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8-Bell Striking Competition


ODG 8 Bell Striking Competition 18th May 2024 Stoke Poges

Seven bands gathered at Stoke Poges for the ODG 2024 8 bell striking competition.  The bells are a lovely 13cwt 8, and the test piece was St Clements College Bob major.  Several people mentioned this was a good choice as the dodging on the front would test striking, but it wasn’t too challenging for those less experienced bands.  The local ringers provided welcome refreshments throughout.  There were mixed reviews about the external staircase to access the tower!

The competition was judged by Chris Ridley and Caroline Prescott from the Surrey Association, and they said the ringing had been to a very good standard.  The results were as follows:

1st place – EBSB  91%– a confident performance which was good throughout.

2nd place – Reading Branch 89% – Good ringing throughout with just a few hesitations.

3rd Place – Newbury 82% – Good ringing overall but took some time to settle.

4th Place – North Bucks 79% – Consistent throughout with most faults being picked up while leading.

5th Place – Sonning Deanery 78% – The main faults came from hesitations, overall good ringing.

6th Place – Windsor Castle 76% – Most faults came early on and then it settled well.

7th Place – Oxford City – 72% – Most faults came early on, took a while to settle but had a strong finish.

Many thanks to the judges and organisers and the local band for providing the refreshments.

Lindsay Powell, Chief Steward.

1st Place – East Berks & South Bucks Branch

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EBSB band from left (treble to tenor) Tom Davies, Ann Davies, Fiona Wheeler, Angela M Darvill, Kenneth J Darvill, Matthew R Johnson, Stephen A Wheeler, Robert H Newton (c).

Robert Newton receiving the trophy on behalf of EBSB from the judges.

2nd Place – Reading Branch

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Reading band from left (treble to tenor) June Saint, June Wells, John Wells, Louise Ellis, Colin Cairns, James Champion, Douglas Beaumont, Stephen Rossiter (c).

3rd Place – Newbury Branch

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Newbury Band from left (treble to tenor) Mark Backhouse, Eleanor Rice, Rachel Backhouse, Rosamund Durham, Tony Skilton, John Durham, Mark Robins, Martin Rice (c).




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)