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8-Bell Striking Competition


This year’s Competition was held at Broadwell in the Witney & Woodstock branch on the morning of 20th May as part of the first joint Guild Activity Day, AGM, and 8-Bell Striking Competition.

The morning consisted of various open towers along with the Balscote ring and White’s of Appleton bell hangers workshop being open.

Broadwell is a newly rehung and augmented ring in the Witney and Woodstock Branch achieved using local bell ringing labour. The location for this was absolutely stunning. Refreshments and a delicious ploughman’s lunch were in the barn, just across the field from the Church. The Stallpit mini-ring was also available throughout the morning and afternoon. Such a lot of work had gone into the day by the Witney and Woodstock branch.

7 teams (out of a possible 15) took part in the 8 bell striking competition ringing 210 changes (5 courses) of Erin Triples. The judges were from Bristol – Colin Newman, Matt Jerome and Anna Sherwood. They said it was difficult to ring without mistakes but the overall quality was good. The three judges all agreed on the scores:

Team Comments Faults Team Placed
A Peal speed of 3hr 6, strong confident start, some methods mistakes but a good 4th course 45 Banbury Branch 5th
B Peal speed of 3hr 4, shaky start, some inconsistent leading  and mistakes 54 Oxford City 7th
C Peal speed of 3hr 6, grew in confidence. No faults. Accurate. 25 Newbury Branch 1st
D Peal speed of 3hr 1, solid structure. Excellent 4th and 5th course 27 Reading Branch 2nd
E Peal speed of 3hr 8, back bells worked well together. Consistent trips 43 North Bucks Branch 3rd
F Peal speed of 2hr 57, ambitious pace. Faults occurred, 4th & 5th courses were good 53 Vale of White Horse 6th
G Peal speed of 2hr 57, good rhythm, mistake in the third course. 4th & 5th courses were good 44 EBSB 4th

1st Place – Newbury Branch

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2nd Place – Reading Branch

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3rd Place – North Bucks Branch

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This year’s 8-Bell Competition was held in the Reading Branch at Goring-on-Thames followed by the A.G.M. in the Canterbury rooms adjacent to the church. This is the first time these two significant calendar events have been held sequentially. It was tried, this time successfully, to counter the effect of declining numbers at Guild meetings. Not only was the meeting quorate but the Canterbury Rooms were bursting at the seams with Guild members. Perhaps we were just pleased to see each other after so many virtual meetings.

In addition to this the competition attracted 10 teams, which must come close to being a record, though one had to withdraw with complications of an unspecified kind and I heard one member say, “I am the Covid substitute for Team X”. The surprise was that there weren’t more, since Covid is still ravaging local practices.

Our judges were Kate and Paul Flavell, who stepped into the breach, not for the first time and Paul announced that it would be their 90th Striking Competition, which must also be a record. However, they seemed very happy to be with us and were greeted with loud applause. No surprises at the outcome with EBSB placed first with 84%, Reading St Mary 2nd 82%, and Banbury Branch 3rd 79 %.

The winning EBSB team were; Treble Sheila Bruce, 2. Patricia M. Newton, 3. Angela M. Darvill, 4. Kenneth J. Darvill 5. John C. Davidge,6. Martin T. Whitaker, 7. James White, Tenor Robert H. Newton (c).

Unfortunately, the host team, Goring, didn’t complete the test piece. It is only recently that they lost their leader, Ian Judd, who would so much have enjoyed the afternoon.

Although Goring have quite rightly been considered by most Branch members to be a nice light ring, they have developed some falseness which found out a few teams who were not accustomed to ringing them. The judges commented on rushed leads, small bells not giving bigger bells enough room, varying speeds among the bells and, strangely, quite a few missed dodges in the set piece of Plain Bob Major. The test pieces were judged in percentages against perfect accuracy.

While the competition was taking place, there was handbell ringing in the churchyard, enjoyed by many in the afternoon sun. As if that wasn’t enough for the Goring competitors, they also produced a very welcome tea. Thank you, Josie and the Goring band!

Moving on to the AGM, Katie Lane, Master, started the meeting right on time. Business was brisk and new aims were stated for the Guild in line with recent CC developments. Top table had obviously put a great deal of thought into this and there wasn’t any dissent. Ken Darvill stood down as General Secretary after significant input over the years and Karen Pyle was elected in his place. Susan Read stood down as Assistant Treasurer but Stuart Gibson believed that he could manage the post as well as his own! David Smith of South Leigh was awarded a certificate of Distinguished Membership. The certificates for the 10-bell competition were those who had taken part and the meeting finished very punctually after about 45 minutes.

Bobbie May


St Thomas of Canterbury, Goring on Thames (8-0-21)
Saturday 21st May, 2022
Ringing 240 Bob Major
Judges: Paul Flavell and Kate Flavell

East Berks & South Bucks Branch
Treble: Sheila Bruce
2. Patricia M. Newton,
3. Angela M. Darvill
4. Kenneth J. Darvill
5. John C. Davidge
6. Martin T. Whitaker
7. James White
8. Robert H. Newton (c)



Reading St Mary
Treble: June A. Saint
2. June D. Wells
3. E. John Wells
4. Jennifer Ellis
5. Louise Ellis
6. Stephen Bennett
7. Peter R. Ellis
8. Stephen A. Rossiter (c)



Banbury Branch
Treble: Barry J. Davis
2. Lionel D. Smith
3. Elizabeth A. Smith
4. Heather Bletchley
5. Robert A. Reeves
6. Zoe Lee
7. Graham J. Clifton
8. Colin M. Lee (c)