How it Works

First a bit of history: The idea for the ringing ladder was first put forward in early 2007, with invitations to teams going out towards the end of the year. Due to the relative paucity of entries, or at least the time taken to get enough entries to make the idea viable, not a lot was done until the beginning of 2009 when the first round of fixtures were due to take place, starting in March.

How does the ladder system actually work?

In simple terms the ladder works like a miniature version of a football league: there are several teams in a few groups with promotion and relegation between them. However, unlike football, there are three sets of groups running concurrently governed by what test piece is being rung. (The rules of the ladder are such that, in principle at least, additional groups can be formed.) There are three or four teams in each group and each team rings against the others in their group once (a total of six matches per group). Points are given to winning teams, but also to losing sides that finish closely to the winners. After all the fixtures have been rung, the team with the most points in a group gets promoted and the team with the fewest points gets relegated. Whilst this idea is simple enough, the devil is, as always, in the detail.

What happens at a fixture?

As the teams in a group only ring against each other once, each match takes place at a neutral tower on a date convenient to the two teams involved. Both teams endeavour to provide one judge, although if necessary one judge can be used. Both teams are allowed a short practice ring before they ring their test piece, and once both teams have rung the judges return their verdict. The result is given as the average of the two judges marks and since the judges don't know which order the teams rang in, the result is not properly known until the order is revealed at the end. It is usual at this juncture for the two teams, and judges, to retire to the nearest public house for refreshment after labour.

What are the three sections?

The three sets of groups correspond to the following three sections:

- A-section - Teams ring the full peal of sixties on thirds with a rise and lower in not less than 15 minutes. These rules are the same as for most call change competitions held in Devon throughout the year. Judging commences at the first blow and continues until all the bells have stopped chiming at the end of the peal, this includes any bells accidentally chiming after the ringers have stopped deliberately chiming the bells (so called 'chitters').
- B-section - Teams ring the full peal of sixties on thirds from the stay in not less than 10 minutes. Judging commences when the team ringing makes the first change and ceases when the bells return to rounds at the end of the peal.
- Round ringing section - Teams ring rounds for five minutes from the stay. Judging commences a minute after the bells have been pulled out and continues until the bells are returned to the stay; any bells that do not stand after this time are not judged.

How does the result affect the number of points given for the ladder?

The team that wins a match gets three points for the ladder. The number of points given to the losing side depends on the gap between the scores given by the judges. A losing side that finishes with less than one and a half times the number of faults that the winners scored get two points for the ladder, if their score is more than this but less than twice the winner's score one point is awarded for the league. Zero points are awarded if the loser's score is more than double the winners. In the event of a tie both teams score two and a half points for the league.

For example, Stoke Gabriel and Burrington ring against each other and the judges say that Stoke Gabriel win with 25 faults - they therefore receive three ladder points. So if Burrington's losing score is between 25 and a quarter and 37 and a half inclusive they get two points, if it is between 37 and three quarters and 50 faults inclusive they get one point and if it is over 50 points they get no points. Their actual losing score is announced as 48 and a half so they get just one point for the ladder.

For example, Stoke Gabriel and Burrington ring against each other and the judges say that Stoke Gabriel win with 25 faults - they therefore receive three ladder points. So if Burrington's losing score is between 25 and a quarter and 37 and a half inclusive they get two points, if it is between 37 and three quarters and 50 faults inclusive they get one point and if it is over 50 points they get no points. Their actual losing score is announced as 48 and a half so they get just one point for the ladder.

What happens in the event of a team not getting a result at a fixture?

If a team pulls out of the ladder all the fixtures the would have taken part in a recorded as walkovers to the remaining teams, with scores of fifty faults to half a fault, and the remaining teams get three ladder points as if they had won these fixtures. If a team doesn't manage to complete their test piece for whatever reason they are recorded as having exactly one more than twice the number of faults by the winning side and get no ladder points, this practice is solely used to make the software work and the league calculations easier.

What is the tie-break procedure for teams tied in the ladder?

Ties are resolved by placing the winner of the fixture between the two teams above the loser. If this does not resolve the tie the team with the least number of faults scored are placed highest. If the matter is still not resolved teams will be placed by the drawing of lots.

How do new entries get treated?

This has yet to be decided, but when the decision is made it will appear here!

A fictitious example season for one group

The teams in our fictional group are:

- Holne
- Ide
- Kingsteignton
- Stoke Gabriel

The psuedo-randomly generated results between the teams are as follows (I just stabbed the number-pad on the keyboad and the numbers which came up are what I used...):

- Stoke Gabriel 24 vs. Ide 60
- Kingsteignton 74 vs. Holne 45
- Stoke Gabriel 7.5 vs. Kingsteignton 5
- Ide 52 vs. Holne 15
- Stoke Gabriel 29 vs. Holne 29.5
- Kingsteignton 85 vs. Ide 75

These scores correspond to the following ladder points:

- Stoke Gabriel 3 vs. Ide 0
- Kingsteignton 1 vs. Holne 3
- Stoke Gabriel 2 vs. Kingsteignton 3
- Ide 0 vs. Holne 3
- Stoke Gabriel 3 vs. Holne 2
- Kingsteignton 2 vs. Ide 3

The points totals for each of the teams are therefore:

- Holne - 8
- Ide - 3
- Kingsteignton - 6
- Stoke Gabriel - 8

As Holne and Stoke Gabriel have tied on points, the result between them decides their final ladder placing. Stoke Gabriel beat Holne and therefore finish above them, and the final ladder is:

- 1st - Stoke Gabriel - 8
- 2nd - Holne - 8
- 3rd - Kingsteignton - 6
- 4th - Ide - 3