Minutes of Spring Meeting April 2018

Spring Meeting 2018, 28th April, St John’s Jersey

Chair: Jane Le Conte, Master: Duncan Loweth, Sec: Helen McGregor, Treasurer: Mike Halsey, Newsletter Ed: Peter Bevis plus 21 members

Jane welcomed David & Felicity Warwick from Dorset who had come to judge the competition.

Apologies for absence had been received from Mike Bubb

The committee sought clarification of the wishes of the membership with regard to 3 of the current rules of the 8 bell competition:

  1. Should the committee continue to set a test piece or should the islands be free to decide on their own individual test piece (& if the latter should call changes be permissible)?
  2. Should we have only 3 teams take part (omitting the optional District Team) & if we scrap the District Team taking part should we permit a Scratch team instead?
  3. Should we continue to permit the 2 visiting teams to have 15 mins practice prior to the competition or should we give every team a 6 minute practice?

After a brief discussion the meeting voted by 10 votes to 6 to retain the committee setting the touch – and then unanimously to have only methods selected with no opportunity to ring call changes.

The meeting voted by 12 votes to 5 to scrap the 2 visiting bands having a 15 min practice slot preferring each team to have 6 mins.

The meeting voted by 15 votes to 0 to scrap a District team entering, there was no appetite to have a scratch team either  -in future the competition will comprise ONLY island teams

New members were then elected unanimously: St Anne’s Bobbie Allen & Oliver Knight, St John’s Eve Sproats, Ivan Sproats and Barnaby Sproats, Town Church  Joseph Blake – all to be probationary members

The teams were drawn to ring: First Jersey, Second was Alderney & Third was Guernsey. All 3 teams completed their test piece

David Warwick thanked the members for their welcome saying it was always a pleasure to return to Jersey. He hoped that their comments would be taken in the spirit in which they were given – they had sat in Duncan’s hire car and heard every change despite the buses passing nearby

Whilst ringing light bells it can be tricky to maintain a constant tempo. Consistent changes are easier on heavier bells but all 3 teams managed a good tempo. The method ringing had been accurate all afternoon. Having a set touch made life easier for the judges. The challenge for the teams had been to balance a sense of rhythm – to decide on the speed and consistent spacing. The ringing had to project a corporate unity and secondly to be accurate and even. Some teams managed better than others. When ringing triples how the tenor integrates with the rest of the band is vital – and the team must decide whether if one of the bells at the front of the change is late should everyone else hold up and conversely if some leading is rushed should everyone else close up? The tenor has a subtle job – do they play the part of a rigid metronome which may not do the team the best service or should there be some flexibility – it is for each team to decide how it is to be played out

Team 1, (Jsy) had a peal speed of 2hrs 55mins – a bit slow? This team did improve during their 6min practice session, on occasion their tenor was left behind. Once they embarked on their test piece the ringing was faster. The strengths of this team were the 6, 7, 5 coursing down to the front – particularly in the first and last lead when the treble wasn’t in the way. The little bells rang well together, what wasn’t so good was when the big bells were hunting up and the little bells coming down. The leading in the second and third course was very good. The little bells were less even but the relationship between the 5 & 6 was good. This team enjoyed their ringing

Team 2, (Ay). Their practice piece exhibited 2 speeds – the little bells were fast and the big bells were slower. They rang plain hunt to develop consistency, when they practiced the method they rang more slowly. For the test piece their rounds started less evenly – maybe they went into changes too soon? This team was deliberate and cautious, they were trying hard to be accurate but at the expense of the flow. Bells in 5ths, 6ths and 7ths place slowed down. The 3 & the 6 were pushing their handstroke leads. The tenor was very accurate. The lead end dodges were not clean. The final course saw the ringing speed up which improved the accuracy and quality of the ringing.

Team 3, (Gsy) A confident practice session – faster ringing than teams 1 & 2 and this evened out the rhythm. This team practiced hunting and rounds – the method mistakes in the practice session undermined their confidence. Their test piece was preceded by 26 changes in rounds despite which the 5 & 6 lacked evenness. During the test piece the 5, 6 & 7 were slower than the 1, 2, 3 & 4 – there was a dispute over the tempo. The treble didn’t always get to 7ths place, other bells slowed down but this improved as the ringing went along. Accuracy got in the way of a sense of flow. Confidence in the flow was impeded by the hesitations

We awarded 4 points of 2 bells clashed, 2 if there was uneven ringing but we awarded positive credit for flowing rows

Guernsey were awarded 46 faults, Alderney 29 & the Jack Worrall trophy to Jersey with only 10 faults

The raffle had been organised by William Read and Aaron Hallett, it raised £92 for the District Youth Travel Fund. These funds were further increased by the addition of £15 from lunch surplus = £107 J

Stephen Rossiter proposed a vote of thanks to the judges, to the Jersey ringers for hosting the day and to the Rector of St John’s for permitting the use of the church & bells