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Midlands Regional Championships 2002

Third Section:

Sunday 3rd March, Town Hall
Adjudicator: TBA
Commences: 10.00am

Competing Bands: Alcester Victoria (N. Keft): Arrow Valley (A. Culshaw): Audley Valley Brass (K. Birch): Carlton Brass (T. Wilson): City of Birmingham (W. Belshaw): Daventry Brass (P. Northey): Dronfield CMW (M. Knowles): Foresters Brass 2000 (D. Blakeson): Ilkeston Brass 2000 (D. Jones): Malvern Hills and District (TBA): Market Rasen (Rhoades) (J. Hall): Matlock (K. Short): Ratby Coop "Mid" Band (G. Newman): Raunds Temperance (J. Fletcher): Rushden Windmill (R. Graves): Shirland Welfare Training (M. Smith): Syston (TBA): West Mercia Constabulary (H. Gibbs): Whitwell Brass (K. Vernon).

Another packed field. 19 bands will have to get their lips around the excellent "St. Austell Suite" by Kenneth Downie, which should prove an a very enjoyable experience for both players and audience alike (if there is any - it's usually two men and dog time at 10.00am). Plenty of hard working bands hoping to get the two spots for Torquay. Should be good contest.

Alcester Victoria came 14th last year which was down on their 6th place of 2000. Their recent 7th place at Wychavon gives some indication of how they are shaping up, whilst Arrow Valley came 2nd at the same contest and 5th here last year and so should be capable of coming in the prize list at least and build towards a return to the Second Section where they were relegated from in 2000. Andy Culshaw leads their attempt at the title.

Audley Brass came 15th at Pontins last year, which was a disappointment to a band that came third at this contest last time out and who were promoted to the section after winning the Fourth Section title in 1999, whilst Carlton Brass are also in the Third Section following their promotion from the Fourth last year. They were a busy band in 2001 and came 6th at the Nationals and 7th at Pontins so they will certainly be confident of holding their own in the higher section.

City of Birmingham fall into the Third section this year after a struggle to stay up in the Second Section over the past three years which saw them come 19th in 1999, 16th in 2000 and 20th last year. They will certainly be hoping for a change of fortune this year. Daventry Brass came 13th last year and 4th the year before after being relegated from the Second Section in 1999. They too will be hoping that last years result was only a blip.

Dronfield CMW have had three steady years at the contest since 1999 when they came 6th. 2000 saw them come home 11th and they improved to 9th last time out so, it could hopefully be another step in right direction this time, whilst Foresters Brass 2000 and the experienced Don Blakeson will be going all out to repeat heir triumph of 2001 and get a repeat win. 2001 saw them go and claim 13th at the National Finals and 4th at Pontins so they should be one of the favourites.

Ilkeston Brass 2000 also fell through the trap door of relegation last year and will be hoping to get a good result here and start the return back up through the sections, whilst Malvern Hills and District recently came 4th at Wychavon and 10th here last year, their first in the Third Section following their promotion from the Fourth Section.

Market Rasen have improved greatly over the last three years as well and from coming 11th here in 1999, they came 14th in 2000 and then 7th spot last year. They could get an even higher placing this year. Matlock have been going in the opposite direction however in the last three years and since coming 8th in 1999 they have fallen back to 10th in 2000 and 15th last year. They will be hoping to reverse the trend this time out.

Ratby Cooperatives "Mid" Band (fine name!) recently came 5th at Wychavon and have gained promotion this year to the Third Section following three years of solid achievement in the Fourth Section where they came 8th last year, 10th in 2000 and 12th in 1999. Raunds Temperance meanwhile enter as one of the favourites for the title after their 2nd place here last year and 3rd place at the National Finals. They have made great progress in recent years and won the Fourth Section title here in 2000. Could do very well.

Rushden Windmill (another great name!) will also be hoping that last years result was just a blip as they came 12th after a fine performance the year before saw them just miss out on a top two spot when they came third. Shirland Welfare Training however will approach the contest with hopes and confidence sky high after winning the National Finals Fourth Section title brilliantly last year and recently also making it a double by winning the Mineworkers crown. 2nd place in the Fourth Section last year was good, and they should do very well in the Third Section if recent form is an accurate guide.

Syston also gained promotion after three good steady years of solid achievement in the Fourth Section, but they gained promotion after coming 6th last year. They have offset this recently with a fine performance at Wychavon where they came 3rd and they also came 12th at Pontins in October last year. West Mercia Constabulary gained promotion from the Fourth Section after coming 3rd last year and so will also be hoping to do well in the higher section, whilst Whitwell Brass also moved up a Section following their 4th place last year. This was the culmination of three good years work at the Regionals in the Fourth Section where they improved from 15th in 1999 to 11th in 2000. They also came 14th at Pontins last year.

2001 Result:

1. Brass 2000
2. Raunds Temperance
3. Audley Brass
4. Whaley Bridge
5. Arrow Valley
6. Stourport Brass

4BR Prediction:

1. Foresters Brass 2000
2. Raunds Temperance
3. Shirland Welfare Training
4. Arrow Valley
5. Malvern Hills
6. Syston

Dark Horse: Ratby Cooperative

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