one that has always eluded me."

The father-of-three added: I suppose one word that stuck out was semiarid. It gave me 50 points for using all my letters and 68 points in total and it came at a key point in the game."