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All England Masters 2002:

Band by band analysis of all competitors...

It is said that the Welsh are a very parochial people, but given the furore over the possible inclusion of the BAYV Cory band at this year’s All England Masters you would have thought that the Principality was exporting it quicker than it used to export coal, PE teachers and outside halves.

What happened was unfortunate to say the least, but it did show that the Masters is a contest that is now held in the highest regard by, well, the English – and for a nation that habitually takes it on the chin, grins and bears it whilst never ever showing an ounce of emotion, this was a welcome sign that the contest really means a lot to those east of Offas Dyke. If only those bands that caused such as fuss would gang together and force the issue so that the All England Masters did become the “official” rather than “unofficial” Championship of England, then things would make better sense. Getting the winners to be recognised as the rightful English representatives for the European Championships is surely a better cause to die for than letting the Welsh, Scots or Norwegians through the back door; devolution eh? – it’s good enough for the Celtic nations so why not the English themselves?

Whatever your opinion though, there is no taking away that the Masters is the most forward thinking of all the major contests held in the UK – what with bands picking the test pieces and judges and the contest organisers nearly always being 100% right in the way in which they run things. This is the blueprint contest for the 21st century.

So will the 14th incarnation be bigger and better than the previous 13? We have no doubt it will, and that’s why we have become involved in helping to promote it’s success. This year sees 4BR sponsoring the award for the “Outstanding Instrumentalist” on the day – an award that should be keenly fought over by some of the very best players in the UK.

We are proud to be associated with the contest and we hope 2002 will be even better than before. Check out the progress of the day at the Internet café just 10 yards away from the Hall, where 4BR will be updating our views of the bands performances.

You just knew the Welsh were going to be involved somehow didn’t you?

The Bands:

Aveley and Newham:

4BR Ranking: 20
Conductor: Nigel Taken
Principal Cornet: Dave Lewis
Appearances: 10th time this year
Debut: 1989
Best Result: 9th in 2000
Worst Result: 20th in 1997
Overall Record: 1989 – 14th; 1990 – 13th; 1991 – 17th; 1992 – 19th; 1993 – 1996 Did Not Compete; 1997 – 20th; 1998 – 10th; 1999 – 17th; 2000 – 9th; 2001 – 19th.
Last Year: 19th overall (placed 20th, 16th, 20th by adjudicators)

Odd Facts: From 1989 to 1992 the band competed under the single name of Newham. Their best individual placing since the new judging system started in 1998 was a 3rd place from William Relton in 2000. Last year they scored a combined total of 56 points (48 behind the winners) from being placed 20th, 16th and 20th.

Current Form: Aveley come to the contest on the back of a fine performance at the Grand Shield – a performance that very nearly saw them gain automatic qualification to the Open; but they fell just short again, and this has been a problem over the years at major contests. 2nd place at the Regional championships was a case in point, but on their day they do have quality enough to make their mark here. Not the greatest record at Cambridge and last year was a major let down – could do well but they have been busy of late and preparation time has been at a premium. A possible midfield result at best beckons we think.

Besses O’ the Barn

4BR Ranking: 24
Conductor: Lynda Nicholson
Principal Cornet: Alex Thomas
Appearances: 11th time
Debut: 1989
Best Result: 7th 1999
Worst Result: 19th 1993
Overall Record: 1989 – 10th; 1990 – 11th; 1991 – 16th; 1992 DNC; 1993 – 19th; 1994 & 1995 DNC; 1996 – 12th; 1997 – 15th; 1998 – 17th; 1999 – 7th; 2000 – 11th; 2001 – 10th.
Last Year: 10th overall (9th, 8th, 15th)

Odd Facts: Best position of 7th came under Gareth Pritchard in 1999, when James Scott placed them 3rd and the other judges 10th and 13th. Their worse showing was in 1993 when under Paul Hindmarsh they ended up 19th in a 20 band field. Lynda Nicholson becomes the first woman MD to conduct at the Masters this year. Last year they were 10th with a combined total of 32 points – 24 points behind the winners.

Current Form: A band that comes to the contest with confidence sky high after ending their exile from the Open after gaining a fine runners up spot at the Grand Shield. Add to this qualification to the National Finals on the back of 4th place at the Northwest Regionals and you have a band very much on the up. Lynda Nicholson has been an inspired appointment and the band will be keen to improve on last years 10th place. Could well do it – but again rehearsal time has been short. Could well squeeze into the frame.

Brighouse and Rastrick

4BR Ranking: 6
Conductor: Peter Bassano
Principal Cornet: Nick Payne
Appearances: 11th time
Debut: 1992
Best Result: Winners in 1993, 1998 and 2001.
Worst Result: 11th 1992
Overall Record: 1989 – 1991 DNC; 1992 – 11th; 1993 – 1st; 1994 – 4th; 1995 – 3rd; 1996 – 5th; 1997 – 5th; 1998 – 1st; 1999 – 2nd; 2000 – 3rd; 2001 – 1st.
Last Year: 1st overall (3rd, 3rd, 2nd)

Odd Facts: The bands three wins have come on “English Heritage” in 1993, “Dances and Arias” in 1998 and “Pageantry” in 2001. Since the new system of adjudication has come in they have only been placed 1st by one judge (David Read) when they came 2nd overall in 1999. Although they have won the contest twice since 1998, come runners up and third no other individual judge has put them top. Peter Bassano is only the second man to conduct the band at the contest following Allan Withington. Last years win came on the back of a total of 8 points from the three judges – one ahead of YBS in second place.

Current Form: The reigning champions will be competing at the contest for the first time without their talismanic MD Alan Withington, and so it will be interesting if the academic approach of Peter Bassano will work to such startling effect as did Withington and “Briggus” last year when they pipped YBS to the title. They were 3rd at the Yorkshire Area and so they have had plenty of time to hone a winning performance. The odds may be against them a tad, but never ever right them off. Genuine contenders.

DUT Yorkshire Imperial Rothwell

4BR Ranking: 29
Conductor: David Evans
Principal Cornet: Robert Westacott
Appearances: 11th time
Debut: 1989
Best Result: 4th 1989
Worst Result: 16th 1996 and 1998
Overall Record: 1989 – 4th; 1990 – DNC; 1991 – 12th; 1992 – DNC; 1993 – 14th; 1994 – 14th; 1995 – 13th; 1996 – 16th; 1997 – 11th; 1998 – 16th; 1999 – DNC; 2000 – 14th; 2001 – 6th.
Last Year: 6th overall (1st, 10th, 9th)

Odd Facts: Came 4th at the inaugural contest conducted by James Scott and have never bettered it since in 9 attempts. 2001 saw Roy Newsome award them 1st place individually but 10th and 9th from the other judges meant they came 6th overall. David Evans is the 6th different MD to take the band at the contest in their 11 attempts. Last year they scored a total of 20 points, 12 behind the winners.

Current Form: 2002 saw the band welcome seven new faces to the ranks, and so it came as no surprise that they didn’t quite gell together when they came 8th at the Yorkshire Area. Plenty of quality around the stand and a classy top man should be plus points, whist MD David Evans is a man with a big future and plenty of talent. They were 6th last year (when Dr Roy put them top of the pile) and even though we don’t think it could be a top podium place, they could well once again feature highly. Ones not to go out for a cup of tea for.

ray farrEver Ready

4BR Ranking: 15
Conductor: Ray Farr
Principal Cornet: Brian Tait
Appearances: 12th time
Debut: 1989
Best Result: 7th 2001
Worst Result: 20th 1995
Overall Record: 1989 – 9th; 1990 – 12th; 1991 – 9th; 1992 – 18th; 1993 – 17th; 1994 – 13th; 1995 – 20th; 1996 & 1997 DNC; 1998 – 8th; 1999 – 18th; 2000 – 16th; 2001 – 7th.
Last Year: 7th overall (8th, 9th, 6th)

Odd Facts: Ray Farr is the 8th MD to take the helm with the band at the contest whilst 4 previous conductors find themselves with other bands this year – Messr’s Grant, Hurdley, Bentham and Lippeatt. Mark Bentham will be hoping not to repeat his 20th and last place of 1995 with his new charges, Hepworth. The highest individual placings from the judges have been two 6th placings in 1998 and 2001, but overall the band hasn’t come higher than 7th last year.

Current Form: On their day a very good band indeed and last year saw them put in a top class show in coming 7th. Ray Farr is an interesting choice to direct, but he showed at the European that the fire still burns in the belly and Ever Ready have enough class around the stand to make a mark here. Won the North East Area earlier this year under Nicholas Childs and a band that has improved on each outing here since 1999. Could do well, but more likely to have to be content with a top 10 placing at best.


4BR Ranking: 28
Conductor: Graham O’Connor
Principal Cornet: John Gill
Appearances: Debut
Debut: As above
Best Result: First appearance
Worst Result: As above
Overall Record: As above
Last Year: First appearance

Odd Facts: This is the first time at the contest for the band from the North East, although MD Graham O’Connor has been at the contest before with Rhodian Brass in 1997 when they came 16th, Stocksbridge in 1995 when they came 9th and Dodworth in 1993 when they came 13th.

Current Form: These have been troubled times of late for Fishburn, but it says a lot for their character that they came a well deserved 6th place at the recent Grand Shield under Graham O’Connor. His “old head” will be a bonus here in their debut outing and the recovery from a disappointing end to 2001 and 3rd place at the North East Area should now be behind them. May not feature highly but if they play well they could gain a midfield placing.

philip harperFlowers

4BR Ranking: 17
Conductor: Philip Harper
Principal Cornet: Kevin Robbins
Appearances: 9th time
Debut: 1994
Best Result: 5th 2001
Worst Result: 20th 1998
Overall Record: 1989 – 1993 – DNC; 1994 – 16th; 1995 – 19th; 1996 – 18th; 1997 – 8th; 1998 – 20th; 1999 – 8th; 2000 – 8th; 2001 – 5th.
Last Year: 5th overall (13th, 2nd, 4th)

Odd Facts: All 8 previous appearances at the contest have come under different MD’s – Philip Harper becomes the first man to take the band for a consecutive year this time around. James Scott placed the band 2nd individually last year, but 13th and 4th from the others meant 5th overall – their best ever position. They were last but one in 1998 when they came 20th in a 21 band field but in the last three years at least one judge has put them in the top five.

Current Form: Another band that will have been cramming in the rehearsal time since coming 3rd at the Grand Shield and just missing out on a trip to the British Open. They certainly like it at Cambridge though and the last three years have seen two 8th places and a 5th last year when James Scott had them as runners up. A very capable band, but one that does have the occasional lapse – 3rd at the West of England a classic example, but they have class a plenty around the stand and one of the best flugel horn players in the country. If they keep their heads they could well feature again.

russell grayFodens

4BR Ranking: 3
Conductor: Russell Gray
Principal Cornet: Mark Wilkinson
Appearances: 13th time
Debut: 1990
Best Result: Winners in 1990, 1991, 1994 and 1995
Worst Result: 12th 2000
Overall Record: 1989 – DNC; 1990 – 1st; 1991 – 1st; 1992 – 5th; 1993 – 3rd; 1994 – 1st; 1995 – 1st; 1996 – 2nd; 1997 – 6th; 1998 – 6th; 1999 – 5th; 2000 – 12th; 2001 – 4th.
Last Year: 4th overall (5th, 6th, 5th)

Odd Facts: The four wins have come on “Blitz”, “Harmony Music”, “Montage” and “Paganini Variations”. The last win was gained with an unprecedented 199 points – the highest ever at the contest. Russell Gray is only the fifth MD after Messr’s Snell, McCann, Childs and Richard Evans to take Fodens here although none of the previous three could emulate Howard Snell and gain a victory. 2000 saw the only time the band has come out of the top six here when they fell to their worse placing of 12th.

Current Form: The North West Area Champions are a band capable of winning any contest they appear in - and they have taken the title four times here. The last time was in 1995 so they may feel they are overdue another success, and in Russell Gray they have a talented MD not afraid of hard work for sure. Real top class performers in all the cornerstone positions and a bass end that still retains its menace. They have had the time to prepare and they may well get the nod this time around. They should better the 4th place of last year for sure and a possible nap hand win may very much be on the cards. Don’t miss them.


4BR Ranking: 30
Conductor: Mark Bentham
Principal Cornet: Mark Rogers
Appearances: Debut
Debut: 2002
Best Result: Debut
Worst Result: None
Overall Record: None
Last Year: Debut

Odd Facts: Hepworth make their debut this year after reaching the championship section just three years ago in 1999. Mark Bentham however isn’t making his debut here, as he directed Ever Ready to 20th place in 1995 (something he will be keen not to repeat). The band was founded in 1882 and only got a surprise invite to the contest following a late withdrawal.

Current Form: Given that Hepworth only got the invite to the contest on the back of a late withdrawal it may seem the band from just outside Huddersfield are on a hiding to nothing, but recent form shows that they won’t be out of their depth and will put in a strong show. 5th place at the Yorkshire Area was a well deserved achievement, but the 7th place in the Senior Cup and failure to get promotion the Grand Shield for 2003 was a blow. Will have to work hard to make a mark – especially on the limited time available to get “Atlantic” up to scratch, but worthy contenders. A midfield place could be on the cards.

bryan hurdleyJAG Mount Charles

4BR Ranking: 25
Conductor: Bryan Hurdley
Principal Cornet: Ian Thomas
Appearances: 2nd time
Debut: 2001
Best Result: 17th 2001
Worst Result: As above
Overall Record: 1989 – 2000 – DNC; 2001 – 17th.
Last Year: 17th overall (16th, 19th, 13th)

Odd Facts: David Hirst took the band in their debut appearance last year and this time out directs fellow South West rivals SWT Woodfalls. Bryan Hurdley directs this time after taking Ever Ready, Flowers and Sun Life here in past years. He has a best result of 4th place with Sun Life in both 1990, 1991 and 1992. Mount Charles became the 4th Cornish band to compete here following, St. Austell and Camborne in 1989 and Bodmin in 1998. The best result by a Cornish band here is 10th place for Camborne in 1990 and 1991.

Current Form: Came to the contest last year as an up and coming band but left with just 17th place to their name, whilst they come to this years contest as a band with the possible reputation to not being able to live up to the high level of expectation surrounding them after winning both Pontins late last year and Yeovil this year. The West of England Area was a major let down when they under performed to come 4th and the Grand Shield saw another below par outing when they came 9th. Plenty of talent and a top notch MD – on paper they should do very well, but contest are not held on paper are they? Midfield to top ten contenders depending on their mood.

james gourlayLeyland

4BR Ranking: 9
Conductor: James Gourlay
Principal Cornet: Leon Renilson
Appearances: 14th time
Debut: 1989
Best Result: Winners 1989 and 1992
Worst Result: 13th 2001
Overall Record: 1989 – 1st; 1990 – 2nd; 1991 – 3rd; 1992 - 1st; 1993 – 5th; 1994 – 6th; 1995 – 2nd; 1996 – 3rd; 1997 – 4th; 1998 - 3rd; 1999 – 12th; 2000 – 10th; 2001 – 13th.
Last Year: 13th overall (6th, 14th, 18th)

Odd Facts: The only band to have played at every Masters contest, they have won on “Cloudcatcher Fells” and “ Cambridge Variations”. Richard Evans directed from 1989 to 1999 and only in his last year when they came 12th did they come out of the top six. Between 1989 and 1997 under the old points system they never scored less than 190 points in any year. The band has competed under four different names – Leyland DAF, BNFL, JJB Sports and finally Leyland. Last year was their worse – 13th place and 38 points – 30 behind the winners.

Current Form: A band very much on the up – as 2001 showed and they will be keen to keep up the good form this year as well. 3rd place at the North West Area was a solid step forward again. They may not be quite the band they were when they took the title here in 1989 and 1992, but they have enough class and know how about them to feature highly this year. A repeat of last year’s 13th place is certainly not on the cards we think, and they could well get a mention off the stage at least.

peter parkesRansome

4BR Ranking: 11
Conductor: Major Peter Parkes
Principal Cornet: Jim Hayes
Appearances: 5th time
Debut: 1998
Best Result: 8th 2001
Worst Result: 17th 2000
Overall Record: 1989 – 1997 – DNC; 1998 – 12th; 1999 – 13th; 2000 – 17th; 2001 – 8th.
Last Year: 8th overall (4th, 12th, 8th)

Odd Facts: Peter Parkes becomes the 4th different MD in 5 attempts for the band at the Masters. In 1998 Geoffrey Brand put them 1st individually whilst both other judges put them 20th and 17th to come 12th overall. Roy Newsome put them 4th last year at the contest whilst the others placed them 12th and 8th to come 8th – some 16 points behind the winners. Peter Parkes has never won the contest, with a record of three consecutive runners up spots with Williams Fairey from 1992 – 1994 the closest he has come to becoming the only MD to win all four “Major” banding titles.

Current Form: Coming off the back of the major disappointment of only coming 5th at the Grand Shield will be a test of character for the band from the Midlands – especially as rehearsal time would have been limited. 2002 has not started too kindly for the band and the Grand Shield and failure to qualify for the National Finals when they could only manage 5th at the Midlands Area are not what you have come to expect off a band with undoubted class and talent. They did perform well at the Shield contest though and many had them tipped to win, so the link with the Major this time should benefit them. A repeat of last years 8th place may well be on the cards.

Rolls Royce (Coventry)

4BR Ranking: 60
Conductor: David Lea
Principal Cornet: Simon Lenton
Appearances: 2nd time
Debut: 2001
Best Result: 21st in 2001
Worst Result: As above

Overall Record: 1989 – 2000 – DNC; 2001 – 17th.
Last Year: 17th overall (21st, 20th 21st)

Odd Fact: The band came last here in 2001 after being awarded a total of 62 points – the second highest score since the contest took the new system of using places to determine overall positions. Only Rhodian brass with 63 points in 1998 beat this.

Current Form: The Masters of 2002 could well be a very hard experience for the band that came 7th at the Midlands Area contest and just a week or so ago came 10th at the Senior Cup in Blackpool. With rehearsal time short the band will have done well if they can improve on last years last place. They have decent players all around the stand and Dave Lea continues to perform with much credit in front of them, but it could be another year around the bottom of a high-class barrel.

Rothwell Temperance

4BR Ranking: 40
Conductor: David Roberts
Principal Cornet: David Hale
Appearances: 2nd time
Debut: 2001
Best Result: 11th
Worst Result: As above
Overall Record: 1989 – 2000 – DNC; 2001 – 11th
Last Year: 11th overall (12th, 5th, 16th)

Odd Fact: Last years debut for the Yorkshire based band saw them have a variety of placings from the three judges, Roy Newsome, James Scott and Geoff Whitham, with the senior judge James Scott placing them as high as 5th and Geoff Whitham placing them as low as 16th.

Current Form: Yet another band that will have had to cram in the rehearsal time after spending a fruitless weekend at Blackpool where they could only manage 15th place at the Grand Shield. They will be hoping that they don’t get a number 1 draw at Cambridge as they did there (it certainly didn’t help) and they are a band that has plenty of talent – especially in the cornermen positions. 7th place at the Yorkshire Area showed what they can do on their day, and they played well here last year to come 11th with James Scott putting them 5th. Safe and solid, they could well put up a good showing, but they may find themselves battling it out in midfield with a few others.

philip mccannSellers International

4BR Ranking: 18
Conductor: Philip McCann
Principal Cornet: Kirsty Abbotts
Appearances: 13th time
Debut: 1990
Best Result: 4th 1996
Worst Result: 21st 1999
Overall Record: 1989 – DNC; 1990 – 9th; 1991 – 5th; 1992 – 6th; 1993 – 6th; 1994 – 12th; 1995 – 5th; 1996 – 4th; 1997 – 7th; 1998 – 11th; 1999 – 21st; 2000 – 7th; 2001 – 15th.
Last Year: 15th overall (14th, 11th, 14th)

Odd Facts: Philip McCann returns to the band this year that he took on 6 consecutive occasions from 1990 – 1995 at the contest. In between the band has been directed on three occasions by Alan Morrison (96 – 98), Peter Parkes (99) and Alan Exely (2000 and 2001). 4th place in 1996 has been their best shot at the title in 12 previous attempts, whilst in 1999 they were awarded 19th place by all three individual judges to come 21st and last. Philip McCann has also directed Fodens in 1997 here when they came 6th. Last year saw them total 39 points – 31 behind the eventual winners.

Current Form: 7th place at the Grand Shield would have been a big let down for a band that has been revitalised since the return of Philip McCann to the ranks and 6th place at the Yorkshire Area was possibly a better indication of their form and abilities. A band with a fine record here (with the exception of 1999 and 2001) and one that has the talent to repeat the achievements of the early 1990’s. Well worth a listen out for and don’t be surprised if you hear their name mentioned off the stage.

david hirstSWT Woodfalls

4BR Ranking: 34
Conductor: David Hirst
Principal Cornet: Hugh Cameron
Appearances: 6th time
Debut: 1997
Best Result: 9th 1999
Worst Result: 20th 2001
Overall Record: 1989 – 1996 DNC; 1997 – 13th; 1998 – 15th; 1999 – 9th; 2000 – 18th; 2001 – 20th.
Last Year: 20th overall (19th, 21st, 17th)

Odd Facts: David Hirst becomes the 5th MD in 6 attempts to front the 2002 West of England Regional winners at the contest. He has previously taken Mount Charles, Marple and Yorkshire Imps here. Peter Parkes was at the helm last year when they came a lowly 20th whilst their best place was 9th under Steve Sykes in 1999. Their highest individual placing came that year when James Scott put them 6th.

Current Form: The West of England Champions will be coming to the contest with hopes high and looking to at least repeat the result of 1999 when they came 9th. Last year hey were way off the pace and came last but one, but West of England Championships at Bristol saw them gain a well deserved victory. Not hampered by the Grand Shield weekend, this has given them the extra time to prepare for this outing. David Hirst will surely have worked the band hard, but it may be that they find themselves in a scrap for the middle ground rather than either the high or low ground this year.

stan lippeattThoresby Colliery (UK Coal)

4BR Ranking: 37
Conductor: Stan Lippeatt
Principal Cornet: Neil Day
Appearances: 3rd time
Debut: 1990
Best Result: 13th 1991
Worst Result: 16th 1990
Overall Record: 1989 – DNC; 1990 – 16th; 1991 – 13th; 1992 – 2001 – DNC.
Last Year: DNC

Odd Facts: This will be the third time the band has competed at the Masters – 11 years after they were last here. Stan Lippeatt also conducted them on both those occasions. Stan also took Ever Ready to the contest in 1993 when they came 17th.

Current Form: Yet another band that will have had to spend extra hours in the bandroom after coming away form the Grand Shield weekend with a well deserved 4th place (and promotion) from the Senior Cup. 4th place there and 3rd place at the Midlands Area show that this is a well directed and solid outfit, even if they may not be the strongest of contenders for the top prizes here. A welcome return to Cambridge after an eleven year absence should hopefully see them improve on their best of 13th place of 1991 - but it will be very hard.

brian grantTravelsphere Holidays

4BR Ranking: 13
Conductor: Brian Grant
Principal Cornet: Alan Morrison
Appearances: 11th time
Debut: 1992
Best Result: 4th 1995, 1999, 2000
Worst Result: 18th 2001
Overall Record: 1989 – 1991 – DNC; 1992 – 14th; 1993 – 7th; 1994 – 17th; 1995 – 4th; 1996 – 8th; 1997 – 14th; 1998 – 7th; 1999 – 4th; 2000 – 4th; 2001 – 18th.
Last Year: 18th overall (18th, 17th, 19th)

Odd Facts: John Berryman took the band for the first six attempts when they competed as Rigid Containers. Melvin White took the next three when they were called GUS and finally Frank Renton took them last year as Travelsphere Holidays. Last year was their worse ever at the contest when they were awarded a total of 56 points – 46 behind the winners. Frank Renton will be with Williams Fairey this year, whilst Brian Grant was at the helm with Ever Ready last year and took them to 7th place.

Current Form: Brian Grant has brought a touch of stability to Travelsphere after the excitement of the Frank Renton years and this was very much the case as they qualified for the National Finals after coming runners up to Desford at the Midland Area contest. No distractions in recent weeks should see them well prepared and they will be certainly keen not to repeat the horrors of the 18th place last year and the glut of very early draws that scupperred just about every performance before they begun. Should do well and a top ten place is well within their grasp, although a repeat of the 4th places of 1999 and 2000 may just be out of their reach this time.

frank rentonWilliams Fairey

4BR Ranking: 5
Conductor: Frank Renton
Principal Cornet: Ian Porthouse
Appearances: 13th time
Debut: 1990
Best Result: Winners 1996 and 1997
Worst Result: 11th 1995
Overall Record: 1989 – DNC; 1990 – 3rd; 1991 – 6th; 1992 – 2nd; 1993 – 2nd; 1994 – 2nd; 1995 – 11th; 1996 – 1st; 1997 – 1st; 1998 – 2nd; 1999 – 3rd; 2000 – 2nd; 2001 – 9th.
Last Year: 9th overall (15th, 7th, 3rd)

Odd Facts: Peter Parkes gained three consecutive runners up places with the band from 1992 – 1994. If he had won he would have been the only man to have won all four “Majors” – Open, National, European and Masters. 2000 saw them lose by one place as YBS scored a 1st, 2nd and 1st to their 2nd, 1st and 2nd. William Relton gave them the top spot. Frank Renton becomes the fourth man to take the band at the contest after Messrs Parkes, Gourlay and Snell. He has also taken Travelsphere, JJB Sports, Woolley Pritchard Sovereign in the last three years with a best of 10th with JJB and took Grimethorpe to 3rd place in 1992 and 5th in 1989.

Current Form: Could 1997 see a return to winning ways at Cambridge for one of the strongest bands at the contest, or could it be a repeat of the disappointment of 2001 when they came 9th? An amazing line up of talented players in all positions and an overall record second to none here, but they have opted for the possible high risk strategy of Frank Renton to direct the performance, so this could be one hell of a ride. When the Gods are smiling both are nigh on unbeatable, but they could only manage runners up at the North West Area and of late their have not quite been the unbeatable force that on paper they always look like. We have a sneaky suspicion though that things are just about ready to explode and this could be the start of the Fairey’s ascent to the top of the contesting tree. The band to beat?

david kingYorkshire Building Society

4BR Ranking: 1
Conductor: Dr. David King
Principal Cornet: Stuart Lingard
Appearances: 9th time
Debut: 1994
Best Result: Winners 1999 and 2000
Worst Result: 6th 1995 and 1996
Overall Record: 1989 – 1993 – DNC; 1994 – 3rd; 1995 – 6th; 1996 – 6th; 1997 – 3rd; 1998 – 4th; 1999 – 1st; 2000 – 1st; 2001 – 2nd.
Last Year: 2nd overall (7th, 1st, 1st)

Odd Facts: Since the new judging system was adopted in 1998, they have each year been placed 1st by at least two of the three judges each time. 1998 they came 4th after two 1st places and a 13th from adjudicator Geoffrey Brand, whilst last year Dr Roy Newsome placed them 7th after two 1st places from the other judges. They have yet to come lower than 6th place since entering the contest as the YBS band in 1994. Dr. David King also conducted Kennedy Swinton to 3rd place at the contest at the first contest – the only other time he has conducted here.

Current Form: If they play to the form that saw them scorch to victory at the European then they could be unbeatable here and will surely take the trophy home to the YBS headquarters for the third time in four years. YBS have the ability to perform like no other band, but at times at Cambridge not even this has been enough to win. Last year was the second time that they have been scupperred by just the one “rogue” judge, and it could well happen again. No need to describe the quality of the players and the MD, but the Corn Exchange hasn’t been the happiest of stages for YBS over the years and they will have to play to their very best form if they are to beat an even stronger field than at Brussels and take the title for a third time. Don’t miss their effort though.

4BarsRest Prediction:

On paper the Masters is perhaps the easiest contest to predict, as there is a definite three division feel about it. The top division come to the contest knowing they have the ability to win, whilst the second tier come with hopes of coming in the top six at best. The bottom tier come in hope of beating their fellow rivals and taking home more than a few scalps.

Thus, we can see a group of seven bands battling it out at the top, a further seven making up the midfield and a bottom six scrabbling around below this. The top seven should be made up of bands such as YBS, Williams Fairey, Fodens, Brighouse and Rastrick, Leyland, Sellers International and Travelsphere, whilst the midfield should come out of (again in no particular order) - Flowers, Ever Ready, Rothwell Temperance, DUT Yorkshire Imperial Rothwell, Ransome, Aveley and Newham and Besses O’ the Barn. The bottom tier could well come from Thoresby Colliery (UK Coal), SWT Woodfalls, Rolls Royce (Coventry), Hepworth, JAG Mount Charles and Fishburn (again in no particular order).

So who is it going to be?

Williams Fairey
Yorkshire Building Society
Brighouse and Rastrick
Sellers International

Dark Horses: Travelsphere Holidays or Flowers.

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Butterworth CD - available with 4BR shopping