Rabbits Competition, Scothern, 27th May 2013
So what exactly is a "Rabbits" Competition? I had to confess that while I have known what it is for some time, I had no idea why it was called "Rabbits" until today.
Basically a group of ringers turn up and put their names down and then names are drawn at random out of a hat (like pulling a rabbit out of a hat - and hence the name), to form random teams of ringers to take part in the competition.
This means that luck is a fairly major factor in which teams might do well in the competition, but in fact it doesn't really matter, because it is a not ever so serious competition aimed largely at the less experienced ringers who might find a full on Striking Competition a bit daunting.
We arrived at St. Germain's, Scothern in plenty of time. Upon entering the church, we found the Branch Ringing Master (Richard Spencer) taking people's names for the competition. Once we had given our names there was about 30 minutes before the competition started, giving people an opportunity to stretch their legs a bit before starting.
Once Richard was sure that everyone had arrived, the teams were drawn and one member (known as "Big Bunny") was assigned to look after the ringing for that team. I was drawn in team 2 and got the job of Big Bunny.
The format follows that of standard Striking Competitions. Each team has 3 minutes to ring a practice piece, to familiarise themselves with the bells. Then you stand, ding the treble a couple of times to indicate to the judge that you are starting your test piece and then you start again, ringing for no longer than 5 minutes.
Obviously the test piece has to be something that the team can ring. We opted for Rounds and Call Changes, starting in Rounds then heading to Queens, Kings, Tittums and back into Rounds again just before our five minutes were up.
Once all the teams had competed, tea, coffee and cake was served by the local church members. Shortly afterwards the judge came in from where she had been sitting outside in the sunshine. This was Heather Blacklock and she proceeded to give her impressions on the ringing of each team, giving lots of positive feedback on the ringing. Team 2 won the competition and each member was given a large chocolate rabbit. There were commiseration prizes for the team that came last as well.
Once the prizes has been handed out, there was a brief business meeting before some open ringing on the bells
Jonathan Clark (webmaster)