Tilehurst wins Reading Branch Striking Competition 2018

The 2018 Reading Branch Striking Competition took place at St John, Mortimer (six bells – 7-12-16), on Saturday 8th September.  The team from St Michael, Tilehurst, came first – and therefore should represent Reading Branch at the Oxford Diocesan Guild six-bell striking competition in October.  Many congratulations to the winning team!   This year, only three other teams took part: Goring, who came second; Mortimer, third, and St Mary and St Laurence, fourth.

Presentation of trophy
Presentation of trophy

Anna Sherwood, from the winning Tilehurst team, is presented with the Topper Trophy by judges Patricia and Robert Newton. Though only 18, Anna is a veteran of striking competitions, and rang for Tilehurst in 2016 and 2017. Her brother Tom, 15, rang the tenor.

Tilehurst also won in 2017, when Caversham came second, and in 2016, when Goring came second.    Bobbie May reports on this year’s completion – she also took all the photos:

Bobbie May:  For the first time the competition was held in the morning, at a time which would normally have been reserved for the Branch Practice. Four teams were involved but, unusually, most of the ‘big guns’ were missing, which might have had something to do with a peal that was taking place at St Laurence in Reading!

The judges were Patricia and Robert Newton from High Wycombe who are no strangers to Reading Branch striking competitions. Robert explained that they marked independently from each other and didn’t compare notes until it came to the adding up at the end in case they influenced each other. Fortunately, they put all the teams in the same order. Robert was complimentary about all the ringing and encouraging and Patricia gave out the results, having first put in a plug for the book stall situated in the back of the car!

The following results were achieved with the judges’ comments;

Ringing Order Team Comments Faults Placing
1 Goring A very good start and good ringing with only minor clips and faults. As it settled the nervousness disappeared but seemed to produce a few more blemishes. 39 2nd
2 Mortimer Very careful ringing and the ringers seemed to be ringing round each other to avoid faults thus stretching out the rows. Queens’ came up perfectly both times. 72 3rd
3 Tilehurst This team attacked the bells with the fastest ringing of the morning. This confident ringing barrelled along giving rise to very long passages of very settled ringing with only minor blemishes. 27 1st
4 St Mary/St Laurence This was very sedated and there were difficulties with over-all ringing. The second blow of a lead was consistently better than the rest of the row for whatever reason! 98 4th


The church was running a coffee morning and seemed quite pleased for the ringers to tag along and the local band was open-mouthed in the kitchen listening to some esoteric advice from our judges. They seemed to be heartened enough with their efforts to consider entering the eight-bell competition next year.

The ringers in the photos are named right to left in ringing order;

Tilehurst band
1st Tilehurst: Jenny Page 1, Eunice Wark 2, Colin Newman (C) 3, Mascot, Anna Sherwood 4, Colin Cairns 5, Tom Sherwood 6.
Goring band
2nd Goring; Andrea Gilbert 1, Antoinette Jackson 2, Wendy Middleton 3, Robin Middleton 4, William Harwin (C) 5, Josie Irving
Mortimer Band
3rd Mortimer: Penny Wallace 1, Janet Carless 2, Elaine Perkins 3, Peter MacNaughtan (C) 4, Nick Munson 5, Rex Haigh 6.
SMSL band
4th St Mary/St Laurence: Pam Williams-Jones 1, June Saint 2, Louise Ellis 3, Rose Anne Kimber 4, Steve Bennett (C) 5, Jennifer Ellis 6.