Following earlier elimination contests, one Sunday service band from each of six of the Guild's eight Districts met at New Alresford on October 14th, to compete for the handsome trophy which Mr. A. W. Alliston, of All Hallows', Whitchurch, has kindly presented to the Guild for annual competition.
The adjudicator, Mr. Frank Darby, of Croydon, and his marker, Norman Hayes, of North Stoneham, were already secreted in their listening post when the captains drew for order. As three of the competitors were to ring Doubles and the other three Triples, there was much speculation as to what complicated equipment would be used to balance the score. Someone suggested that Harold Chant and the Professor might be somewhere around with their formula for a "Compass Factor."
The first victims were sent up to the ringing chamber, to be confronted by none less than Charlie Kippin, who assured them his job was only to see that they played fair. (His restraint from commenting on the ringing, whilst in progress, was appreciated by all.)
In due course a few rounds issued forth, then a stop to make adjustments to ropes, and then the "Test":
Six whole pulls, the touch of Grandsire, six whole pulls and stand, followed by a gradual return of pulse rates to normal. The other five bands followed in turn: the Doubles bands rang 240's and the Triples 238's, their opponents sitting or walking in the sunshine, listening, criticising, hopeful or just resigned.
By about 4 p.m. the agony was ended and everyone suddenly became interested in tea. This had been prepared in a nearby hall, by some of the Competition Committee and some local ringers.
After tea came the presentation. Mr. Alliston formally handed the cup to Roger Savory, the Guild general secretary, expressing the hope that keen contests and a high standard of striking throughout the Guild would follow.
Opening his review of the afternoon's performance, Mr. Darby recalled Harold Chant's formula for the ideal adjudicator - "such a paragon of virtues that he probably does not exist" - apologised for his own shortcomings and then proceeded to pronounce judgment, and to give some constructive criticism of each band's ringing.
The winning District, after allowing for the "Compass Factor," was Southampton, represented by the Bishopstoke band, who had rung Triples in such fine style that nobody doubted the result. (Note.- It was reported in the "R.W." page 662, that St. Michael's, Southampton, won the eliminating round: they did, but subsequently withdrew, leaving Bishopstoke to represent the District.) Following closely were Basingstoke District (Overton band) and Andover District (Andover band), both of whom entered Doubles. The other Doubles band, Petersfield, made fourth place, and the Triples bands from Winchester and Fareham were in 5/6.
The applause which followed Mr. Darby's observations was a tribute as much to his good judgment as to his wit.
Mrs. Kippin was then called upon to present the cup, which she was specially proud to do, seeing that it was coming to her District. Most of the company then returned to the tower, where, later on, we had the pleasure of watching Mr. Darby call a touch of four Spliced Surprise Major with such calm assurance that any pin-pricks he may have inflicted were forgiven.
Somebody managed to make a recording of some of the ringing, including part of the winning touch, which we hope will survive to compare with future efforts.
W. O. H.
The Ringing World No. 2637, November 3, 1961, page 739