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Lions Brass 2001: 4BR pick a British and Irish team (with Sheilas) to take on the Aussies in a three match test showdown.

We don’t know about you, but 4BR is roundly cheesed off with all things Australian at the moment. What with us having a bashing in the cricket and a beating in the rugby it seems our friends from the antipodes have got a bit of a voodoo sign over us.

Name a sport and they seem to be able to drag some teenage freak off Bondi Beach to break a world record. Just look at that swimmer they’ve got – the “Thorpedo”; is it just us, or is he really a dolphin that’s had cosmetic surgery – he’s not real. What’s that all about eh?

However, just when you thought all things were lost the Aussies have just come out and named their National Brass Band – a collection of fine players who will be touring Western Australia as the finest representatives of their banding movement.

Never has a moment come when we can for once and for all show them that the finest players in the World are British and so we have picked our British Lions Squad of players to be sent out forthwith to Australia to kick their butts in a three match test series. All we await is a suitable sponsor to take our lads (and lasses) out there and give them (as a famous Norwegian commentator once said) “One hell of a beating!”.

Just think of the sense of achievement wiping the smile off all those backpacking bartenders. G’day Mate!

The Tour will consist of a three test match series. The First Test will be a straight forward 20 minute original brass band test piece, whilst the Second will be a 1 hour Entertainment concert, followed by the Third which will be a set test in the morning followed by an own choice work in the afternoon. Can’t seeing us being beat ourselves, but you can never underestimate the Wallabies.

The 4 Bars Rest Tour Party for the Trip to regain the Ashes is as follows:

Tour Managers: Geoff Whitham and David James
Seen it, done it and got the tee shirts. Two no nonsense hell raisers from the Oliver Read School for Young Gentlemen. Anyone thinking of writing a Matt Dawson Tour Diary better think again.

Coach/Musical Director: Howard Snell
The ultimate professional will leave nothing to chance and has the full respect of all those who have ever played under him. He’s also multi national – born in England, parents are Welsh, was educated a bit in Scotland and now lives on the Isle of Man. That’s what we call a pedigree!

BackRoom Staff: Robert Childs, Ray Farr, Jim Shepherd, Philip Biggs.
Robert Childs and Ray Farr will be able to some of the spade work on the test pieces and entertainment stuff and assist Howard Snell, whilst Philip Biggs will be in charge of all things administrative (he runs the best contest for bandsmen – so he’ll be in charge of the passports, getting bail for those who misbehave etc). Jim Shepherd is the British equivalent of Donald Bradman – the greatest ever, and we are going to make sure they know about it.


Soprano Cornet: Peter Roberts (YBS & England)
Enough said.

Cornets: Roger Webster (Black Dyke & England), David Daws (Salvation Army & England), Stuart Lingard (YBS & England), Mark Wilkinson (Fodens & England), Nick Payne (Brighouse and Rastrick & England), Ian Williams (BAYV Cory & Wales), Brian Taylor (Williams Fairey & England), Ian Porthouse (Tredegar & England), Richard Marshall (Grimethorpe & England)

Can’t go wrong can we? We’ll leave who sits where to Mr Snell, but we had to include David Daws – he’s our equivalent of Jason Robinson from Rugby League on the wing – simply brilliant. The rest are the top men from the top bands in our 4BR rankings. We could have picked another ten quite easily, but these make up a pretty good set of backs.

Flugel Horn: Iwan Williams (YBS & Wales)
The best all round flugel player in the banding world at the moment for us. Solid as a rock and as musical as they come. Chris Bradley at Whitburn was a close second though.

Tenor Horns: Sandy Smith (Grimethorpe & Scotland), Owen Farr (Williams Fairey & Wales), Sheona White (YBS & Scotland).
Got to go with the form horses for the middle of the band sound. Sandy Smith continues to be a superb player, whilst young Mr Farr is the sound of the new generation. Sheona White gets the nod before she sets out on a solo career.

Euphoniums: Glyn Williams (Fodens & Wales) and David Childs (CWS Glasgow & Wales).
We’ve gone for two Welsh boys, but we were spoilt for choice here and could have picked any number of fine players from Messer’s Thornton, Griffiths, Miles, Bradley, John etc. These two are perhaps our best virtuoso players so a duet in the entertainment contest would be a thing a sheer bloody wonderment.

Baritones: Bob Blackburn (Black Dyke & England) and Katrina Marzella (Broxburn &Scotland).
Big Bob is the no nonsense man for the job on top baritone – huge sound, great technique and a wit drier than a James Bond Martini. Katrina has been getting rave reviews every time she performs on the contest stage in Scotland and is a young woman with a big future ahead. Bob will look after her.

Trombones: Nick Hudson ( Williams Fairey & England), Brett Baker (Black Dyke & England), Mark Frost (Stalybridge & England).
Got to go with an all England backrow of bones. Hudson is still the supreme artist, whilst Brett Baker is not too far behind him and is perhaps the best technician on the trombone around. Why Mark Frost isn’t playing for the LSO or the CBSO is a bloody mystery. An awesome player to scare the living daylights out of any Aussie who thinks they can honk a few out below the stave.

Basses: Andy Duncan (Whitburn & Scotland) and Phil Green (Fodens & England). Dean Morley (Fodens & England) and Simon Gresswell ( Brighouse and Rastrick & England).
A group to wake up the dead. Duncan and Green sound like two old Blue Peter presenters, but are superb players nonetheless. Morley and Gresswell are the two best growlers around on the low stuff and can drink any macho Aussie under the table. This is the important stuff on tour.

Percussion: Ronan McKee (YBS & Ireland), Chris Wood (Black Dyke & England), David Griffiths (Black Dyke & Wales), David Lyons (CWS Glasgow & Scotland)
A bit of an international flavour here with boys from around the UK doing the shed building work. Don’t know if they are all still playing with bands, but that’s what you get with percussion players these days – a bloody law unto themselves. Still a pretty good bunch of skin bashers.

So that’s our team to send out to Oz to take on the might of Antipodean banding in it’s own backyard. We think we’d win the test series 3 –0 and if any of the players had to be sent home through injury (self induced or otherwise) or from contracting some unknown disease from the locals in the outback we can always ship over a few decent replacements. Plenty of English (great as long as they don’t start complaining), a hard core of Welshmen (great as long as they don’t start singing), a few Scots (great until they start spending money) and an Irishman (great as long as you can understand what they say). All this and we didn’t have to employ a foreigner to coach us to victory either.

Who cares if we lose the Ashes, the rugby, the tennis, the swimming (that’s enough) – as long as we can kick some butt on the contest stage we shall forever have an Empire! Rule Britannia!

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