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North West Regional Championships

Second Section

Sunday March 10th
Empress Ballroom
Adjudicator: Roy Roe
Commences: 2.30pm

Competing Bands: BMP Europe Goodshaw (A. Widdop): Bollington (P. Christian): Delph (P. Goodwin): Eagley (N. Sheppard): Haslingden and Helmshore (D. Holland): Hoover (Bolton) (S. Talbot): Lancashire Life Morecombe (A. Warriner): Manx Concert Brass (I. Clague): Moston and Bewick (Manchester) (R. Taylor): Old Hall Brass (N. Parkinson): Poulton le Fylde (tba): Skelmersdale Prize (G. Martin): Walkden (D. Ashworth): Whitworth Vale and Healey (C. Myers).

After listening to the bands in Yorkshire trying to blow the roof off the set test in this section - "Symphony for Brass Band" by Victor Ewald, we are hoping that the Lancashire bands will have taken note and opt for a more refined approach (many Lancastrians believe in fact that they are more refined in all things cultural). It was obvious that many conductors thought that the music didn't have enough in it by itself and had to add an extra dynamic or three to make it sound interesting and exciting - but that isn't the case.

The winners will have to impress Roy Roe and after listening to the bands he placed in the Third Section in Yorkshire, it may be well for MD's to realise that a more cursory look at the dynamics may be a plus point.

BMP Europe Goodshaw have Alan Widdop at the helm after he took Marsden at Yorkshire in the top section, and his experience may well be crucial on this music. The last four years have seen the band come 8th in '98, 9th in '99 and 8th in 2000 and 14th last year was therefore a drop in form. They will be hoing to a return to the consistency and recently won the Manchester contest and came 14th at Pontins and 6th at the Wilkinson Contest.

Bollington were 2nd in Manchester and have the experienced Peter Christian (another ex Black Dyke player) at the helm this time around. 4th last year saw them continue their improvement at the contest after coming 10th in the first section in '98 and 6th in '99, which saw them relegated. 7th in this section in 2000 and 4th last year shows they are on the right road back.

Delph also have a Dyke man at the helm - this time current Eb tuba Phil Goodwin and they too will be keen to improve on their solid midfield position of 9th in both 2000 and 2001 here. They came 19th at Pontins last year and 7th at the Wilkinson Contest and since 1998 they have come 6th in section three, followed by 3rd and promotion in '99 and two consecutive 9th places. One to watch though.

Eagley have Welshman Nick Sheppard at the helm and they will be hoping that their relegation from the first section last year will only be a temporary one. The last time they were in this section they came 5th in '98 and 4th in '99 to gain promotion, before two years when they came 8th in 2000 and 9th last year sent them back down.

Haslingden and Helmshore are another promoted band from the third section where they came 5th last year to go with their 3rd of 2000. They recently came 3rd at Manchester in the third section so will know what they must do, to do well here. In 1998 they were 2nd in the fourth section and followed that with 6th place and promotion in 1999. Two years in the third section saw them come 3rd and 5th so they are certainly on the up and could do very well here again.

Hoover (Bolton) haven't made an impact here for the last two years at least and came 16th in 2000 and 12th last year. This followed them coming 6th in '99 and 4th in '98, so things have slipped a little from then and they could only manage 17th at Pontins last year as well. Will be hoping for another step in the right direction.

Lancashire Life Morecombe won the National Third Section title last year and will come to the contest full of confidence to do well in the higher flight. They also came 6th at Pontins, and 2nd at Preston and so should be much stronger than the last time they competed at this level in '98 when they came 12th, '99 when they were 12th gain and 11th in 2000, when they were relegated.

Manx Concert Brass and Ian Clague have been together some time and have had considerable success in recent years, winning the third section here last year and going on to come 10th at the Nationals. Since 1998 they have improved dramatically and since their 16th place then they have come 1st in the third section in 1999, 4th in 2000 and won again last year to gain promotion. Another that could be knocking on the door.

Mostyn and Beswick have been in good form of late and came 2nd at the recent Wilkinson contest and 5th at Preston, so they could be up amongst the contenders at the contest. They also came 18th at Pontins last year and won the Rhyl contest so form is not too bad at all. They were 5th here last year and have a good solid record of achievement at this level against their rivals with them coming 9th in '98, 7th in '99, 10th in 2000 and 5th in 2001.

Old Hall Brass are also another band that have been in decent form of late and won the Fleetwood contest as well as coming 2nd at Preston in the third section. This will ensure confidence is high and as the band has moved such a long way in such a short space of time, don't bet against them being around the prizes at the end. They came 8th in section four in '98, won it in '99, won again in the higher third section in 2000 and came 8th last year. Impressive.

Poulton le Fylde were runners up here last year and that showed that they had built on the 4th place of 2000. They were promoted from the third section in 1998 and have been a solid performer since coming 13th at the Nationals last year, wining at Fleetwood and coming 7th at Preston. We don't know who's I front of them at the moment so we can't comment strongly on what challenge they will put in this time around.

Skelmersdale Prize came 6th last year after being promoted from the third section in 2000 after coming 3rd. They were 4th the year before, so they have made good progress and have come 2nd at Rhyll and 11th at Preston.

Walkden were 7th last time out here and were 12th at Pontins, but they are a band that has also moved up and improved since 2000 when they came 15th. The year before they were 5th and before that 13th, so they can yo-yo a bit. Hopes will be high that they are not on the down swing this year and that they can come higher than 7th.

Whit Vale and Healey will also be hoping to improve on last year's outing when they could only manage 11th place. We say only, as they have made good progress over the years and their record since 1998 reads 3rd in the third section, 7th in the third section and promotion in 1999 and 13th in the second in 2000. Moving in the right direction then in good solid steps.

So who will it be to gain the two qualification spots on offer? We think it's going to be tight, but we can see a bit of a scrap between four or five bands with the possible winners coming from Poulton, Mostyn, Old Hall, Haslingden, Delph and Bollington.

2001 Result:

1. Dobcross Youth
2. Poulton le Fylde
3. Hawk Green (Marple)
4. Bollington
5. Mostyn and Beswick
6. Skelmersdale Prize

4BR Prediction:

1. Poulton le Fylde
2. Mostyn and Bewick
3. Old Hall Brass
4. Bollington
5. Haslingden and Helmshore
6. Lancashire Life Morecombe

Dark Horse: Delph

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