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The British Open Brass Band Championships.
82nd Spring Brass Band Festival
The Winter Gardens Blackpool
Saturday, May 11th 2002

Review: Senior Trophy
Qualifying Contest for the 2003 Senior Cup
Test Piece: Un Vie de Matelot, Robert Farnon
Date Posted: 09.05.02

The Competing bands:

1st Old Boys, G. Moore
Aldbourne, I. Holmes
Bon Accord Silver, T. Swainson
Bo’ness and Carriden, I. Davey
Chester - le - Street Riverside, M. Sidwell
Cottingham, R. Grantham
Dalmellington, R. Evans
Haydock Ogden Travel, I. Brownbill
Hyde, P. Wise
Johnstone Band, R. Tennant
Newstead Welfare, D. Beckley
Pemberton Old Wigan, A. Lawton
Pennine Brass, I. Porthouse
Redbridge, M. White
Riddings, J. Davis
Staffordshire Band, D. Maplestone
Soham Comrades, P. Filby
Thornbury, N. Seaman
United Co-op Crewe, J. Sparkes
Yeovil Town, P. Bailey

The newly resurrected Senior Trophy will see another good group of 20 bands battling it out on a fine set work in the form of Robert Farnon's "Un Vie de Matelot". Some bands here will be bursting a lung to get into the higher section and once again it will be the top six who will be promoted - replacing the bottom six of the Senior Cup. Looking at the list, the top six should sort themselves on paper - but we aren't playing on paper are we? Still, plenty of good performances to look forward to.

1st Old Boys (Seacat) will be coming over from Ireland hoping to do well and improve on last year's 16th place, whilst Albourne recently came 13th at Yeovil and 11th at the West of England Championships and so will be hoping also to do well here.

Scotland will be sending down two strong contenders in Bon Accord and Bo'ness and Carriden. Bo'ness came 8th at the Area and recently came 2nd at the Whitburn contest, whilst Bon Accord came 10th at the Scottish Regional Championships.

New band Chester le Street will be hoping to get things off to a good start when they make their debut at the contest whilst Cottingham from the North East will be travelling with high hopes after coming 5th at their Regional Championships last month.

Dalmellington also come down from North of the border hoping to show that their recent 6th place in Scotland shows that they will be strong contenders, whilst Haydock Ogden Travel and Ian Brownbill came 6th in the strong North West Regional Championships and should be hoping for a promotion spot at least.

Hyde will be making the long trek from the west country to Blackpool after coming 8th in the Regional Championships and after coming 2nd at the Wessex contest, whilst from the other end of the country, Johnstone Band and the experienced Raymond Tennant will be keen to improve on recent form that saw them come 9th at the Scottish Regional Championships.

Confidence should be sky high in the Newstead Welfare camp with MD Duncan Beckley keen to show that their recent 4th place at the Midlands Regional Championships was an indication of how they could perform here, whilst Pemberton Old Wigan will have the very experienced Alan Lawton at the helm to direct their assault. They were winners of the 1st Section at the North West Regional Championships.

Pennine Brass are on a bit of a high after winning the recent Holme Firth contest and they should come here as one of the favourites for the Trophy itself after also putting in a real quality performance in coming 10th at the Yorkshire Regional Championships. Redbridge should also be one of the favourites here on recent form as they took the London Regional Championship with a fine win last month. Hopes will be high, but the recent illness to MD Melvin White could have added to the resolve. We don't know who the replacement MD on the day will be at present.

Riddings have the experienced J. Davis at the helm and although they could only manage 9th place in the 1st section in the Midlands last month they did go on to win the recent Derby contest. Staffordshire Band meanwhile will be looking for an improvement in form here since they could only manage 17th place in the Senior Cup last year to drop down to this section. The omens may be good though as they won the 1st section at the Midlands Regional Championships.

Soham Comrades will be making the long trek from East Anglia to Blackpool for the contest, and they should travel with high hopes of doing well as they recently came 4th at the London Area and have performed solidly every time we have heard them of late. Thornbury meanwhile will be taken by Nigel Seaman and the band from the West Country will be hoping to see an upturn in recent fortunes after coming 9th in the West of England Regional Championships.

United Co-operatives Crewe came 5th in the 1st Section in the North West Regional Championships, so will be hoping for a good result, whilst Yeovil Town and Philip Bailey have been on good form of late and will be travelling to the contest after coming 6th at the West of England Championships and winning the Wessex contest.

So who is it going to be then?

Plenty of good bands, experienced MD's and talented players around the stand, but some bands here have been playing to form more than others in recent months and that could tell here. One or two are a class above the rest, but there will still be plenty of room for a couple of supposed outsiders to make their mark.

4Bars Rest Prediction:

1. Pennine Brass
2. Dalmellington
3. Redbridge Brass
4. Haydock Ogden Travel
5. Yeovil Town
6. Bon Accord Silver

Dark Horse: Bo'ness and Carriden

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