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Retrospective look at the Senior Cup 2002:

Senior Cup
Qualifying Contest for the 2003 Grand Shield
Test Piece: Carnival Romain, Berlioz arr Frank Wright

EYMS take the cup back to the North East

East Yorkshire Motor Services under the baton of Gareth Pritchard won the Senior Cup in some style and in doing so qualified as the top band to the Grand Shield for 2003 in a contest that was notable for the quality of the performances of the test piece – Carnival Romain.

A close second were Freckleton under Paul Dalton, whose euphonium player also took the award for the best soloist of the day, whilst third place went to Burry Port Town and David Evans from Wales. Fourth place went to Thoresby Colliery UK Coal under Stan Lippeatt and ASDA Stocksbridge and Derek Renshaw won fifth spot. The final promotion place to the Grand Shield for next year went to Yorkshire Co-operatives and John Roberts.

Gareth Pritchard was understandably pleased when we caught up with him outside his hotel on Blackpool seafront the next day and spoke of the effort his new band had put into preparing for the contest. “Since I came to the band on a full time basis just a couple of months ago they have really put in the effort and have shown at the contest what a good band they are” he said.

“I felt we were in with a good chance of winning prior to the contest due to the quality of work the band put in, and especially after we had played, as they put in 100% concentration on the stage and performed brilliantly. We can build on this now and we will be confident that we can perform well come the National Finals in October”.

EYMS qualified for the National Finals after coming second at the Regional Championships, and the performance from the North East band here was notable for the quality of the ensemble playing and the security of the soloists. They were worthy winners of a high quality contest and it was perhaps the way in which Gareth Pritchard left the music flow with a lightness of touch in the semi quaver work that gave the overture they excitement.

Freckleton also gave an excellent rendition of the test piece that had some really lovely euph playing from solo prize winner Patrick Howard and had lots of excitement and colour, whilst Burry Port Town gave a performance of merit that also featured some lovely euphonium playing from Ceri John. They thoroughly deserved their promotion to the Grand Shield for next year. Thoresby UK Coal gave a robust performance that signalled that they were a quality outfit from the start and Stan Lippeatt gave the music time and space in the slower moments that brought the best out of his players.

ASDA Stocksbridge once again showed that they are a band that will do well in the Shield next year as they once again proved their worth with a strong and committed show, whilst the last promotion spot was deservedly taken by Yorkshire Co-operatives who just had a few lapses here and there, but also had a very classy solo cornet in Tabby Hall.

Below the qualifiers Hepworth put up a commendable show to just miss out in 7th spot, whilst Ratby Co-operatives just had one too many slips to come in the promotion places. BTM did superbly to come 9th minus a sop player (well done to Jeff Hutcherson on solo cornet for his heroics) and Rolls Royce Coventry filled the last top 10 place with a performance didn’t quite come off as they would have hoped.

Stalybridge Old and Laganvale had their good moments too, but couldn't quite do enough to come higher than 11th and 12th whilst 13th place went to Thorntons Brass. Just doing enough to miss out on the drop to the Senior Trophy were Woolley Pritchard Brass who came 15th.

The bottom six – and relegation to the Senior Trophy saw decent enough performances from all the bands, but performances that all had their problems. Kingdom Brass, Thomas Coaches Mid Rhondda, Northop, Mossley, City of Oxford and Unison Kinneil will be hoping for better fortune come 2003. All are good bands, but on this set work they didn’t have enough quality throughout their ensemble and the performances were liberally littered with too many individual errors. All however, will be hoping for a quick return to the contest next year.

So East Yorkshire Motor Services continued their excellent form of early 2002 and will be hoping for further success later in the year when they go to London and the Royal Albert Hall, whilst the other top five bands will be mightily pleased to have gained promotion from a contest that was close and competitive as you could have imagined. All of them will be strong contenders at the Grand Shield next year.

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