by Glyn Wade

Sort of…..

There was panic amongst the competition-centric clubs of Staffordshire when they heard the terrifying news that Willfield were finally entering their first ever interclub competition. This didn’t quite match the panic amongst our members, but that’s another story.

People join Willfield because they are not interested in competitions which makes us different from seemingly every other club who seem to be in constant judged battles between themselves and anyone else they can find. So getting enough members interested in battling it out with those clubs when we don’t even have in-club competitions didn’t result in an onslaught of volunteers. We did manage to get enough though and, okay, so the Competitons Secretary and his deputy were two of those as well as three other committee members, but hey.

Our entries were chosen by our competitions secretary and five of the six entrants met up at the Lea Hall, Rugeley one cold November night. There were quite a few people there in a large hall with rows and rows of quite comfortable seats.

We bought losing raffle tickets (and yes I did know that about mine at point of purchase…..but I keep trying….and donating to charity of course which is where the monies were heading). It was free to get in and hot drinks were only a quid with a free biscuit-not quite up to our Biscuit Fairy’s standards though.

We were welcomed by Alan from Blythe Bridge camera club and someone from the committee which was nice. We were even given a shout out in the introduction as we were debutants and everyone turned around to look at the weirdos on the back row. Well come on, there were no other clubs with blue beards, pierced noses or members as young as some of ours.

Then battle commenced. There were 12 clubs who had entered 10 pictures each and they were quickly projected onto the screen so the judge could get a quick look through. He then proceeded to critique each picture in turn before giving them a score out of 20, asking for his favourites to be held back for scoring later.

I’m sure no-one has ever agreed with everything a judge says and does and tonight was no exception but I don’t envy him his job. Thinking of something to say about 120 pictures and always saying something positive must be really difficult. He managed to be amusing as well as talking for a long time too. I did get confused by some of his ‘it’s not sharp’ and then giving a it a high mark scoring but his comments were fair and not like some of the horror stories I have heard from other competition entrants.

I did notice that some people had done their research into what pictures the judge takes and likes….could you not keep the judge’s name a secret until the night?? Tonight for example there were lots of sports photography…..we see you!!

About 21:35 and after a break at half way all marks but the finalists had been allocated so the judge then went back to the best fourteen… his opinion đź™‚ One of our members was amongst them but didn’t make the next cut as he whittled it down further giving three pictures full marks before picking a winner.

While the scores were counted I lost the raffle. Told you.

They then gave the winning picture a trophy before reading out the club scores and…..we weren’t last!! A healthy eleventh place and only a few points behind a few other teams was pretty good we thought. In fact we were only thirteen points behind the winning club and they were six points ahead of four teams in equal second place.

But better than not finishing last we were actually invited back! Will we go? We shall see if we get the interest. I enjoyed the experience and we were made to feel very welcome so thank you to everyone involved for that and running such a seamless competition.

Willfield have arrived on the competition scene but I can’t say what I was expecting to say which was ‘the only way is up.’