The PAGB Interclub PDI Championships

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A “blow by blow” account of the day’s events at Warwick University on 16th July 2022

Eight members of Oldham PS travelled to Warwick on Saturday 16th July. We had qualified to represent the Lancashire and Cheshire Photographic Union, for the second year in a row, by our performance in our regional club competitions held in the spring. Some members were a little excited at the prospect of competing in this prestigious event and others just looking forward to a fabulous day out, seeing the best images that this country’s club photographers can produce and meeting friends, both old and new.

How it Works

The UK clubs’ umbrella organisation is the PAGB, which comprises 15 regional federations, with about 1000 member clubs between them. Each year, every Federation chooses two of its strongest clubs to compete in the Interclub PDI Championship, which is held at Warwick University Arts Centre. This selection is generally made by competition within the federation. Those 30 clubs are joined by the top scoring eight clubs from the previous event, assuming they accept the invitation to compete. Our federation, the L&CPU, already had Wigan 10 and Chorley pre-qualified by being placed in the top eight in the 2021 event. Poulton Le Fylde PS and Oldham PS were the two newly qualifying clubs who would join them this year.

Each competing club must submit a bank of 40 images beforehand, from which their entry is selected. The first part of the competition comprises two rounds of eight images from each club. The images are judged electronically by three judges selecting a mark from 2 to 5 for each piece of work, as they see the images projected. The marks for the two rounds are aggregated and the top eight clubs contest the main award, later in the afternoon (and they all have, of course, now pre-qualified for next year’s event).

The remaining clubs contest a second award, called the Plate Competition. This “runners up award” was just as important to us, because the Plate winner, for the first time this year, would also pre-qualify to enter next year.

On the Day – Our First Round

The first round had already been submitted before the day and was not allowed to be changed. We had decided to use some of our “bankers”, that is pictures that had scored highly in other competitions, especially at PAGB level, plus one new image to try out.

In each of the first two rounds, at least four different members must be represented and no more than two nature images may be used (darn it, nature is what we do!). Here is our first round…

You’re really looking for a total of around 104, for the eight images, to stay in contention for the top eight (an average of 13 marks per image). We scored 94 and were placed 23rd after this round 🙁 That was really a disappointment for the more competitive of us, and not at all where we wanted to be. We were already out of contention for the top eight.

Our Second Round

Many of our potential choices for round two were based on what has usually done well for us and was also theoretically building on our first round image choices, by putting in even more of our “bankers”…but our first round bankers hadn’t done at all well. So Mike and Christine got their heads down and swapped out a few images. Mike entered our selection, shown here.

We scored 102. When added to our first round score, this brought us up to 16th place. With a tie between two clubs at the top, actually ten went through to the final.

We now wanted to do as well as we could in the Plate Competition and enjoy the rest of our day out. For the Plate, we needed another set of eight images, no more than two per member, no more than two nature images. We were allowed to re-use four from the earlier rounds.

Lunch was great, sitting out in the sun and enjoying the company of one of the Welsh clubs.

The Plate Competition

This is our entry for the Plate.

We used work from nine different members over the day, including seven members in the Plate.

The star of our show was Ron Cliffe’s “Mating Dungflies”, which scored our only full 15 marks, just when we needed it, in the Plate round.

Mating Dung Flies by Ron Cliffe

So, how did we do?

Well, we won the Plate, of course, jointly with Poulton le Fylde, with 108 marks each in the final round. We will never know if we could have made better choices. It is difficult to say why one round scored 94, one 102 and one 108. It’s just down to the preferences of the judging panel on the day. This unpredictability is what makes competition unpalatable for some and exciting for others, but what is certain is that the cream usually rises to the top. The main event was a tie between Rolls Royce and Wigan 10, with Chorley also in the top ten. We’ll see you all at Warwick next year, where we will have six L&CPU clubs represented, four pre-qualifiers and two newly qualified.

For ourselves, a club who take most of our images in local parks and fields and photograph each other in our own homes, we can surely be very proud of our showing in 2022.

Oh, yes, the presentation photo.

Richard O’Meara of Poulton (left), Roger Parry, PAGB President (centre) and Christine Widdall, Oldham PS (right)
(Photo by Mike Lawrence)

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