Tewkesbury Shield 2014

Saturday 3 May dawned bright and early though clearly too early for some. Al our travel plans worked smoothly and all 10 of us reached Tewkesbury with plenty of time for breakfast in The Royal Hop Pole Weatherspoon’s.

The touch that had been designated for this years’ competition was Spliced Plain and Little Bob Royal, which in itself sounds relatively harmless, but not when the bells are thrown in and out of the mega tittums position by a fiendish series of calls probably generated by a half-cut algorithm. Unsurprisingly we struggled during our practices.

Anyway, after our breakfast, we headed toward the Abbey for the draw and came across Nigel and Jenny Herriott who said they had managed to fire the touch at their W&P earlier that morning. This was encouraging to us who hadn’t successfully completed it either! We were drawn just after lunch which allowed us to play several games of Croquet, and Frisbee whilst enjoying a lovely picnic provided by Katie Lane’s Mum.

Our turn came and we rang respectably, this was by no means the worst piece of ringing I have ever heard and more importantly it came round! I, our supporters and cheer leaders in the form of Rosemary Hill who was visiting from Spain that weekend must have helped!

What next but to beer it up with a more traditional choice of pub – the Bell and a nice way to relax in the afternoon sunshine and prepare for the results. This year the judges were Nick Brown, Alastair Smith and Mark Regan.

I think at this point in this report I am obliged to censor the information I wrote down on the day about the judges’ comments. I will summarise them as critical and concise with strong negative associations toward each test piece. The breakdown of the results follows:

1st: Derby Diocesan Association (80%)
2nd: Oxford Diocesan Guild (78%)
3rd: St Martin’s Guild (73%)
4th: Winchester and Portsmouth Diocesan Guild (71%)
5th: Salisbury Diocesan Guild (65%)
6th: Welsh Colleges Society (62%)
7th: Sussex County Association (56%)
8th: University of London Society (53%)
Worcestershire and Districts Association (most unfortunately did not complete the touch)

After the results it was back to the Royal Hop Pope to top up the alcohol levels before the return trip to London. I think by this point I had had more gin than was strictly necessary and will encourage all users of public transport that the “please mind the gap” announcement is there for a reason!

After a last one for the road in the Fuller’s at Paddington we all went home (unfortunately not with a red-dressed Irish girl) after what was actually quite a fun day.

Thanks must go to Ryan for organising the band, tickets, and practices, and June Lane for the picnic.

By Andrew Hills