The Tewkesbury Shield 2013
When Harold Schofield and Roger Liddell suggested the idea of starting a bell ringing competition back in the early 1970s, I wonder if they ever thought that The Tewkesbury Shield Competition would still be going strong as it enters its 5th decade.
May 4th 2013 saw the 41st competition and, for the first time ever, all the teams taking part were chosen by ballot. The names pulled out of the hat included some who have entered the competition many times in the past, including the Worcestershire and Districts Association who have now taken part in every single competition. This year we were able to welcome two teams who were new to the competition, the Nottingham University Society and the Irish Association.
The test piece was a touch of Erin Caters, and Paul Flavell assisted by Richard Alton, came up with an excellent touch. At 366 changes it was just the right length, with cyclic course ends and loads of roll ups as a result. Erin is never an easy choice, being half the work of Stedman, but seemingly twice as hard to ring.
The judges, Robin Walker and Simon Woof, were hidden away in a nearby house listening to the 8 teams.
At the adjudication, Robin read out their comments on each team as follows :-
Team 1 (Oxford Diocesan Guild) Peal speed 3h27
Some careful opening rounds which settled to an agreed speed which remained steady. There was one moment when the tenor ringer tried to urge on the smaller bells which didn’t seem to be spreading the length of the change. Leading here was mostly consistent – only the occasional quick handstroke. The tenor ringer’s covering was consistent. Some little bell faults with quick backstrokes – notably the 1/9 dodges at the start of the 5th course. Very pleasant to listen to – most errors caused by one bell.
Team 2 (Leicester Diocesan Guild) 3h23
Started steadily but as it moved along, so the speed increased. The leading was very inconsistent – there was often some quite big gaps at handstroke and not all from the same bell. Some backstroke leads were wayward too. The covering was mostly good, but the band never really found a united rhythm. There was a lot of unevenness in the rows internally. We weren’t entirely convinced by the “numbers” at the end of the 4th course.
Team 3 ( Llandaff and Monmouth) 3h19
This started very briskly, and although not the fastest touch, there was the sense of urgency!! It settled quite well, but some small errors began to accumulate, mainly trips amongst the little bells – these were very prevalent. The leading was mostly good. The covering was mostly good. The tenor ringer set a fast pace, but the blemishes in the rows seriously affected the rhythm.
Team 4 (Irish Association) 3h24
This touch started quite well at a steady speed. Although the covering here was quite good, the rhythm didn’t settle easily because of method mistakes especially at the end of the 5th course and the start of the 6th. These errors cost the team dearly. The 978 in part 6 was quite rushed.
Team 5 (Nottingham University Society) 3h11
This team, which seemed to have practice time to spare (!) settled quickly. They rang plenty of rounds which turned out to pay them back in spades. Apart from one or two dropped backstrokes, the leading was consistent. The tenor ringer’s covering was very good and created a consistent rhythm which turned out to be the fastest of the day. There was very little spreading out of the rows and precious little in the way of method errors.
Team 6 (Worcestershire and Districts Association) 3h23
Another fine start here, but a little longer in the settling period. This piece of ringing didn’t sound at all rushed. Mostly accurate leading and good, steady and consistent covering. No detectable method errors in the piece of ringing and the fault rate diminished as the touch progressed.
Team 7 (University of London) 3h29
This touch started well after the initial rounds and the ringing settled to flow quite easily early on. The leading was mostly consistent and once again we heard some fine covering which helped produce some steady rhythmic ringing. Rows were mostly even. Overall, errors were caused by people falling off the blue line, notably in the 1st, 2nd and 4th courses. These errors cost them very dearly – precisely 2 position places!
Team 8 (Derby Diocesan Association) 3h30
This touch started well and settled into a rhythm very quickly. The leading was very consistent throughout – at most there were two dropped backstrokes! The covering in this touch was superbly metronomic and the rows were extremely even. There was no spreading out or bunching. An extremely fine piece of ringing.
Then Simon gave the numbers of faults for each team as follows :-
1st Derby Diocesan Association 15½ faults
2nd Nottingham University Society 22¼ faults
3rd Worcestershire & Districts Association 34 faults
4th University of London Society 43½ faults
5th Llandaff and Monmouth Association 44¼ faults
6th Oxford Diocesan Guild 47 faults
7th Irish Association 61¾ faults
8th Leicester Diocesan Association 67 faults
The Tewkesbury Shield Trophy was presented to the winning Derby team by Tewkesbury Town Mayor, Councilor Ken Powell, who’s Father used to ring at nearby towers many years ago. As a retired Fireman, he also urged those celebrating to drink carefully before going home.
Hugh Evans, the Chairman of the Gloucester and Bristol Association, gave a vote of thanks to all those who had helped with the competition, including the hard-pressed volunteers in the Abbey’s tea room.
Next year’s competition will be held on Saturday May 3rd, so teams wishing to enter in the draw for places should look out for the advert in October.
Congratulations to the Derby Diocesan Association team on winning this year’s competition!
The winning Derby Diocesan Association team.
The Nottingham University team – worthy runners up.