Chief Judge's Comments
by Simon Linford
Note: the official team photographs are published with this article in The Ringing World issue 5285 on pp 846-8. Some informal pictures are used here.
Team 1 (Jammy Dodgers) Call Changes Grade C
After a shaky practice, which of course we didn’t listen to, the band made a much more confident start. They headed for Tittums which is by far the most difficult of the ‘feature rows’. When they got there, the band tried to be very deliberate in their efforts to strike it well, with the effect that you slowed down and started to struggle. Then we headed for Queens and the ringing sped up a bit and the band showed more of its potential. We felt you could have been a bit more positive but well done for a good start.
Team 2 (Bedfordshire) Call Changes Grade B
Very positive start to the rounds and you waited before going into changes until you had got it just right. The back bells were being particularly positive as you moved to Queens. Not the best first Queens row but then it was good, and you stayed there for a while to show off. Then what happened?! May have been a communications failure here, which was a shame, but you recovered, had some reasonable Whittingtons and a very good musical and well struck finish.
Team 3 (Essex Young Eagles) Call Changes Grade B
I do like it when the back bells are moved first so the row develops from the back forward, and so we liked this set of changes. A nice start, with few serious errors - just a steady accumulation of minor ones, and some consistent quickness. We thought the back bells wanted to go slightly slower than the front ones. Whittingtons first, then Tittums, and finally we heard someone other than the treble leading as the third made a couple of cameo appearances in first place. Overall this was a solid, pleasing, if slightly frustrating piece.
Team 4 (The G. & B.) Grandsire Triples Grade A* (76%)
Team 4 treated us to some Grandsire Triples, and indeed it was a treat. It may have started with a long motivational team talk which settled the band down into a very good touch, punctuated only by minor faults. This band realised the benefit of putting one of their best ringers on the treble, which was very well rung. Very nice roll ups, positive beat from the tenor, got better and better and a great last lead. Very good indeed.
Team 5 (St Martin's Youths) Call Changes Grade C
A bit quicker than previous call change bands and a good speed for the bells. Thought this might have been a less experienced band because a few errors were clearly bell-control related rather than just striking, but there were some well-struck rows as well, so this band is clearly capable. This was a tactically designed set of call changes. If this had been wedding ringing the audience listening outside would have been perfectly happy, although you short-changed the bride a bit by only ringing 148 rows! Good effort.
Team 6 (Sussex Young Ringers) Call Changes Grade A (70%)
This team maybe learned the best speed for the bells from Team 5. The rounds were full of anticipation and we weren’t disappointed. Well controlled treble ringing, the second was excellent in the Queens, and the ringing was very good up to this point. There was then a weaker patch as you came out of Queens – not sure what happened there – before an excellent Whittingtons section and a good finish. But you would have had even more of your wedding money docked than Team 5! Only 138 changes! Which may have cost you a star ...
Team 7 (Derby Tups) Call Changes Grade A (67%)
Signal, laughter, probably a bit of faffing about, and then a nice confident start. This is an elegant route to Whittingtons, lingering over the very good 7568s, although there were then a couple of clumsy transitions after that. Whittingtons was rung well, Queens not quite so good but then it is more difficult to strike. Overall there were only minor hesitations and clips in this, treble was rung well again, and we reckoned that with maybe more practice on the bells this could have gone from very good to excellent.
Team 8 (Suffolk Guild) Plain Bob Triples Grade C+
Well done Team 8 for going for method ringing. There was some nice stuff in this – we all commented on the 5678s being good, but it never quite settled down into a rhythm and picked up quite a few faults. The ends of the rows strung out a bit so the start of the next row got clobbered, and there was a mistake but don’t worry – mistakes corrected quickly don’t hurt too much. So well done for method ringing, and for listening to the things your conductor was saying.
Team 9 (Hertfordshire) Call Changes Grade B
The conductor waited until they were completely satisfied with the rounds before starting the call changes. This was a good, confident piece of ringing, made all the better for hearing Kings for the first time in the day. So well done for letting someone else lead! There wasn’t always complete agreement as to the pace of the ringing, and the faults tended to be at the changes, a couple of which were a bit clumsy. This wasn’t far off being very good, especially with more focus on the changes.
Team 10 (King Edward VI School) Call Changes Grade C-
These call changes started after a short break. We felt that this was a bit breathless, and you actually rang quite an ambitious set of changes. It was never quite under control, and we got the impression that panic set in once or twice. Kings was the bonus feature, albeit a slightly crunchy bonus feature. Treble and tenor did well to hold this together at the front and the end of the change, although when the treble was called off the front I think there was an element of protest! Well done though.
Team 11 (Lincolnshire Poachers) Call Changes Grade B
I have to comment on the practice, which curiously started with a whole pull on each bell in descending order, and then a comedy signal! And then an innovative triple change start into the call changes! After all this excitement things settled down, and this band definitely knew what it was trying to achieve. They were elegant call changes, maximising the feature rows, but with small faults sprinkled through. Good contest ringing, and of course would make good service ringing. The few too many clips though meant that this fell just short of its obvious potential.
Team 12 (Vectis Youths) Call Changes Grade C-
I think it is fair to say that you struggled a bit. You actually rang for a very long time – over 250 changes! The tenor kept a steady beat, but quite a few of the bells were dropping, especially at backstroke, and this made the ringing fall over itself. Tittums is the most adventurous feature row, so well done for including that. This was getting better towards the end, and for what I expect was an inexperienced band, was a commendable try.
Team 13 (Georges & Dragons) Call Changes Grade B
What a fantastic pull off! How to attract the attention of the judges! I thought that if they can carry on like that it could be awesome. It was a good start, certainly up to the Queens. Surprisingly the Queens was never quite perfect. The ringing went off the boil slightly after that, with a couple of not so good changeovers as 3, 5 and 7 swapped round. You were showing off a bit ringing all three feature changes! This wasn’t as awesome as we had hoped, but it was still a good piece of ringing.
Team 14 (Yorkshire Puds) Call Changes Grade B
This team got stuck into their call changes quickly, and this was a well-controlled piece, always there or thereabouts, without quite reaching the promised land. There weren’t really any bad rows to speak of, and plenty of good ones, but no perfect ones. You did ring the best Tittums row of the day, and were the only team to include Hagdyke. So this was solid and professional, and just needed a bit more polish.
Team 15 (Oxford D.G.) Plain Bob Triples Grade B
Team 15 finished off the day with some more Plain Bob Triples, and I was very pleased to hear the more musical use of the Singles. This was very stately, probably too stately because these light bells are difficult to strike at this speed. So you did incur hesitations and clips as you went along. The 6578s around the half way point came up well, and the last lead was a good finish. As I said, it is difficult to ring this slowly, and this was a valiant attempt to do so.