Enjoying the Craic

As part of the festivities, there’s a players’ lounge amusingly called “The Craic Den” which functions as “chill out zone” during the day and transforms somewhat as day turns to night into a pub/ games room /nightclub. We snuck in to see whether the den lived up to its name…

Bedecked with plush chairs, sofas and tables, players can relax with a quiet lemonade and kick back and watch some poker. Some of the patrons opted for slightly stronger refreshments however…

If the competitive spirit takes your fancy while you’re in the den, well, you’re spoilt for choice!

There’s a permanent game of FIFA playing out on the nearby consoles. We saw a highly-contested North East derby going on. For those interested it was Newcastle 3 Sunderland 3 going into the final stages. (*)

Shuffle Up and Shuffle!

We joined the throng in The Craic Den just as the Shuffleboard Championship was taking place. Shuffleboard, for the uninitiated, is a game where players slide weighted discs down a partially sand-covered thin board, surrounded on all sides by trenches. Get your disc into the scoring zones at the end of the board and keep it there to win points for your team.

Think bowls combined with air hockey combined with Oktoberfest.

Definitely not a game where failing a breathalyser is a bonus but fortunately this isn’t mandatory. We watched discs flying off the end as over-zealous shufflers blew their chance of glory with an enthusiastic shove while the timid found their discs meekly creeping up into the middle, well short of the scoring zones. Compere Phil Baker missed no opportunity to issue rubdowns where appropriate, and even occasional praise for an expertly-delivered shot. The energy was high.

Adapting best to the chaotic conditions were husband and wife team Jenny and Andy Steele (playing under the team name “Tittytits” 👀), who stormed to victory, collecting two €1,100 tickets to UKIPT Malaga as their prize.

“I can’t believe we’ve won,” said a shell-shocked Andy. “My wife’s the better player really but we’re looking forward to it!”

Jenny was less surprised at their fortune. “I always knew we would win,” she told us modestly, despite never having played before. That’s the confidence of a born winner.

“It’s great though! I love The Craic Den!”

We asked Jenny about the origin of their interesting team name, “Tittytits.” “It’s because he [pointed to her husband] has bigger t*ts than me…” (Not sure why we bothered with an asterisk!)

Well done both, we look forward to seeing Jenny and Andy bringing this sort of amusing banter to Malaga!

Quick note for compere Phil Baker who was in craic-ing form, witty mick taking coming out in seamless commentary. No one was safe from his acerbic observations on the mike. The crowd were loving it.

Wonder Wheel of Fortune

Fancy a shot at winning some prizes without any skill? Roll-up, roll-up for Paddy’s WonderWheel. This exciting contraption (think Wheel of Fortune with a chance of winning lucky green pants) is spun by the contestant and spat out prizes ranging from nothing (boo!) to Mystery Prizes (ooooohhh!) to the Jackpot prize of €250! (Booooom!)

As we watched, one of the first players we saw spin the wheel, wouldn’t you know it, spun the jackpot! Intrepid journalists that we are, we naturally seized this moment to snatch a quick interview.

We learned the lucky winner was called Charlotte, pictured above. We congratulated her and asked some critical questions.

“Well done Charlotte. Do you see this €250 changing your life? Any dream plans for the money?”

“Well I’ll get some plates for the new house,” she explained.

“Is this the biggest win you’ve had on a random wheel of fortune?”

“Yes it is!”

“Well congratulations and good luck with the new plates.”

Incisive journalism we’re sure you’ll agree.

Apart from these pursuits, there’s constant music playing and with the bar staff ever-ready to take your orders, The Craic Den is the second best place to be around here, bar sitting in the Main Event with a big stack. The party was still going strong as we departed in the early hours of the morning – conga lines forming as a live band played – players dancing and chatting away merrily.

A great place to party – we can confirm the Craic Den certainly does live up to its name! Highly recommended.

*Sunderland eventually saw justice done as they won 7-4 in extra time.