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Guild 8 Bell Striking Competition Final - 11th October 2014

The 2014 Guild Inter-Branch 8 bell striking competition was held at St. John the Evangelist, Washingborough on Saturday 11th October. 4 teams entered this year, these being the West Lindsey Branch, the Central Branch, the Eastern Branch and the Southern Branch. The test piece was 3 courses of Grandsire Triples, either 3 plain courses or a touch.

The members assembled in the Methodist Church Hall

I arrived early at the venue for tea, which was Washingborough Methodist Church Hall. Since the Ladies seemed to have everything under control, I supped some coffee and had a sandwich or two before making my way up to St. John's for our competition slot of 5:00pm. I arrived at the church and found several people waiting for someone to let them in, the someone being me. I had to use the church south porch door to gain access as unfortunately we have broken the large west door key that is usually used by the ringers.

Shortly before 5:00pm the Central Branch ringers assembled in the tower and we prepared to ring our practice piece. Now the Central Branch (controversially) were heavily penalised last year for going over the allowed 3 minutes practice time. I was determined not to do that, so I had my phone set up as a countdown timer in the middle of the floor. I set it going at 3:30 and when we got down to about 3:00 the treble ringer started us off in rounds. Now there had been some debate on whether or not you could do an entire course of Grandsire Triples in 3 minutes. I reckoned that you could and since I was calling it, I decided that that was what we would do as our practice piece. However we couldn't hang about in rounds for too long. 4 lots of rounds hand and back and I set us off into Grandsire. There was a bit of a kerfuffle in the middle, but we got through that and came back into rounds with about 12 seconds to go. I let it go hand and back at rounds a couple of times then called "Stand". The countdown timer counted from 0:03 to 0:02 to 0:01 and then the alarm went off. That'll do!

The treble ringer bonged the treble a few times to let the judges know we were ready and then we set off on our test piece. No hurry this time. Plenty of rounds to start with and then off into the touch, which was PPBBPPSSBBSPPSB just in case anyone was interested. It was all going reasonably well until the start of the last course where there was another kerfuffle, unfortunately cause by myself. Anyway I resolved that and we carried on and completed the test piece and then after a few rounds, we stood.

Southern and Central Branch teams exchange pleasantries

We exited the tower and found the Southern Branch team waiting in the Nave. We exchanged some pleasantries and then made our way down to the Methodist Church Hall, for some refreshments and some socialising. On the way down we could hear the Southern Branch doing their practice piece. Sounded nice!

Back at the Church Hall we chatted and consumed tea and coffee and assorted cold buffet items. The catering team appeared to have laid on enough sandwiches for the entire village and I doubted anyone would be going hungry.

Just after 6:00pm I decided to do my churchwarden's bit and go and put the floodlighting on outside the church, so members would be able to see on their way out. When I got up there the Eastern Branch had just finished. I decided to wait about since I would have to lock up the church anyway. The last team (West Lindsey) turned up in plenty of time for their 6:30 slot. Not having a lot else to do I sat and listened to their test piece. Crikey! They were sounding a bit good. In fact I couldn't fault them. They eventually stood and came down the tower. They looked pleased and so they should. It was a cracking piece of ringing. I waited until everyone had left, then locked up the church and accompanied Sandra Underwood (who had been stewarding) back to the Methodist Church.

Things were a lot livelier now all 4 teams were present. I noticed a couple of Elloe ringers who had helped ring in the Southern Branch team. Eventually the Northern Branch contingency arrived in the shape of Roger and Joy Lord, accompanied by Andrew Lord. It transpired that Roger and Andrew had been the striking competition judges and Joy (to her immense credit) had remained silent for over 2 hours.

While everyone was eating, the raffle was drawn and the 100 club draw was also drawn. After everyone had eaten the Guild Master, Alan Payne stood up and called the meeting to order.

The Henry Law James Shield
Alan introduces Roger and Andrew Lord

He started off by introducing the judges who were Roger and Andrew Lord. Apparently the original judges had to drop out and Roger and Andrew Lord had been called upon at only 24 hours' notice to judge the competition.

He went on to thank the incumbents of Washingborough and Waddington for use of the bells. There had been open ringing at Waddington, although it turned out that no one had made use of the bells there. I felt compelled to point out that Alan could not technically thank the incumbent of Washingborough since we are in Interregnum at the moment and have no incumbent. Alan thanked the Washingborough churchwardens instead.

Alan then thanked the ladies (Dot Mason, Chris Jackson and Sylvia Taylor) for the excellent buffet and copious amounts of tea and coffee. Alan then asked if anyone had any announcements before the judges gave the results.

Val Wild announced a forthcoming Guild fundraising event, this being the Race Night at Surfleet on 25th October. John Underwood said he has been to similar events and they are very good and worth attending.

Alan then handed over to Roger Lord.

Roger delivers his comments

Roger started by saying there had been some excellent ringing. Both he and Andrew had marked the ringing and then they compared notes afterwards. The practice piece was timed at 3 minutes and there were no disasters this year (Phew!). For the test piece only the first 210 rows were marked, although no one actually exceeded this number. Faults were either full faults for a crash or half fault for a clip or gap. This is pretty consistent with normal judging practice. Roger then went on to make some general comments about each team.

Team 1 (Central)

The practice time was 2 minutes 58 seconds. They made full use of the practice time. The practice piece fell apart a little bit towards the end but this is OK. In the test piece there was some excellent ringing. They collected more faults towards the end of the test piece especially in the last course where there was some unsettled ringing. The peal speed was 2 hours and 57 minutes.

Team 2 (Southern)

The practice time was 2 minutes and 44 seconds. It is important to make good use of your practice time. It was noted (and this was true of all the teams apart from the last team) that when the 7th is leading the backstroke lead tends to clip the tenor. The ringing in the test piece gradually improved as the test piece proceeded. There was some really excellent ringing. The peal speed was 2 hours and 57 minutes.

Team 3 (Eastern)

The practice time was 2 minutes and 33 seconds. They had considerable time left for practice. In the test piece there were a lot of faults in the first 4 leads. In the second course the ringing was very much improved, but there were some more faults in the last course. The peal speed was 2 hours and 58 minutes.

Team 4 (West Lindsey)

The practice time was 2 minutes and 55 seconds. They made good use of their practice time. They set off as though they meant business. There was a lot of good ringing in the practice piece. In the test piece there were hardly any faults at all in any of the courses. Those that were accumulated were all half faults. The peal speed was 2 hours and 57 minutes.

Roger handed over to Andrew to read out the scores for each team.

The Results for The Henry Law James Shield
West Lindsey

Andrew then presented the Henry Law James Shield to Chris Turner who came up to accept the Shield on behalf of the West Lindsey Branch team

Andrew presents Chris Turner with the Shield

Chris commented that the West Lindsey Branch have entered this competition every year and they have never won it. But they won it last year, but did they really? Did they just win it on a technicality? However there is no doubt that they won it this year.

The winning team

Alan then went on to present the judges with some tokens of appreciation. Andrew was presented with some beer even though Alan had been assured that Andrew didn't like beer. Roger and Joy also got something.

Alan then thanked everyone for coming and wished then a safe journey home.