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Midland Regional Championships 2002

First Section:

Saturday 2nd March, Town Hall
Adjudicator: TBA
Commences: Approx 11.00am

Competing Bands: Bedworth Brass (C. Randle): City of Coventry Brass (P. Bailey): Darley Dale (S. Shimwell): Derwent Brass (K. Leonard): Enderby (J. Broadhurst): Gresley Old Hall (F. Tyler): Hathern (D. Newman): Ibstock Brick Brass (P. Northey): Ireland Colliery (Chesterfield) (R. Walters): Jackfield Elcock Reisen (C. Lewis): Kibworth (J. Berryman): Shirland MW (G. Hawley): The Riddings Band (J. Davis): The Staffordshire Band (D. Maplestone): Tintwistle (D. Shutter): Towcester Studio (A. Sellers): Unity Brass (FMUFS) (D. Blakeson).

A big line up of 17 bands in the First Section and it should make for a close competitive contest.

Lots of decent bands, all with lots of ambition to try and break into the Championship Section should comfortably get to grips with "Royal Parks", but it won't be story we think of just who can play the notes, but who can make the most of the undoubted music in the piece. Lots of experienced MD's on show as well so it could well come down to a matter of interpretation rather than counting the splits and blips and blobs. A couple of bands stand out possibly, but this could be a section that throws up a few surprises.

Bedworth Brass were 16th here last year after being promoted to the First Section after coming runners up in the lower section in 2000, and they have followed this promotion with 20th place at Pontins and 10 at Wychavon, so they will be keen to keep on the upward path. City of Coventry were 5th last year with Philip Bailey, who takes them again this time around and the last couple of years has seen them knocking on the door for one of the two qualification spots on offer, so they will hoping for just a little bit of luck to help the on their way.

Darley Dale have the experienced Stephen Shimwell heading their assault again this year and they too will be hoping to improve on their consistent showings of the past few years here when they have come 11th in 2001, 7th in 2000 and 5th in 1999. Enderby came 7th last year and recently came 9th at Wychavon, so they will be hoping to improve and possibly get in the prize list. They came 10th in 1999 and 11th in 2000, so they are moving in the right direction, but have they improved enough to squeeze into the prizes?

Gresley Old and Frank Tyler came 8th last year and have continued their improvement at this level since being promoted in 1998 from the Second Section and the last few years have seen the come 17th in 199, 16th in 2000 and 8th last year. If they continue to improve they could well sneak into the prize list.

Hathern meanwhile were 9th here last year and have been consistent performers in the First Section since being relegated from the top flight in 1998. 1999 saw them come 7th, whilst 2000 saw them drop to 9th place which they repeated last year. They will be hoping to gain an improvement this year and a recent 3rd place at Wychavon could be a good sign.

Ibstock Brick Brass were promoted from the Second Section after winning the title in 2000 and they performed well to hold their own in coming 10th last year. They also performed at Pontins where they came 12th so they will be on the outlook for an improved placing. Ireland Colliery came 13th last year, and have maintained that standard for the last few years at the contest. Their best showing was 7th in 1998, but they have come 14th in 1997, 13th in 1999 and 15th in 2000. They too will hoping to get into single figures at least this time around.

Jackfield Elcock Reisen played very well here last year and just missed out by a point to take one of the qualification spots with 196 points and come 3rd! 6th place at Pontins shows that the band can perform well against National opposition and they have come 3rd here once before in 1998. They have also had a couple of lesser places as well to balance it out and so they won't want a repeat of 2000 when they came 10th or 1999 when they ended up 16th.

Kibworth meanwhile have that most experienced of MD's at the helm in the shape of John Berryman, and this will certainly guarantee a top quality reading. The winners here last year went on to have a very fine contesting season with 5th place at the Nationals, 12th at Pontins in the Championship Section and 6th place at the Senior Cup. The class band of the field should be the ones to beat.

Shirland MW are conducted by Geoff Hawley, who usually does a super job on sop with Thorseby RJB in the top section, but he has also overseen some good progress from his band since they were promoted from the Second Section in 1999. 12th place in 2000 and 14th place last year were decent, solid outings and 2nd place at the recent Mineworkers showed that they could be coming into form at the right time.

The Riddings Band are having their first year backing the First Section after being relegated from the Championship following their 9th place last year and 10th place of 2000. They should however feel at home here as they actually won promotion after winning the title here in 1999. 8th place at Wychavon could tell us how they could perform here.

The Staffordshire Band have David Maplestone on board to try and get them back into the top section after relegation last year. That was a little unfortunate as they actually came 6th in the top section and had just a few years previously come 2nd in 1998. However they have hit slightly harder times since then and 16th at Pontins and 17th at the Senior Cup showed that they were finding life in the top class a little hard. Andy Culshaw and the band parted company so it will be interesting to see if the change will prove beneficial.

Tintwistle meanwhile will be out to gain a few scalps at least in their first year back in the First Section since 1998, when they were relegated. The three-year break seems to have rejuvenated the band and they were runners up last year in the Second Section and gained promotion. They were 9th at the Nationals and 4th at Pontins last year so they are on form. Could do well.

Towcester Studio and their conductor Adele Sellers are really a band on the upward path and 2001 was a great year for them as they won the Second Section here, came 3rd at the Nationals and also 3rd at Pontins. They should do well here, even though they did struggle the last time they were in the first section in 1997 and 1998 when they came 18th and 16th. Can't see a repeat of that this year and could very well sneak into the frame.

Unity Brass (FMUFS) and Don Blakeson came 4th here last year, which was a good return to form after being relegated from the Championships Section the year before after two years in which they could only come 12th and 9th in the higher class. They also won the First Section here in 1998 so perhaps this could be a repeat year. 21st in Pontins however wasn't a good result so they will be keen to improve.

A good field then, but who will come out on top on "Royal Parks" and gain the two qualification spots on offer. Could be a close run thing.

2001 Result:

1. Kibworth
2. Ratby Cooperative
3. Jackfield Elcock Reisen
4. Unity Brass
5. City of Coventry
6. Nottingham City Transport

4BR Prediction:

1. Kibworth
2. Staffordshire
3. Riddings
4. Jackfield Elcock Reisen
5. Unity Brass
6. Towcester Studio

Dark Horse: City of Coventry.

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