Southern Universities Association Weekend: 12th-14th Nov 2010

This year it was decided that it was time for the UL to host the SUA competition. What could possibly go wrong?

The Friday ringing session was at St Mary-le-Bow, people just had to get there. It turned out that Bristol went to Hart Street Church for reasons best known to them, and the rest were just late! Eventually, keys, people (including what appeared to be several tons of baggage) arrived for some ringing. It turns out that Bow are quite challenging so we rang some rounds and call changes, possibly some Cinques and fired out Cambridge Max.

Unfortunately Charles had to book the upstairs room in Ye Olde Watling quite early so people had to leave and make use of the space (shame). Eventually the upstairs was crammed to bursting point with students, who proceeded to do exactly what students do! Most people returned to the church hall after this for sleep, I presume…

Southwark Tavern o’clock chimed for others who headed with speed to this establishment to find it too full for us. The more forward thinking people, The Camden and Poodle took a splinter group to the Blue Eyed Maid for all night karaoke action. In the end I believe two of this group slept up the tower at Hart Street…

Nine o’clock on Saturday morning meant it was time for the draw. As this took so little time, three keen and enthusiastic people went to try and ring a handbell quarter at Hart Street before the competition at eleven. This failed.

After an epic wait for the judge, Simon Bond, we were off. There isn’t much to say about the competition itself, apart from a band of bigheads who decided to ring 8-Spliced for their touch, which didn’t fire out. The UL touches, Plain Bob Major and call changes were perfectly acceptable and allowed Harry to ring in his first striking competition.

The lunchtime gap in the Crosse Keys did not seem to help the quality of the ringing produced by most, except the Cambridge lot who were observed to be drinking coke and working!!! The six-bell competition was held at the new six at St Katherine Cree a short walk from the pub, so teams disappeared for a while to ring and returned.

The results came out as Cambridge winning everything, the UL coming 3rd and 6th in the eight bell; 4 in the six bell. The six-bell judge Tom Lawrence commented that the band who tried to ring I’d rather be in The Tavern TB Minor was awarded marks based on originality not striking!

With the formalities over, a disco was arranged in the Church hall with the usual S Club 7, Wurzels, something else that got us dancing away and a complaint to get the police involved. Oops! I cannot recall any particularly embarrassing behaviour by anybody. Only Mariko managed to win the title of Captain Vom; and Southampton went home.

Sunday morning arrived, and the hordes descended on Southwark Cathedral for service ringing, totally bemusing the tower captain, Peter Valuks. Then people set a course for home, and that was that for another year.

A big thank you should go to Charles Herriott and Rupert Littlewood for organising such a good weekend; the judges and the rector at Hart Street who allowed us to occupy the Church Hall.

By Andrew Hills