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Nationals Championship of Great Britain 2003

Introduction and 4BR Prediction

We let you you know who we think will take home with them the big silver cup on their band bus on Saturday night, plus our rather strange reasons why......


When was the last time a rank outsider won the National Finals? Given that the British Open has always had the propensity to throw up one or two long odds winners (Marple and City of Coventry come to mind), you would have thought the Nationals may have done the same from time to time. However, a closer look at the record books shows that the last time the banding equivalent of Foinavon romped home was perhaps in 1990 when CWS (Glasgow) upset the bookies when they won on the rather inappropriately titled “English Heritage”.

Given that the Nationals is rarely contested by all the top ranked bands in the country, you would have thought it would have happened more regularly - but no. Before the first Scottish win, you may have had to go back to the first Cory win in 1974, whilst before that it really takes some finding. The Nationals it seems is the preserve of the favourites, and even though there are three of the top 10 4BR ranked bands absent this time – YBS, Grimethorpe and Whitburn - you can get the feeling that come results time the bookies will be happy as sandboys as one of the short priced runners takes home with them the big silver cup.

So, who will it be then? We have left our learned prediction to the last moment as we took note of the hundreds (and we mean hundreds) of entries for our Nationals Competition. When it comes to making predictions, it seems that most people will always go with the tried and tested, and so, even with a few well known bands sat at home fiddling with their thumbs, not too many people have stuck their necks out and thought that 2003 could well be another 1990. No. Most people think it’s going to a toss up between a repeat of 2002 and Fairey FP (Music), 2001 and Black Dyke or 2000 and BAYV Cory. Given that nearly everyone else has plumbed for another Fodens or Brighouse the bookmakers will be happy chappies for another year at least it seems.

Just for the record though (and to approach our own prediction at a slightly obscure angle of deliberation), Fairey have never, ever retained a National title, Black Dyke have never won the National when there has been a 3 in the year and BAYV Cory have yet to regain their title after losing it in the same decade they first won it. Fodens last three National wins span half a century and Brighouse last won the title in the previous Millennium. That should rule all of them out then!

So if it isn’t going to be any of these big five, who could it be?

There are many fine bands here, but it would be a major upset indeed if the likes of Scottish Co-op, Flowers, Ransomes, Ever Ready or Tredegar took home the trophy, and whilst you would never discount Leyland or Desford, their records of late count against them winning. As for Redbridge, EYMS, Camborne, Burry Port, Alliance, Stocksbridge, Kirkintilloch and Haydock? Fine bands, but not ones you would put next months mortgage payment on to become National Champions 2003.

No – despite their awful records (if you do look at it in such a cock-eyed way) the winners are more than likely to come from those five bands we mentioned first. They certainly all have the players, and all have more than capable MD’s, whilst they all have the added bonus of knowing just what it takes in recent years to walk away with the trophy. That’s why we think this year – like just about every other one here at the Albert Hall – the winner will come from the traditional heavyweights of the contesting scene.

That’s why with all our scientific research and planning we have gone for a close run fight between those five, with a couple of dark horses thrown in for good measure to keep the bookies guessing. And that’s why we have plumbed for Black Dyke to win by a very short head from BAYV Cory, Brighouse and Rastrick, Fairey FP (Music) and Fodens Richardson, with Flowers making up the top six and Leyland as our Dark Horse.

Dyke are due a big win and in recent times at the Majors they have only been a few costly clips away from doing it, whilst if they are to triumph they will have to beat BAYV Cory, the most consistently brilliant contesting band around at the moment. Only one Childs can come out on top this weekend, and we think it could well be the younger sibling by a very narrow margin.

After theat we have a strong feeling that Brighouse are nearing the time when another Major may come their way – under Major McElligott they are performing to an amazing level of consistency each time they take to the stage, whilst Fairey FP (Music) could either be so brilliant to win be a proverbial mile, or be struck dead with a furlong to go like they were at the Open. It may well be a Devon Lock year though this time. Fodens will always be there or thereabouts, but we have a real inkling for Flowers who are well overdue to play to the form here that they display on such a regular basis against the same bands at the Masters. Our dark horse though could well be Leyland and Garry Cutt – not a great record here over the past few years, out of the Open, but on their day, more than capable of beating just about anyone.

4BR Prediction:

1. Black Dyke
2. BAYV Cory
3. Brighouse and Rastrick
4. Fairey FP (Music)
5. Fodens Richardson
6. Flowers

Dark Horse: Leyland

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