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Post Match Analysis:
Midlands Regional Championships 2002

Third Section:

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


1. Raunds Temperance, J. Fletcher, 184, 18
2. Carlton Brass, T. Wilson, 183, 9
3. Arrow Valley, A. Culshaw, 182, 8
4. West Mercia Constabulary, H. Gibbs, 181, 2
5. Shirland Welfare Training Band, M. Smith, 179, 5
6. Syston R. Boulter, 178, 3
7. Foresters Brass 2000, D. Blakeson, 177, 4
8. City of Birmingham, W. Belshaw, 176, 16
9. Market Rasen, J. Hall, 175, 15
10. Malvern Hills & District, Dennis Grant, 174, 17
11. Alcester Victoria, N. Kift, 173, 6
12. Audley Brass, K.M. Birch, 172, 1
13. Daventry Brass, P. Northey, 171, 10
14. Dronfield CMW, K. Mackintosh, 170, 7
15. Whitwell Brass, K.W. Vernon, 169, 14
16. Ratby Co-op 'Mid' Band, G. Newman, 168, 19
17. Ilkeston Brass, D. Jones, 167, 11
18. Matlock, K. Short, 166, 13
19. Rushden Windmill, R. Graves, 165, 12

Top 3 bands qualify for the National Finals.

Roy Sparkes certainly earned his money in the box adjudicating the third section.

Raunds Temperance conducted by John Fletcher won the contest from a late draw of 18 out of 19. They put on a belting performance, neatly articulated, plenty of spirit and no lack of musicianship. A winning performance for sure. They entered as one of the favourites and lived up to the 4BR prediction - "could do very well". Deserved winners.

The quite slow deliberate directions from Tony Wilson brought out some very good sounds in the second movement in the Carlton Brass performance. A very steady "jaunt" around the town and a happy foot tapping 3rd movement - another good overall performance of the piece to earn them second spot and their second consecutive trip to the National Finals. Ones to look out for come Torquay?

Arrow Valley played very well and Andy Culshaw really ensured that the band got to grips with the music. Lots of detail and a lovely round sound were their hallmarks and they were a band name on quite a few lips in the final shakedown for prizes. They may be disappointed at not winning, but they picked up the final qualifying spot on offer and that was a fine achievement. They too will head for Torquay will high hopes of doing really well.

In his summation Roy Sparkes commented that there were four really good performances and West Mercia Constabulary took his vote for fourth place. A performance, which we felt, was at its best in the opening and second movements and it just fell away towards the end to finish just a little flat and tired. It was very neatly directed though and perhaps a later draw may have just squeezed them into the frame, but a fine showing none the less and 4th spot was about right for us.

Shirland Welfare Training just came out of the prizes in their first outing in this section and Marie Smith and her young band gave a thoroughly good account of themselves to come home in fifth place. Next year they will be even stronger. Syston came home in 6th spot and once more they performed with an admirable solidity that just wasn’t enough to impress Steve Sykes further than they would have liked. Another good show though and a worthy performance of a difficult piece.

Foresters Brass, City of Birmingham, Market Rasen and Malvern Hills filled the places 7th – 10th. Given that all of them performed the music well enough, all of them had the type of balance and intonation problems that meant that they couldn’t quite do enough to challenge for higher spots. Too many times some real good quality playing was undone by tuning problems and we felt this was all of their main letdowns. Plenty of good individual stuff though, but the overall performances didn’t quite match up to the expectations.

11th – 14th was a mini contest in itself as well as there was a distinct difference in ability and sound between the bands of Alcester Victoria, Audley Brass, Daventry Brass and Dronfield, from those that came above them. Again the main problems were balance and intonation, especially in the horns and bass ends, which robbed the bands of any chance of coming higher up the prize list. Plenty of good work was undone again and again by some sloppy ensemble playing and bad tuning and Steve Sykes picked them up on it.

15th – 19th was the area of the section in which the bands with the most problems in getting to grips with the basics filled. Not that they were bad performances, but they were all spoilt by tuning, balance and individual errors that in a field of the size of this is usually punished by lost marks. It makes the adjudicator’s job so much easier when the basics go awry and Whitwell, Ratby Coop Mid, Ilkeston, Matlock and Rushden all had too many of these to make any impression. Better luck next time for all concerned.

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