Fareham pub hosts the first world championships for beer mat flipping

THE SHIP and Shovel saw hundreds of sports fans cheer the new world champions of beer mat flipping as they were crowned on Saturday night.

By Richard Lemmer
Saturday, 8th February 2020, 10:05 pm
Updated Monday, 10th February 2020, 10:28 am

The Six Nations rugby championship had competition at the pub in Warsash Road – as a crowd gathered to watch more 120 people try their hand at a very different sport.

Mats were sent flying as wannabe champions took part in two categories, the speed flip where entrees have to flip ten mats in a row as fast as possible, and the Master flip where entrees have to catch as many stacked mats as possible with one flip.

Organiser Richard Banks, an electrician from Warsash, said the idea for the event came to him on a stag-do.

Archie Rigby, 12-years-old, about to attempt 32 beer mats in the Master Flip challenge.icture: Duncan Shepherd

He said: ‘I had been looking for a fun event to put on for a while, and I was in a pub on a stag-do last year, when we started flipping beer mats. And I wondered if there was a world championship. I googled it and couldn’t find anything, so I decided to put one on myself.’

Guests could make unlimited attempts in either category for the entry price of £10, with all proceeds going to Breast Cancer Haven, in The Square, Titchfield.

More than 2,000 branded beer mats were available at the event, but far fewer were needed to be crowned world champion – with a champion flipping 65 mats at once.

Winner Luke Collier, 30, from Warsash, said: ‘I must admit – I thought I would come out as a champion.

Event organiser Richard Banks. Picture: Duncan Shepherd

‘When I put my mind to something, I always win.’

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Pedro Balthazar, from Fareham, came out to celebrate his birthday – and left a champion, winning the speed flip category with a time of 10.04 seconds.

The 41-year-old said: ‘My first time was 19 seconds.

Lynsey King with daughter Elizabeth (18 months) on her way to achieving 20 beer mats in the Master Flip challenge Picture: Duncan Shepherd

‘Then I got 15 seconds, then 12 seconds, and then 11 seconds.

‘My advice is just relax, and go with the flow.’

Both champions said they would return next year to defend their titles should the championship become an annual event.

Richard said: ‘We are thinking of holding it again next year – I’m just happy that people enjoyed themselves.’

Luke Collier Attemps 60 beer mats in the Master Flip Challenge. Picture: Duncan Shepherd

Landlord Shaun Annear, who runs the pub with his partner Kim, said he was looking for more ‘quirky’ events to host in the pub.

He said: ‘We’ve had a drag night and a Les Dawson-style piano performer – we’re always looking for events that are a little bit different and quirky.’

Sam Withers from Itchen attempts 50 beer mats in the master flip challenge. Picture: Duncan Shepherd