Cambridge 2018

(c) Sky News

Date: 16 June 2018
Venue: St. Philips Church Centre, 185 Mill Road, Cambridge CB1 3AN
Admission: £10; free tea/coffee/soft drinks from the kitchen all day.
Doors open: 10.30; draw 11.15; Round 1 11.30
Hosted by: Mike Brown
Games to be played: 6
Wheelchair accessible?: Yes

After three years hosting in King’s Lynn, Mike Brown is moving his East Anglian FOCAL Countdown event to Cambridge for June 2018. Here is his pitch for our newest event…

“With spring in the air (according to the calendar anyway), it’s finally time for me to announce the first-ever Countdown event to take place in the fine city of Cambridge.

Forming part of the FOCAL calendar of events, CoCam will take place on Saturday the 16th of June and, like the King’s Lynn events of previous years, will be a Lincoln/Edinburgh-style tournament (where everyone plays in groups of three with perhaps a Prune or two in residence), with everyone playing six 9-round games followed by a 15-round grand final for the top two players at the end of the day. The official arbiter for any word disputes on the day will be the English word list on Apterous.

The event will take place in the fabulous setting of the auditorium of the St. Philip’s Church Centre (, postcode CB1 3AN, which is a wonderfully bright and airy space with plenty of room for anyone wanting to stretch their legs without going outside! It also has two large TV screens which will be used to show the latest scores and free Wi-Fi. We will have access to a kitchen, so free tea, coffee and soft drinks will be provided, as well as a few home-made cakes. Lunch is not provided, but there are plenty of places on Mill Road to grab something to eat, including a branch of the Co-Op and several coffee outlets.

Unfortunately, there isn’t much car parking at the venue (I think it’s something like three spaces and I’ll be bagsying one of them!) and the local streets tend to be full of the locals’ vehicles, but the weekend parking charges at nearby Cambridge Station are a very reasonable £5 (that’s reasonable for Cambridge). There’s also the option of Park & Ride, but be warned that it tends to stop running in the early evening.

For those coming by train (which is very easy to do from London, taking around 60 minutes from King’s Cross), or parking their car at the station, the church is then a short walk away, taking around 13 minutes if you’re the little man on Google. The venue is fully accessible, so there should be no problems on that score. If anyone has particularly questions around travel, please let me know and I’ll answer them if I can, although I’m sure most people reading this will be pretty handy with a web browser at solving them without assistance!

I’m not an expert on possible places to stay, but both Travelodge and Premier Inn have infiltrated Cambridge and there’s a recently built Ibis at the railway station which is probably worth a look (I’ll certainly be doing so). You might also want to consider the Holiday Inn Express at the Airport as it’s not far away from the venue – and they might even let you leave your car there!

Of course, another reason (if you needed one) to visit Cambridge is to do the tourist thing and go and look at all the fabulous college buildings, go punting, find the mathematical bridge and England’s answer to the Bridge of Sighs, visit the Botanical Gardens, climb the tower of the church that chimes like Big Ben (and get one of the best views of the city), spot the pub where the discovery of DNA was announced, and, well, I could go on, but if you’re interested you’ll be googling everything already, and this is about Countdown …

There isn’t anything formally planned for post-event food and drink, but I’m always open to suggestions. There are several options close to the venue, but people might prefer to head into the centre and take over a section of Wetherspoon’s (The Regal on St. Andrew’s Street). Walking to the city centre from the venue takes around 25 minutes (if you define Wetherspoon’s as the centre), but buses do operate along Mill Road and there are always taxis available if required!

I’m pleased to be able to say that the entrance fee for the day is only £10, which you can pay me by PayPal in the usual way at Those of you who would prefer to pay by cheque can do so by sending me a PM and I’ll then let you know my snail-mail address.

The timetable for the day is likely to be the same as last year’s King’s Lynn event, which for those who sadly didn’t make it (or have forgotten) is as follows:

10.30 Doors open
11.15 Welcome / Round 1 Draw announced.
11.30 Round 1
12.50 Lunch
13.50 Round 2
15.10 Break
15.25 Round 3
16.45 Break
17.05 Grand Final (15 rounds)
17.30 Prizegiving
18.00 End / down the pub!

I look forward to seeing some of you there!


For other enquiries, please contact FOCAL and we will be happy to assist: