In contrast to last year’s washout, 2nd September was a fine late summer evening.
Three teams from different towers in the Bicester Branch assembled from 5.30 at Islip, who were hosting this year’s event. Last year’s champions Bicester were unable to field a team, and a new team: Kirtlington/Bletchingdon had thrown down the challenge to the two other experienced teams: Ludgershall and Islip, who had won the competition several times in the recent past. The hosts had also implemented a cunning plan to change the bell ropes a few days before the competition.
Each of the competing teams was allowed three minutes practice, then stand, followed by ringing the treble. The scored elements consisted of one minute of rounds going straight into a 120 touch of a method or set of call changes, aiming to complete the set within 5 minutes.
First to ring was the band of Ludgershall, with highly experienced and skilful ringers. The shield was theirs to lose as they chose to ring a 120 change touch of Plain Bob Doubles
Next were the newcomers, Kirtlington, three of whom had never been in a striking competition. The team rang the set of Ely call changes.
Finally it was Islip’s turn to showcase their skills. After their minute of rounds the team rang four plain courses of Grandsire Doubles.
Hugh Deam, Judy and Paulina made up the judging panel, and while marking fairly and scrupulously, very much entered into the relaxed spirit of the occasion. Our President, Willie Haynes undertook the role of steward.
After completing their striking the teams repaired to Sally Wale’s house, Sally having very kindly opened her house and gardens for the ringers and associated parties. There was a barbecue expertly managed by Peter (a specially imported Australian for the occasion), a plentiful selection of fine desserts and a well-stocked drinks table.
When everyone was suitably refreshed, the judges announced their deliberations. The winning team was Ludgershall, achieving scores of 90% and 80% for rounds and method sections, respectively. The team won a bottle of champagne, the promise of receiving the competition shield from the outgoing champions, and the opportunity to represent the branch at the Guild Striking competition.
Islip were a close second, achieving the highest score (82%) for the method section, but a lower score (84%) for rounds.
The new team, Kirtlington in the words of Branch President “did not disgrace themselves by any means” and achieved 88% in rounds, however it incurred additional penalties late on in the call changes section.
Ludgershall: Richard Haseldine, Jan Haseldine, Anne Martin, Jill Bailey, Andy Windmill, Jeremy Adams
Islip: Teresa Carter, Kathryn Grant, Sally Wale, Ricky Shaw, James Carter, Mike MacArthur,
Kirtlington: Steve Vickars, Judith Vickars, Caroline Cater, Ernie Cannings, Kathryn Grant, Jeremy Adams
Band A (Ludgershall) – Rounds 90% Method / Changes 80% (1)
Band C (Islip) – Rounds 84% Method / Changes 82% (2)
Band B (Kirtlington/Bletchingdon) – Rounds 88% Method / Changes 70% (3)
– Band A: rounds 1 min 5 sec, rest 4 min 50 sec;
– Band B: rounds 1 min 0 sec, rest 7 min 8 sec;
– Band C: rounds 1 min 2 sec, rest 4 min 36 sec.
The winning team receiving their prize
The judging party discussing detailed rules with Kirtlington