Braintree (Essex) 2021

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Date: Saturday 13th November 2021
Venue: St Michael’s Church House, Braintree, CM7 1EY (Google Maps link).
Admission: £10pp; discounts available for larger groups (please enquire).
Start time: Doors open 10:30 for Round 1 draw at 11:15.
Parking on site? No. Please use a nearby car park, such as Braintree railway station, which is chargeable.
Refreshments provided? Tea, coffee and soft drinks will be available free of charge from the kitchen. Lunch is not provided.
Accommodation available? Guesthouses and hotels are available nearby (please enquire).
Finish time: 18:00
Hosted by: Jeff Clayton and Rachel Perkins
Games to be played: 6, plus Grand Final
Wheelchair accessible?: Yes
Train connections: Braintree station – direct service from London Liverpool Street, or change at Witham off main line services from Ipswich and Norwich.
Bus connections: First 70 from Chelmsford or Colchester, Arriva 133 from Stansted Airport.

FOCAL returns to the delightful market town of Braintree on Saturday 13th November. Hosted by Braintree’s answer to “Jeff & Rachel”, Jeff Clayton and Rachel Perkins will host this tournament in the main hall at Church House, next to St Michael’s Church.

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Jeff, Rachel and sign-up number 1, James Robinson

Getting to the venue

If you’re coming by car, chargeable parking is  available nearby at the railway station (CM7 3QL – £2.50 for 24 hours from 07:00) which offers the best value. Alternatively, use the George Yard Shopping Centre multi-storey (CM7 1GF – £6.00, locked at 19:30). Allow 10 minutes to walk to/from either.

Braintree has a direct, hourly rail service from London Liverpool Street, then it’s a short walk uphill to Church House. Super off-peak discounted fares are usually available from Abellio Greater Anglia on Saturdays. We would recommend the 09:47 from London Liverpool Street (10:34 from Witham), arriving into Braintree at 10:50.

If you’re coming from the Midlands, the North, or even further afield, there’s an hourly bus 133 to/from Stansted Airport which stops nearby in the town centre.

 When do I need to be there?

Doors open from 10:30 and you can enjoy a hot or cold drink from the kitchen before we get underway at 11:15. After introductions, we’ll generate a random draw for the first round matches.

How does it work?
We’ll be using what’s called the Lincoln format – three players to a table, each with a set of the board game. One adjudicates while the other two play, and everyone rotates. So, you’ll play two matches and host one at a table, and visit three tables over the course of the day.

All matches will consists of nine rounds — six letters games, two numbers games and a conundrum (LLLNLLLNC) and each player takes turns to pick the selections.

Chris sets out the letters for Loz and Michelle during a match at a previous Lincoln tournament; each will have hosted one game and played two in this group.

We’ll stop for lunch after Round 1 towards 12:45 — you can either order something off the menu, or take a stroll towards Sainsbury’s, or the High Street, with an array of coffee shops and cafés. The Saturday market will also be in full flow down towards the Town Hall — all a short walk away.

There’ll be another short break after Round 2 towards 14:45, then again after Round 3 at 16:30. Sometime towards 17:00, the two highest performing contestants will contest a Grand Final in front of a captive audience to decide the overall winner.

How does the Grand Final play out?
This will be a longer match — 14 rounds, consisting of eight letters games, four numbers games and two conundrums (LLNLLNCLLNLLNC). We’ll be using big screen graphics and playing the game much like you would see on TV, so it’s sure to be a great spectacle to round off the contest.

Timetable for the day:
10:30 Doors open; tea/coffee available from the bar
11:15 Welcome, followed by Round 1 draw.
11:30 Round 1
12:45 Lunchtime
13:45 Round 2
15:00 Break
15:15 Round 3
16:30 Break
17:00 Grand Final (14 rounds)
17:30 Prize giving
18:00 End


You can book your place with host Jeff using PayPal:

·         £10 for an individual booking;

·         If you wish to book a larger group, please email Jeff to discuss rates.

Please remember to select the “family/friends” option, as your contribution is voluntary to help cover Jeff’s personal costs of organising the event. Once all reasonable expenses have been met, the surplus will be donated to St. Michael’s Church.

What’s happening in the evening?
Jeff will arrange a group booking at a curry house in the town centre for 19:30. Interested? Let Jeff know if you want a seat at the table!

Staying over?

Why not make a weekend of it — there is a selection of farmhouses and old inns offering accommodation in the countryside around Braintree, as well as two Premier Inns and a Holiday Inn Express all just out of town off the A120. Parking is free at all of these larger name hotels, though we would recommend arranging taxis to get to/from the town centre if you’re not coming by car.

Any questions?

Attending or organising a FOCAL event is subject to the FOCAL Code of Conduct.

Last updated: 24/09/2021