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The 2002 Mineworkers Championships

Contest Preview:

START TIME – 12.00 am

1st: £1000
2nd: £875
3rd: £750
4th: £625

The annual pilgrimage to Blackpool that is the Mineworkers Brass Band Championships occurs again this weekend, with a spirited field of bands taking part in a contest that even in its very abridged form holds a special significance to the banding world as a whole.

The mining industry may be a fraction of the size that it once was, and today is no longer the pride of the Nationalised World as it was when brought into being under the Labour Government of Clement Attlee in 1947 - but it is still a significant cultural as well as musical event.

Bands from around the country – including those today not only from the traditional heartlands of the industry but also areas not readily identified with mining are represented. 52 band on show (although we hear there may be one or two who have dropped out – but still up 5 from last year) all out to show the adjudicators that they are the best of the best in the mining community. All sections take place on Saturday at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool.

With the advent of pit closures the number of bands taking part has shrunk somewhat from the 1960’s and 1970’s but there were still 60 bands taking part in 1997, whilst this went to 58, then 54, 49 in 2000 and 47 last year – so this year is a welcome sign, although the long term decline is very worrying indeed.

The evening concert this year will be provided by Grimethorpe Colliery UK Coal and may possibly be a dress rehearsal for their Spennymoor programme. The band will be defending that title the very next day, so watch out. Entrance is a bargain at just £3.00, so make the most of it. The concert starts at 4.00pm.

Championship Section:

Test Piece – Essence of Time by Peter Graham
Adjudicator: David Read

Broughton’s Brass - P. Rosier
Dalmellington Band - R. Evans
Ever Ready Band - R. Farr
Fishburn Band - G. O’Connor
Greggs Bakery Band - I. McElligott
Grimethorpe Colliery (UK Coal) Band - J. Gourlay
Kingdom Brass Band - S. Kerwin
Newstead Welfare Band - A. Morrison
Newtongrange Band - D. Beckley
Thoresby (UK Coal) Band - S. Lippeatt

The Top Section has become something of one horse race over the years, especially as it has seen Grimethorpe just about win the title every year bar none. We know it’s open adjudication and we know they are the traditional darlings of the crowd, but overall there hasn’t really been too many performances over the years that could possibly have knocked them off their perch. Sometimes it’s been close, but mostly it hasn’t.

Ever Ready on their day will push them closest and have had a decent year so far, but they came 3 points off them last year and it should be about the same margin this time around as well. Dalmellington with Richard Evans at the helm will be one to watch and Newtongrange who came 4th last year should also feature. Thorseby are a good band and came third last year here, so they too will looking to feature in the prizes. It could be good scrap for third place between these three and we think Fishburn will just pip the rest to take 6th.

Not the hardest test piece in the world – but certainly one of the nicest ones to play and listen to. It was used at the Europeans in 1990 and has since done the rounds – although it was played in the First Section a few times where none of the bands could really overcome it. It is one of those pieces that good quality bands can play comfortably, whilst bands around the first section mark would have some difficulty with. The top bands here should give quality performances though.

Grimey have been the perennial winners here for more years than anyone can remember, but the first winners back in 1962 were Carlton Main under Jack Atherton who won again in 1963. Markham Main then did the double under Walter Hargreaves before Carlton came back to win again in 1966. The next three years was a Grimey hat trick under George Thompson before Cory took a hat trick in 1970, 71 and 72. Grimey again in 1973, a tie in 1974 between them and Cory before Grimey did a double and Desford came up trumps in 1977. After that we don'’ know until the 1990’s.

Records at Blackpool since 1997:

Broughton’s Brass
2001: 11th - 1st Section
2000: 4th – 1st Section
1999: 9th – 1st Section
1998: 9th – 1st Section
1997: 5th – 1st Section

Dalmellington Band
2001: 5th – N/K
2000: DNC
1999: DNC
1998: DNC
1997: DNC

Ever Ready Band
2001: 2nd – R. Farr
2000: DNC
1999: DNC
1998: DNC
1997: 2nd – B. Grant

Fishburn Band
2001: 8th – I. Robinson
2000: 2nd – I. Robinson
1999: 3rd – I. Robinson
1998: 2nd – I. Robinson
1997: 3rd – I. Robinson

Greggs Bakery Band
2001: 10th – N/K
2000: 8th – S. Malcolm
1999: 8th – 1st Section
1998: 4th – 2nd Section
1997: 1st – 2nd Section

Grimethorpe Colliery (UK Coal) Band
2001: 1st - J. Gourlay
2000: 1st - G. Cutt
1999: 1st – G. Cutt
1998: 1st – P. Parkes
1997: 1st – P. Parkes

Kingdom Brass Band
2001: 7th – N/K
2000: DNC
1999: 7th – 1st Section
1998: DNC
1997: DNC

Newstead Welfare Band
2001: 6th – N/K
2000: 4th – D. Beckley
1999: 10th – 1st Section
1998: 1st - 1st Section
1997: 4th – 1st Section

Newtongrange Band
2001: 4th – N/K
2000: 3rd – D. Hirst
1999: 2nd – D. Hirst
1998: DNC
1997: 7th – D. Broadbent

Thoresby (UK Coal) Band
2001: 3rd – S. Lippeatt
2000: 1st – 1st Section
1999: 7th – S. Lippeatt
1998: 5th – S. Lippeatt
1997: 9th – K. Wardle

4BR Prediction:
1. Grimethorpe
2. Ever Ready
3. Dalmellington
4. Thoresby
5. Newtongrange
6. Fishburn

Last year:
1. Grimethorpe
2. Ever Ready
3. Thorseby
4. Newtongrange
5. Dalmellington
6. Newstead
7. Kingdom Brass
8. Fishburn
9. Riddings
10. Gregg’s Bakery

The Champions:
2001: Grimethorpe Colliery
2000: Grimethorpe Colliery
1999: Grimethopre Colliery
1998: Grimethorpe Colliery
1997: Grimethorpe Colliery
1996: Grimethorpe Colliery
1995: Grimethorpe Colliery
1994: Grimethorpe Colliery

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