Four Shires Guild of Bell Ringers

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Two members of the Guild were invited to judge the Oxford Diocesan Guild's 8-bell Striking Competition on May 5th. The location was Witney and the test piece was a plain course of Cambridge Surprise Major. Chris Povey and Richard Lewis-Skeath went along to do the bizz. The ODG is one of the largest ringing organisations. It was founded in 1881 and has some notable ringers among its many members. No pressure on the judges then…

The weather was lovely that day. Alan Marchbank's organisation for the event was superb (Alan came along as the ODG's representative on the judging panel for the FSG's Inter-Shires Competition last November. Perhaps this was his revenge…).

As might be imagined there was some excellent ringing. The big problem is that the front-runners have little or no difference between them. Unless one of them has an uncharacteristic "crunch", half a mark can be significant. In these events it is vital to have two judges. National events (eg, the 12-bell comps) have at least three.

The results showed that even half a mark was too large, as only a quarter of a mark separated the top two teams! Was it nerve-wracking? Well, yes it was — there are a lot of very good ringers to face: 24 in the first three positions at least! Did we get it right? We believe so, particularly as there were no howls of derision when the results were announced.


presentation of the trophy

Patricia Newton of the High Wycombe team accepting the winner's cup from Richard L-S and Chris Povey.
(Photo with thanks to the ODG for permission to publish)