King’s Lynn 2017

Our only East Anglian tournament is back for its hat-trick…

King’s Lynn 2016: Cheerful posing by finalists Callum and Stephen.

Date: Saturday 27th May 2017
Venue: The Great Hall, Thoresby College, King’s Lynn PE30 1HX
Admission: £12
Start time: Doors open 10.30am for an 11.15am start
Presented by: Community stalwart and eyelash king Mike Brown
Games to be played: 6
Finishes by: 6pm
Wheelchair accessible?: No 😦

Mike says: “Hi all,

It’s finally time (eight days later than last year!) for me to announce the third Countdown in King’s Lynn (or Co:KL for short), which once more will form part of the FOCAL calendar of events.

For those of you who are still not aware (even after last year), King’s Lynn is a town on the Wash in the west of Norfolk and is the birthplace of Captain Vancouver, who gave his name to the rather larger metropolis of Vancouver in the west of Canada. It used to be called Bishop’s Lynn (or Lynn Episcopi if you’re a Latin speaker) until 1204, when King John decided he’d name it after himself. Since last year’s Co:KL, King’s Lynn has decided to put up a statue in his honour, which is a slightly controversial choice, given his track record. Anyway, it’s a very nice statue and well worth a look.

This year’s event is taking place on Saturday 27th of May (i.e. the bank holiday weekend) and like last year (and the year before) will be a Lincoln/Edinburgh-style tournament, 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 Apterous word list, unless Oxford Dictionaries Online sorts itself out and becomes fully usable again.

Again like last year, proceedings will take place on the top floor of Thoresby College (aka The Great Hall) on the South Quay. We will have access to the kitchen on the ground floor, so free tea, coffee and soft drinks will be provided, as well as a few home-made cakes, unless I upset my better half shortly beforehand. The college is only a few minutes’ walk from the town centre and there will be plenty of time for anyone to go and buy a sandwich or pop into a cafe for lunch, or maybe even to indulge in a spot of retail therapy.

Unfortunately, the car parking at the venue is not for our use (it’s reserved for residents), but there is reasonably priced car parking nearby (Boal Quay (PE30 5AA) is probably the cheapest and most convenient for all-day parking). For lovers of nicotine, please note there is no smoking anywhere on the premises (including the courtyard and car park). More details of the building and its facilities can be found at The postcode for the college is PE30 1HX, but be warned the postal address is not the same as the entrance to the hall, which can be found on the quay (west) side the building.

King’s Lynn has a very good rail service to London (taking around 100 minutes) and a reasonable rail service to other parts of the country. If you’re thinking of coming by rail, but not via Cambridge or London, it might be worth investigating travelling to Peterborough and then bussing it to King’s Lynn (service X1) as the journey time may be shorter and may also cost you less if booking advance tickets – PM me if you need further details.

Despite what Jeremy Clarkson may have said in the past (and probably the late A.A. Gill), the road network does reach King’s Lynn and is served by the A10, A17 and A47, although if you’re expecting to see a motorway, you’ll have a long wait!

There are various places to stay locally, including a brand new Travelodge (although it’s not mega-central, being about a 15-minute walk into the town), a Premier Inn (which is effectively in the middle of nowhere unless you have access to a car) and some very nice privately-run guest houses and B&B’s. You can also stay at the Globe Hotel, which is very reasonable and also happens to house the Wetherspoon’s that seems to have become the de facto pre- and post-event pub. Unfortunately, the Maid’s Head, which several entrants went to in 2015, has just changed hands and at the time of writing no longer seems to be serving food.

I can recommend the local area if you fancy staying for a day or two afterwards. The Norfolk coast is outstanding, especially if you enjoy seeing wildlife or strolling along windswept beaches. It’s also not far from Sandringham House, which has some lovely woods which are free to stroll around – you can even see the sea! (Well, the Wash anyway, if that counts).

The entrance fee for the day remains at last year’s rate of £12 and 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, which 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!”

Former winners:
2016: Stephen Read
2015: Rob Foster

Find a report and videos from last year’s tournament here!