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Central 6-Bell Striking Competition at North Scarle
9th July 2016

All Saints, North Scarle

It looked like it could be a bit of wet afternoon as I made my way out to North Scarle for the Central Branch striking competition and half yearly meeting.

North Scarle were originally a three bell tower but thanks to much hard work over several years they are now an excellent little ring of 6. Although the ringing chamber is a bit cramped, they are a ground floor ring and so there is plenty of space in the church for people to sit and chat while ringing is taking place.

I arrived shortly before 3:00pm and found a lot of ringers already there. At 3:00pm the Branch Ringing Master (Richard Spencer) called the team leaders together to get the names of the teams entering.

The teams assemble

There were 4 teams, these being two teams from the Washingborough/Waddington cluster, which were simply named Washingborough and Waddington. There was a team from Welton and a local Swinderby/Eagle/North Scarle team.

The first team up was Washingborough led by myself. We were going to ring Grandsire Doubles. We did a 60 of Grandsire for the 3 minute practice to get used to the bells. Then we did a couple of dings of the treble and then we set off into our test piece. At about the first Bob the entire thing fell apart. Despite some valiant conducting by both me and Colin Ward, we had to declare the thing unsalvageable about 60 changes later and stood the bells. Ah well! You win some you lose some!

Competition in progress

Next up was Waddington, led by Sue Waterfall. They rang call changes and made a pretty decent job of it. They were followed by Welton and then the local band.

Despite Washingborough having made a complete "Horlicks" of it we were persuaded to ring again as a scratch team. This we agreed to, but only on the understanding that we would not be placed. This time the ringing proceeded reasonably smoothly and although there were a couple of clashes, we completed the test piece.

During the course of the competition, tea and coffee was served and a picnic took place in the church, although it had brightened up considerably and we could have gone outside.

There then followed a short service, led by Mick Stracey. He did not give an address, but read out a letter that had been written by a clergyman and published in the Ringing World. Jonathan Clark read the lesson and Les Townsend worked his usual magic on the organ, which is surprisingly loud for a small instrument with only four stops. Even when one of the notes stuck he was completely unfazed.

Catlin Mayer gives the results

Just before the meeting, the results were announced. The judge was Catlin Mayer from the Eastern Branch. She gave some positive feedback on the ringing and then announced the results.

The Results
Team
Tower
Faults
Team 1 Washingborough Disqualified
Team 2 Waddington 25 faults
Team 3 Welton 20 faults
Team 4 Local Band 20.5 faults
Team 5 Washingborough Scratch Team 13 faults (not eligible)

So Welton were declared the winners and received the trophy which is a silver tankard.

The Winning Band from Welton
From left to right: Hannah Watt, Sue Watt, Philip Dawson,
Laura Watt, Fiona Dawson, Margaret Neate

We then settled down for the meeting. Shortly after the meeting had started two problems became evident.

  1. We couldn't actually see the officers, because it had clouded over and it was dark in the church.
  2. We couldn't actually hear the officers, because a cockerel had decided to start crowing right outside the church door.

I decided to intervene at this point and dashed out of the door. There were actually two cockerels outside having some sort of competition of their own. They were "persuaded" to take it round the back of the church and while we could still hear them in the church it was much more muted than before. On the way back in to the church I tracked down the light switches and shed some light on the proceedings if not the officers at the front!

Ringing Master, Secretary and Chairperson

The meeting was quite a long one by half year standards and basically revolved about two subjects which were.

  1. Should the Central Branch go it alone with a Christmas Card this year?
  2. What format should the yearly meetings take?

At present there are 6 specific meetings a year (AGM, Rabbits, Half Year, Striking Competition, Quiz and Carol Service) and the rest of the year there are 6 general meetings with open ringing.

The options are:

  1. Just leave it as it is.
  2. Just have the 6 specific meetings.
  3. Just have the 6 specific meetings and ad-hoc targeted practices as required.
  4. Have the 6 specific meetings and make the other meetings targeted to suit the requirements of the branch.

Without going into too much detail the following conclusions were reached.

Christmas card - Yes go ahead, provided that we can be sure of at least a modest profit.

Meeting formats - option iv) seemed to be the favourite. There were a few provisos.

The majority of meetings should be held at towers with bells that are reasonably easy to ring. However we should not excluded difficult rings of bells entirely as they offer a different sort of challenge. When we are out and about ringing in other branches or even other counties, we will not always be able to ring on easy going peals of bells. An ability to handle more difficult rings is a necessary skill we should be learning. To be honest the meeting at Great Hale (a challenging ring of bells!) was quite well attended.

The target of the practice can be fairly broad. So for instance it may be a practice that concentrates on perhaps 2 particular methods, or it may be about teaching people to call changes or teaching how to call some basic touches. The chief problem is that in order to target a practice, the committee will require some feedback from the branch members (that's you lot out there!) on what you want. If you're struggling to get to grips with Bob Doubles then we'll have a targeted Bob Doubles practice, but you'll have to tell the committee. They're not telepathic, despite what you may have heard.

Anyway some feedback from the members is required in the next couple of months or so before the committee start planning next year's diary.

General Ringing after the meeting

The meeting was closed and some further ringing took place for an hour or so until things naturally wound down. We rang the bells down, thanked Soo Pendleton for the use thereof and adjourned to the White Hart for beer and to enthral the local population with tales of campanological derring do!

Jonathan Clark (webmaster)