Bournemouth 2018

FOCAL is back on the south coast this summer in picture perfect Bournemouth and we have a new venue!


Date: Saturday 18th August 2018
NEW VENUE: The Royal Bath Hotel, Bath Road, Bournemouth, BH1 2EW (website; location)
Admission: £12 by PayPal (cold drinks available on arrival; price does not include lunch)
Doors open: 10:00
Start time:
11:00 (or sooner if everyone has arrived!)
Lunch break: 13:30
Presented by: Sean Fletcher and Jeff Clayton
Format: Classroom, big screen graphics
Games to be played: 6 + Grand Final
Finishes by: 18:00
Wheelchair accessible?: Yes ♿️

This tournament will take place in the Mirabelle Suite at The Royal Bath Hotel, ideally located within walking distance of Bournemouth rail & coach station, town centre and right next to the pier and seafront.

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So why not consider a weekend break and sample all that Bournemouth has to offer?

royal bath

How to play
This tournament is played in classroom format — in pairs, facing our big screen graphics.
Everybody in the room will get the chance to pick selections of letters and numbers during the day.

Format: Heats
Everybody will be drawn randomly into groups of four, at or just before 11:00, to play three heats matches in the first part of the day.

Games 1, 2 and 3 are all 15-round matches, as per the current television format (10L 4N 1C) so the objective here is to get as many points as you can, to qualify as high as you can for the Divisions.

And if you want to keep your brain busy between matches, Sean will be preparing a free celebrity-themed crossword for you to tackle!

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Format: Finals
At the end of the three heats, everyone is put into rank order by the number of wins, total points scored and +/- points difference. We then create divisions of eight for the quarter-finals onwards.

The winner from each heats group will go into Division A automatically. How many divisions there are will depend on how many people sign up, so spread the word! We can take 32 entrants and that means we could have up to four divisions in the second part of the day:

Game 4: 9-round quarter-final (6L 2N 1C),
Game 5: 9-round semi-final, and
Game 6: 14-round final (8L 4N 2C).

CoBo2017_RobFoster_winnerHosts Jeff Clayton and Sean Fletcher congratulate Rob Foster on winning the inaugural Bournemouth tournament last year. Will he be back in 2018 to defend his title…?

Is this a knockout competition? What if I lose early doors??
We use Swiss format rules, so even if you get beaten along the way, you will get to play right until the end of the day and vie for position in the final table.

The quarter-final and semi-final matches are shorter than the heats, so seize your chance to get ahead of your opponent with that risky word or a harder numbers selection!

The final is longer again but with a broader mix of letters, numbers and conundrums to round the day off.

The two finalists in Group A will sit out Game 6, to play the tournament’s showpiece Grand Final at 17:00 — an exhibition match in front of a captive audience. So if you don’t make the top two, why not recharge your glass, sit back and enjoy the show!

When does it start?
Doors open at 10:00 with free cold drinks available on arrival, for an 11:00 kick-off. We will break for lunch around 13:30, and conclude with the prizegiving by 18:00.

How much does it cost?
Admission costs just £12pp — this includes tea/coffee on arrival, but does not include lunch. The hotel offers its own lunch menu, and there is a choice of bars, coffee shops and sandwich shops in nearby Westover Road (leading to the town centre shops, 10 minute walk) or Lansdowne (15 minute walk).

You can secure your place now!

– By PayPal ( – please ensure that you select the “family/friends” option, otherwise a transfer fee is deducted and the full amount payable will not come through.
– By phone (07595 690 249);
– By cheque (address available on request).

We have capacity for 32 contestants, and spectators are also welcome.

How do I get there?
The Royal Bath Hotel is in a prime central location, between the rail and coach stations, seafront, town centre and Lansdowne all with ranges of bars, clubs and restaurants.
– If you’re travelling by train, get off at Bournemouth station and the hotel is a 15 minute walk from the forecourt. Bournemouth is served directly from London Waterloo, Basingstoke, Southampton, Reading, Oxford, Birmingham and Manchester.
– Bournemouth coach station is next to the railway station, with National Express routes from London Victoria (035, hourly), Heathrow and Gatwick Airports (205/6), the Midlands and the North.
– We would recommend arriving into Bournemouth no later than 10:30am.
– If you want a local bus connection instead of the walk, MoreBus and Yellow Buses both operate high frequency routes through the railway station towards the town centre. You can catch any bus from stand 5 on the forecourt – ask the driver for Bournemouth Pier.
– If you’re coming by car, parking is available next to the hotel (Bath Hill North, Bath Hill South) and along nearby Gervis Road, all of which is chargeable.

Where to stay:
There are lots of places to stay around central Bournemouth. The ones below are just some of those available within up to half an hour’s walk:
Orchid Hotel, Gervis Road.
Heathlands Hotel, Grove Road.
Yenton Hotel, a short walk along Gervis Road.
Hallmark Hotel, East Cliff – directions (there are also two other Hallmarks in Bournemouth).
Travelodge, Christchurch Roaddirections.
Hampton by Hilton, Landmarc – directions.
– No fewer than three Premier Inns at Bournemouth Central (nearest), Bournemouth East (a short walk along Christchurch Road) and Bournemouth West Cliff (a little further, past the pier and towards Westbourne).

You can also consider your options on the various hotel comparison websites and apps.

Views from the Ferris Wheel by the Pier last summer, looking east towards the Isle of Wight, and north over the Pavilion Theatre to the Winter Gardens and town centre.

What about the Saturday evening?
We have made a dinner reservation at The Coffee Club restaurant in nearby, trendy Westbourne for 19:30 — here’s their website.

coffee club

We’ll catch a bus from the town centre after the tournament, but it’s a nice 30-40 minute walk back afterwards, along the seafront and past the pier if you wish!

Why not have a look at their reviews on TripAdvisor?

If you would like to join our group, drop an email to Jeff.

If you need any help with planning your journey or your stay, please email An indication of whether you would be interested in the Saturday evening meal would also be useful.

We look forward to seeing you in Bournemouth this summer!