|ok, first, you have achieved a bokeh effect, and consequently, have proven that you are capable of doing it. now what you have to do is to harness it to put it to work for you. here, it is a good backdrop for your subject. the problem with the image, though, is the subject itself.
the color on the handle is great. it is eye-catching and leads into the gauge. unfortunately, that's where it starts to lose appeal. the focus is a bit soft and the colors are not that engaging. next, your eye hits the water, and it runs the eye right out the bottom of the image, rather than keeping it in the image.
the keys to scoring well are nailing the challenge concept (which you did), paying attention to all the details (which you almost did), composition (needs some work), and appeal (this is a bit less than appealling, sorry). i'd recommend two things: 1) reading and re-reading scalvert's thread on the recipe for ribbonning (it was back around 12/30 or 12/31), and 2) before you submit an entry, ask yourself, "is this something that others would really want to hang on their walls?" or "is this an image that if someone encountered in a magazine, they would actually pause to look at it for more than a blip?" if your honest answer is "no", then you should realistically expect a score between 4 and 5.25.
no matter what, though, don't let the scoring discourage you. take all the comments you get, and, when possible, revisit your challenge shots and try to apply the comments. good luck, and keep on shooting!