Central Branch Rabbits, 9th April 2016
Rather uncharacteristically for the webmaster I arrived early at S Michael & All Angels, Hackthorn. Way too early! In fact I was the only one there. I took a few pictures, attempted (unsuccessfully) to play the piano and generally mooched about until Margaret Parker arrived and opened up the tower.
Eventually a few more of us turned up and we went up to the ringing room to raise the bells. Since there was still quite a bit of time before the official start of the competition, we had a ring on the bells before going down stairs. They are lovely bells at Hackthorn and I would recommend them to anyone. Once downstairs, we gave our names to the Branch Ringing Master, Richard Spencer, for the draw.
Eventually Richard called us to order and the names were drawn, 5 teams in all. Once the teams were drawn, the competition began. Each team was allowed 3 minutes of practice time followed by a five minute test piece which had to be rounds and call changes. Anyone ringing a method would be disqualified.
While ringing was taking place, there were other activities including a treasure hunt, the marmalade judging contest, a raffle and refreshments. About a dozen or so different marmalades were laid out, along with "soldiers" of toast as an aide to sampling.
There was also opportunities to chat to our fellow ringers. It was good to see Jim Sutherland from Wragby mingling with his fellow ringers, although he declined offers to ring in the competition.
Eventually it was time for the last team to ring. This was the team I was in. I made my way up the stairs and waited for my fellow ringers to join me. I was asked to call some changes and as we settled down to ring I noticed a bit of a potential problem. Now the Rabbits competition is aimed specifically at new and perhaps therefore relatively inexperienced ringers. Everyone in this band had at least 20 years of ringing experience.
Still we rang our test piece and then went down. While we waited for the judge, the results of the treasure hunt and the marmalade competition were announced and the raffle was drawn. Richard then introduced the judge who was Philip Dawson from Dunholme. He was assisted by one of his young ringers who was doing the time keeping for him.
Philip opened by saying that perhaps the reason he had been asked to judge the Rabbits competition was because he tends to "rabbit" on a bit! We were all far too polite to disagree with him. Philip read out the scores and almost immediately there was some controversy. Team 2 had only rung for 3 minutes of their test piece and techincally had not completed the required piece of ringing. The 3 minutes they had rung for however were very good.
Some more controversy occured when the scores for the last team were read out which (not too surprisingly) had beaten everyone else, even team 2. It was like a scene from Prime Minister's question time, only conducted with more professionalism.
Before things got too out of hand, it was decided that team 5 were disqualified for not having any Rabbits in the team. Since no one could quite decide if team 2 should also be disqualified, a chocolate bunny was handed out to each of the youngsters.
That completed the competition. People started to make their way home, but a small group of us went up the tower to ring the bells down, while managing to fit in a crafty 120 of Grandsire Doubles in the process.
Jonathan Clark (webmaster)