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Guild 8 Bell Striking Competition - 1st October 2016

SS Peter & Paul, Ingoldmells

We arrived early at SS Peter & Paul, Ingoldmells. Spectacularly early in fact, like an hour before the competition. There were a few spots of rain as myself and Mr. Ward entered the church. Inside we found the Churchwarden and the two judges who had also arrived early. I set up the tower with another clock, the running order for the competition and the rules and then chatted to the judges for a while, while the Churchwarden plied me with coffee.

I was admiring the organ when the Churchwarden sidled up to me. "Do you play?" Well not really but apparently the local organist is quite keen for people to have a go on the instrument. Well it would be rude not to. So I rustled up a bit of an improvised version of Finlandia by Jean Sibelius and Largo from Xerxes by Handel. About this time a proper organist turns up in the shape of Les Townsend, so he has a go as well and makes much better use of the instrument than I ever could. Even later on David Braunton from Grantham turned up and gave a rendition of (amongst other things) Bach's Prelude and Fugue in F major. The bellringers organ appreciation society all agreed it was a fine instrument.

Les Townsend on the Organ

Anyway back to the important matter of bellringing, which is apparently why we were out here in the first place. I decided it was time to take the judges over to the Church Hall. It was no longer raining. It was absolutely heaving it down! Plus I hadn't brought a coat with me! Ah Well! Never mind! In the hall the Eastern Branch were busily preparing for the tea. I tracked down the local Tower Captain, Tony Barker and he showed the judges to a room at the back of the Church Hall where they could sit and listen to the bells.

A group of us then went back over to the church to get the bells up, thus ensuring I got even wetter. A crowd was starting to gather in the church and it was starting to get towards 5:00pm and the start of the competition. It was obvious that the first team up (Eastern) were lacking a few vital ringers, so I went back over to the Church Hall to see if I could locate them. They were busy with preparing tea, so I shooed them out over to the church and then went round to the back room to tell the judges that the competition was about to begin. Except there were no judges! I'm guessing they had decided that they couldn't hear the bells sufficiently well and had moved elsewhere.

The bells are rung up

The Eastern Branch set off into their practice piece. It sounded nice. So did the test piece for that matter, apart from the bit where an ambulance went by and drowned them out. The West Lindsey team were next up and I listened carefully to their test piece and about a course from the end I rounded up the Central Branch Red Team to go over to the church to ring. It was still raining!

Teams assemble to ring

Three minutes is not really long enough for a practice. This seems to come up a lot. We had managed an entire plain course in 3 minutes at Welbourn, by more or less going straight into changes, but the bells at Ingoldmells turn significantly slower than Welbourn and the best we could do was a bob course.

We stood just before our 3 minutes were up and chewed the fat for a couple of minutes before Les Townsend turned the treble over hand and back a couple of times at a positively funereal pace.

We then rang quite a few rounds to settle us down before setting off into our test piece of 210 changes. David Fox called a straightforward touch of BBP five times. We were nearing the end of the piece and there was some odd rumbling from above. Crickey! I hope that's not the bells. Anyway we finished the test piece and stood. There was still rumbling, then a bright flash and some definite banging! Apparently our ringing was so awesome it had started a thunder storm!

Outside the Central Branch Blue Team was more or less assembled, so we got out of their way and headed over to the hall. It was really lashing it down now! There had been the option to have Addlethorpe tower available for open ringing if people were interested, but it appeared that no one was really bothered about heading over there, so we abandoned that idea. Food from the buffet was consumed and coffee drunk while the last team (Southern) was sent over to the church.

Tea in the Church Hall

Eventually all 5 teams had rung and we didn't have to wait long before the judges appeared. They had parked their car round the back of the church to get a better position to hear the bells. While the judges grabbed a bite to eat, Alan Payne drew the raffle and then gave the answers to the quiz sheet that had been handed round at the start of the event. Dot Mason did the 100 club draw.

Alan then introduced the judges who were Derek and Sue Jones from Corby in Northamptonshire.

Alan Payne with the Henry Law James Shield

Sue started by thanking the Guild for inviting them to judge the competition. They had enjoyed listening to the ringing, despite the weather.

Derek also thanked the Guild and then made some overall comments on the ringing. Generally the ringing had been very pleasurable to listen to. Two of the bands rang touches of Grandsire while the remaining three bands rang plain courses. The leading was good. There were occasional clips and gaps and one or two teams had a tendency to bunch up in places. The practice piece in all cases was not as good as the test piece, which is how it should be. Derek then commented on the amount of rounds at the start of a test piece in that too many rounds at the start can be just as unsettling as too few. Derek then went on to comment on the individual teams.

The Judges, Derek and Sue Jones

Team 1 (Eastern) Peal Speed 3h06m

It was a good pace. The practice piece was a bit clippy. However the test piece was much better. There were a few clips but no clashes.

Team 2 (West Lindsey) Peal Speed 3h10m

More settled with a few rushed leads and a little bit of clipping. It never completely settled for more than a lead at a time, but really only talking about very minor faults here.

Team 3 (Central - Red) Peal Speed 3h23m

This team rang a touch. They rang much slower. The practice piece was steadier with a few gaps. There were a lot of rounds at the end of the practice. In the test piece there was some irregularity with a few gaps and rushed leads. There was one near crunch up at about change 160.

Team 4 (Central - Blue) Peal Speed 3h14m

In the practice, in the rounds there seemed to be two sets of 4 bells ringing, but that disappeared as soon as they went into changes. There were a lot of clips and faults mainly due to bells bunching up and a few full blown clashes.

Team 5 (Southern) Peal Speed 3h24m

This team rang at a stately place for the practice. There were a few clips and a few crunch moments. The test piece was rung at a very good pace. There were a few rushed leads, but it was nice to listen to and there were several leads with hardly any faults.

The Results

Sue Jones announced the results in reverse order.

The Results for The Henry Law James Shield
West Lindsey
Central (Red)
Central (Blue)

So the Eastern Branch won the Henry Law James Shield. Certificates had been produced for every team and these were handed to a representative from each team. Mick Smith came up to accept the Henry Law James Shield on behalf of the Eastern Branch team.

Sue & Derek present Mick Smith
from the Eastern Branch team
with the Henry Law James Shield
The winning team from left to right: Isabel Barker
Jo French, Helen Brotherton, Caitlin Meyer, Val Wild
Bill Brotherton, Mick Smith & Tony Barker

In fact the Eastern branch have made a clean sweep of the striking competitions this year, winning both the 6 bell and the 8 bell competitions. Derek and Sue were both presented with a little something by Alan Payes as a token of the Guild's appreciation.

The judges, Derek and Sue Jones
are presented with a little something

The bells had been left up and Derek and Sue had never rung the bells at Ingoldmells as an 8, only as a 6. We felt that we ought to remedy this, so a group of us went over and rang a variety of stuff including a touch of Bob Major and half courses of Lincolnshire and Cambridge Surprise Major. Colin Ward conducted two touches of Stedman Triples, apparently exhausting his entire repertoire.

It eventually got to about 8:00pm and many of us having some distance to go, we set off for home.

And yes it was still raining!