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North West Regional Championships

Third Section

Sunday 10th March
Opera House
Adjudicator: Sydney Swancott
Commences: 10.00am

Competing Bands: Barnton Silver (S. Yates): Blackley (G. Smith): Blackpool Brass (G. Smith): Boarshurst (Greenfield) (J. Webster): City of Chester (D. Mitchell): Diggle (D. Morris): Eaton's Franworth (P. Ashley): Eccles Borough (C. Pownall): Eccleston Brass (B. Harper): Greenhall's Brewery (H. Bousefield): Greenfield (D. Chapman): Hazel Grove (A. Hurst): Lostockhall Memorial (R. Heyes): Middleton (S. Foster): Pilling Jubilee Silver (S. Simpson): Rainford Silver (L. Nicholson): Silk Brass Astra Zeneca (Macclesfield) (K. Mackintosh): United Norwest 2000 Brass (A. Helleur): Wire Brass (P. Andrews).

Kenneth Downie's "St. Austell Suite" is a super test for the bands in the third section and a piece that will certainly sort out the better bands from the rest. The bands themselves will have to concentrate throughout as the music is complex enough to test better bands, whilst we think that the bands that are the most consistent throughout the three sections will be the ones that take the prizes. Lots in Yorkshire played two good movements and one poor on (usually the second) whilst some started well and just tailed off movement by movement. It was a pragmatic band that won over the border, and we think it may be a sensible approach if the bands want to book their places for Torquay.

Barnton Silver were 8th last year after coming 6th in section four the year before and 3rd there before that. The first year after promotion was a solid one and they will hope to continue to improve. Meanwhile Blackley came 10th last year in the fourth section and still gained promotion, so it could be a big step up for them. They were second in Pontins and third in Manchester in the fourth section, so they will hope not to repeat their 15th place here in this section in 1999.

Blackpool were relegated from the second section following their 13th place last year and 14th in 2000, so they will be hoping for better things and a possible repeat of their recent 3rd place at the Wilkinson or 6th at Preston, both in the second section. Boarshurst and Jonathan Webster should do well here as they came 2nd in Pontins, but they recently didn't do too well at Preston and came 10th. Should improve on last years 14th place and may even get better than the 5th place of 2000.

City of Chester were promoted from the fourth section on the strength of their 7th place last year and 15th place in 2000 so this could be one step too far for them at the moment. They recently came 12th at Preston. Meanwhile, Diggle won the Wilkinson Contest well and after coming 4th here last year and wining promotion from the fourth section as champions in 2000 they should be full to the brim with confidence.

Eaton's Farnsworth have been a busy band of late and came 10th at Pontins, 3rd at Wychavon, 9th at Preston. They didn't compete here last year after coming 2nd in the fourth section in 2000. Keen to repeat their triumph then and possibly go on to repeat their 1992 National title win when they were in the fourth section. Eccles Borough won at Preston recently and came 6th here last year, which was a big improvement on the 15th of 2000 and 14th place of 1999. One to watch out for possibly.

Greenhall's are in the third section this year following their relegation from the second section, when they struggled for the past three years coming 14th in '99, 12th in 2000 and 10th last year. They were 22nd at Pontins in the second section and also 3rd at Rhyl whilst they recently came 5th at the Wilkinson contest. Greenfield meanwhile came 15th last year and will be dead keen to get a better result after not competing in 2000 and coming 11th I the second section in 1999 and being relegated. They were 11th at Preston.

Hazel Grove were 12th last year, which was about par for the course for the band who had come 10th in '99 and 13th in 2000. Lostockhall Memorial didn't compete last year and came 8th in 2000 following their 5th the year previously. They recently came 6th at Preston.

Middleton have come up from the fourth section following their 8th place last year and fourth place the year before and they won the recent Manchester contest, so hopes will be high for a good result. Pilling Jubilee Silver are a consistent band here and came 9th in '99, 14th in 200 and 10th last year, whilst also coming 13th at Pontins, so they will be looking to move up the prize list.

Rainford and Lynda Nicholson have also performed consistently over the past three years here and came 9th in '99, 12th in 200 and 11th last year, whilst they have also been busy elsewhere coming 3rd at Pontins and 3rd at Fleetwood and Preston where they competed in the second section. Silk Nbrass AstraZeneca just missed out of a place at the National Finals last year when they came 3rd so they too will be hoping just to imtove enough to gain a trip to Torquay. 10th in 2000 and 6th in '99 show they are comfortable contenders and they should do well again we think.

United Norwest 2000 Brass came 8th last year, following their relegation from the second section after coming 10th in '99 and 17th in 2000 itself. They were also 7th at Pontins last year, won the Manchester contest and came 8th at Preston. Lastly, Wire Brass won the recent Preston contest in some considerable style and will be hoping to make a real impression on the contest on Sunday, they could well be up there come the shake down.

2001 Result:

1. Manx Concert Brass
2. British Energy Morecombe
3. Silk Brass Astra Zeneca
4. Diggle
5. Haslingden and Helmshore
6. Eccleston Brass

4BR Prediction:

1. Greenhall's Brewery
2. Middleton
3. Blackpool Brass
4. Rainford
5. Diggle
6. Silk Brass Astra Zeneca

Dark Horse: Eatons Farnsworth

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