Many thanks to Ian Munro for submitting this report of Inn Focus’ day at the National DPI Championships at Warwick.
For Inn Focus Warwick and Connahâ€™s Quay are both priority each year and itâ€™s easy to see why when you get there. After leaving on Friday afternoon we arrived in Warwick the evening before where we set out to destroy a few beers and an Indian meal. We try and make it a big social event and try and get the wives and friends involved. This was our second year in succession and we felt we had a stronger image base to compete. Also it had a different feel because Tenby were there again and also for the first time Ebbw Vale were there to help the Welsh represent at this level, which was great.
The day came and we rolled up on a scorching morning at 9:15 to get our name badges and a general mooch about and mingle. I canâ€™t say how good it was to have familiar faces there from the WPF scene. Two members from The Vale always come along to support us and were there again so thanks Ed and Jan Cawley for the encouragement. After a small wait to get into the lecture hall which is a fantastic venue at the university we were greeted by the Wigan 10. There were the usual mind games with them sticking their usual â€œreservedâ€ stickers on the seats behind the judges. This way they can see what each judge is pressing on their score buttons. The room itself was extremely hot and we found the Permajet leaflets very useful as a fan. After the usual acknowledgements we were on with the show and the nerves kicked in.
Round one did not go to plan and we felt that we had a few harsh scores, and so did everyone else. A solid score was 11 and a good score was 12 but all in they ranged from 8 to 14. Very few 14â€™s were given in the first round but Smethwick and Wigan seemed to get a fair share of 13â€™s and 14â€™s which left us on the back foot from the off. Unfortunately we received a 9 for a previous award winning image and to make that deficit back was a bridge too far. After the first round the one thing we noticed was that wildlife images of superb quality were getting hammered by every club including Wigan. A PAGB Award winning wildlife image of ours got 11 so this forced a change of plan for round 2. Oddly enough landscapes were scoring 12â€™s and 13â€™s often so that was the card we played and it boosted our second round. After my image scored a maximum 15 it pushed us up the placings but would it be enough. The image in question was a creative image titled â€œThe Irony Of Ironingâ€. Sadly it wasnâ€™t enough to break into the top 8 and we finished 4 points outside in 10th place. That 9 score proved to bite us on the bum!
After the obvious disappointment we pulled ourselves together for the plate competition along with Ebbw Vale and Tenby. We felt by finishing so close to the finalists, the plate was in our own hands providing we played to the judges by putting creative and landscape images in mostly. With a final round of 104 it was enough to seal the win and whilst it wasnâ€™t what we wanted in terms of placement in the finals, we realised we beat some big pedigree clubs to get this.
Wigan 10 went on to take the crown again by knowing the game inside out and how to do enough to win so congrats to them. They were closely followed by Chorley and Smethwick.
At the end of the competition they went on to award the judges choice images. I was delighted to get chosen by judge Libby Smith for my image â€œThe Irony Of Ironingâ€
We collected our thoughts about the competition and were quite down about the fact that we now need to try and qualify through the Ace of Clubs for next year. This is a huge ask in itself because of the fantastic clubs involved, but we have the Connahâ€™s Quay PAGB National Print Championships to concentrate on next.
Warwick seems better with more Welsh clubs and I hope we can return as I am sure Ebbw Vale and Tenby enjoyed their day. I feel that the WPF need representation there as itâ€™s largely a battle of northerners so maybe we will get another chance as itâ€™s a great day out!