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2004 Yorkshire Regional Championships

The Championship Section:
Sunday 7th March

Adjudicators: David Read and Roy Roe
Test Piece: Tristan Encounters - Martin Ellerby

Yorkshire has a proud boast that at the top level, its bands are the best around, and a look at the last ten years results from the National Finals at the Royal Albert Hall, tend to support that fact – to a point.

Since 1993, a Yorkshire band has won the National title on no less than 5 occasions, whilst they can also boast 4 runners up and 4 third places. However, those 5 wins have been shared by just two bands, Black Dyke with 3 victories and Brighouse with a brace. You have to go back to 1992 and Grimethorpe to find a third Yorkshire name gracing the old trophy, whilst you need to go further back to 1978 and Yorkshire Imps, to find a fourth. The Area is undoubtedly exceptionally strong, but that strength isn’t always a guarantee of Albert Hall success for the qualifiers here. Still – they do take some beating.

Last year at the Albert Hall the three qualifiers came 4th, 6th and 13th – not bad, but given that the top four automatically get a return ticket, Black Dyke’s fourth place means one hell of a dogfight this time around.

15 bands is 5 too many for us – and it also can lead to the odd result (last year perhaps was a case in point). It also means that the standard isn’t as high as the good Yorkshire folk may lead you to believe either. There are undoubtedly some brilliant bands here, but there are also some mediocre ones as well. It should still make for one heck of a contest though and the organisers have taken the failsafe option of employing two adjudicators this year to possibly ensure that the best bands make it through. Nothing – especially in Yorkshire though, is certain, so look out for a possible surprise or two come Sunday evening.

Derek RenshawStocksbridge
Derek Renshaw

4BR Ranking:
Last Year:

Last Eight Years:
2003: 2nd (14) (Derek Renshaw)
2002: 14th
2001: Winners First Section
2000: Winners First Section
1999: 12th
1998: DNC
1997: 8th
1996: 4th

Last year Stocksbridge perhaps produced the shock result of the entire Area Championships when they came runners up here. However, they certainly didn’t disgrace themselves, or the reputation of Yorkshire come the National Finals where they produced a solid performance in coming 13th.

What this year will bring though is anyone’s guess. Another repeat may be beyond them, but with talented players throughout the ranks and a quality MD, they should more than hold their own.

Dr. Nicholas ChildsBlack Dyke
Dr. Nicholas Childs

4BR Ranking:
Last Year:

Last Eight Years:
2003: 13th (1) (Nicholas Childs)
2002: Winners
2001: Winners
2000: 3rd
1999: 7th
1998: Winners
1997: 5th
1996: DNC

Who would have thought it? Last year Dyke were trying to complete a hat trick of wins, but what with a number 1 draw and an interpretation that didn’t find favour with Goff Richards they fell to 13th place – their worst ever result at the Area Championships.

They showed their class later in the year with fine performances at the Open and Nationals (where they once again automatically qualified), but they didn’t win – and contest wins are what Black Dyke are all about. Another 13th place (and possible relegation?) should certainly not be on the cards this time around, whilst a third win in four years is a real possibility.

James GourlayBrighouse & Rastrick
James Gourlay

4BR Ranking:
Last Year:

Last Eight Years:
2003: Winners (13) (Ian McElligott)
2002: 3rd
2001: 3rd
2000: 5th
1999: 2nd
1998: 7th
1997: Winners
1996: 2nd

Last years winners may have parted company with their MD, but they have made a pretty good choice of replacement in the form of James Gourlay. When he is on top form he can mould a special performance from his charges, but there are also other times when things don’t quite click into a contest winning place.

Brighouse have all the quality players you care to mention, and over the past couple of years they have become a much more refined band. If things do click with Mr Gourlay they could well repeat their tremendous winning performance of a twelve-month ago – if not, then they could well miss out on the London trip.

William RushworthCarlton Main Frickley Colliery
William Rushworth

4BR Ranking:
Last Year:

Last Eight Years:
2003: 10th (3) (William Rushworth)
2002: 9th
2001: 10th
2000: 10th
1999: Winners
1998: 9th
1997: 4th
1996: 11th

William Rushworth has headed a real revival in Carlton Main’s fortunes, what with a return to the British Open last year. However, they are still a little way away from being the finished article just yet, and did find life more difficult against higher class competitors.

They did win here in 1999, but since then they have struggled to make an impression of note. They certainly have the talent around the stands, but we think they may have to be content with a place outside the top six this time.

Chapeltown Silver Prize
Ian Scott

4BR Ranking:
Last Year:
4th in First Section

Last Eight Years:
2003: 4th in First Section (prom) (Andrew Holland)
2002: 3rd in First Section
2001: 3rd in First Section
2000: 10th in First Section
1999: 4th in First Section
1998: 9th in First Section
1997: 8th in First Section
1996: 8th in First Section

Not wishing to tempt fate, but Chapletown could find the difference between coming 4th in the First Section and making an impression here a very hard task indeed. The difference between the Championship Section and the First is big at the best of times, but in Yorkshire it is magnified even more with the quality of the very top bands.

We hope Chapletown prove us wrong, but we think if they take a couple of scalps could be the best result they can hope for.

Frank RentonGrimethorpe Colliery (U.K.Coal)
Frank Renton

4BR Ranking:
Last Year:

Last Eight Years:
2003: 5th (4) (James Gourlay)
2002: 2nd
2001: 4th
2000: 2nd
1999: DNC
1998: 3rd
1997: DNC
1996: Winners

1991 was the year that Grimethorpe and Frank Renton last won the Yorkshire Regional Championships, so can the reformed duo do it again some 13 years later? Rumours are that the band are playing exceptionally well on their never ending World Tours, but can that be translated into contest winning form?

On their day Grimethorpe can be unbeatable, but you have to go back to 1996 for the last time they really did the business big style here. If the old magic is still there, and the mood takes them, one of the most famous banding duets could well be back on top of the World (Bradford at any rate) once more.

Mark BenthamHepworth (Persimmon Homes)
Mark Bentham

4BR Ranking:
Last Year:

Last Eight Years:
2003: 11th (8) (Mark Bentham)
2002: 5th
2001: 9th
2000: 9th
1999: 5th
1998: 5th First Section (prom)
1997: 3rd First Section
1996: 3rd First Section

Here is a very good band in the making. Hepworth had a very fine 2003 and will be keen to improve further in 2004, but they are up against some of the best bands in the business in Bradford. They have shown over the last few years that they can more than hold their own here, and this time they have an even stronger line up of players around the stands.

If they play to form they should do well, although as a young band they perhaps lack the depth of sound of their more mature rivals. Still, a top six place should be well within their growing capabilities.

Kevin WadsworthInnovate Skelmanthorpe
Kevin Wadsworth

4BR Ranking:
Last Year:

Last Eight Years:
2003: 7th (11) (Kevin Wadsworth)
2002: 11th
2001: 5th
2000: 11th
1999: 3rd First Section (prom)
1998: 4th First Section
1997: 6th First Section
1996: 5th First Section

A real solid performer here over the past few years, Kevin Wadsworth and his Pontins Champions will fancy their chances of making a real mark on this test piece.

They have the players around the stand all right and an MD with the experience and talent to bring the most out of a tricky score, so another top 10 result should be well within them. They will be looking to better last year’s 7th place for sure, but we think a top six place may just be out of reach this time.

Kevin BelcherKnottingley Silver
Kevin Belcher

4BR Ranking:
Last Year:
Winners of First Section

Last Eight Years:
2003: Winners of First Section (prom) (Kevin Belcher)
2002: 5th in First Section
2001: Winners 2nd Section (prom)
2000: 2nd 2nd Section
1999: 7th 2nd Section
1998: 3rd 3rd Section (prom)
1997: 4th 3rd Section
1996: 9th 3rd Section

The other promoted band from the First Section, Knottingley we feel will also find life tough up against the big guns in Bradford. Kevin Belcher has worked hard with the band over the past few years, and 4th place at Dundee was a good return, but this is a different kettle of fish entirely, and they could only manage 3rd place in the First Section Finals at Pontins.

We are sure they will be well prepared, but this will be a very hard test indeed, and the possibility of coming ahead of a couple of rivals may be the best they can hope for this year.

Neil JowettLindley
Neil Jowett

4BR Ranking:
Last Year:

Last Eight Years:
2003: 8th (15) (Neil Jowett)
2002: 4th First Section
2001: 4th First Section
2000: 12th
1999: 9th
1998: 8th
1997: 4th First Section
1996: Winners First Section

Lindley put in a very decent show here last year to come 8th, but towards the end of 2003 they found life a bit tougher and could only manage 9th place at the Pontins Finals.

Neil Jowett is a talented MD, but the second year in the top section is always harder than the first, and if they come in the top 10 again, we think they will be delighted. They should have enough about them to do that if they play to form, although they could find it a hard days work on “Tristan”.

Ian PorthousePennine Brass
Ian Porthouse

4BR Ranking:
Last Year:

Last Eight Years:
2003: 12th (5) (Ian Porthouse)
2002: 10th
2001: 2nd First Section (prom)
2000: Winners Second Section

Much was expected of Pennine Brass last year at this contest, but they put in a poor performance by their own standards and had to be content with 12th place. That disappointed them for sure, especially as they went on to win the Senior Trophy in Blackpool.

Ian Porthouse continues to direct the band in the right musical direction, and with some fine young players around the stands, they should have enough about them to squeeze into the top 10 if they play to form. However, in Pontins late last year they could only manage 8th place behind three of their rivals here, so they will have to perform well to make a mark.

David RobertsRothwell Temperance
David Roberts

4BR Ranking:
Last Year:

Last Eight Years:
2003: 4th (9) (David Roberts)
2002: 7th
2001: 8th
2000: 8th
1999: 3rd
1998: Winners First Section
1997: 2nd First Section
1996: Winners Second Section

A fine result from a quiet band last year. We say quiet, because we didn’t hear much from them after they won the Senior Cup and competed at the Masters, so it will be interesting to see what form they bring with them to Bradford.

Twice in the past five years Rothwell have produced fine performances, so they have the quality. Whether or not they can do it twice in a row is another matter, but they certainly be well worth listening out for.

Philip McCannSellers International
Philip McCann

4BR Ranking:
Last Year:

Last Eight Years:
2003: 3rd (10) (Philip McCann)
2002: 6th
2001: 12th
2000: 6th
1999: 4th
1998: 6th
1997: 6th
1996: Joint 6th

Last year saw Sellers produce their best result at the Regional Championships since they came runners up in 1995. The return of Philip McCann has seen a real upturn in fortunes and with the players that they have in ranks on the main solo instruments, they should be strong contenders here once more.

2004 is an important year for Sellers, after the improvements over the last twelve months a return to London and possibly Birmingham and the British Open could be on the cards. The next step forward starts here.

Professor David King Yorkshire Building Society
Professor David King

4BR Ranking:
Last Year:

Last Eight Years:
2003: 6th (2) (David King)
2002: 4th
2001: 2nd
2000: Winners
1999: 6th
1998: 2nd
1997: 3rd
1996: DNC

What is it with the National Championships and YBS eh? Put them on a contest stage just about anywhere else in the world and they are nigh on unbeatable, but the Nationals (even the qualifiers) don’t quite seem to suit them.

Last year they played well enough to have qualified in any other Area, but they could only come home 6th, and that meant them missing out on London once more. This time they arrive in ever more determined mood, and we think that it could well signal their third win and a return to Kensington. What may happen there though is another story altogether.

David EvansYorkshire Imperial Urquhart Travel
David Evans

4BR Ranking:
Last Year:

Last Eight Years:
2003: 9th (7) (David Evans)
2002: 8th
2001: 7th
2000: 7th
1999: 8th
1998: 5th
1997: 10th
1996: 5th

The admirably consistent Imps were more than a little unlucky to come 9th here last year, after producing a fine performance that was highlighted by the playing of Nick Hudson on trombone who was awarded the Eddie Noble Best Soloist prize.

They certainly have the quality in front of them in the shape of David Evans, but they just need that little bit of luck to push themselves higher up the prize list. They last won here in 1993 (the last time they played at the Finals) so a return is well overdue. It could be this year, so look out for them as a dark horse.

Results archive:
Full results of previous year's contests together with a results summary can be found in our results archive.

Past Qualifiers:

2003: Brighouse and Rastrick, Asda Stocksbridge, Black Dyke*
2002: Black Dyke*, Grimethorpe, Brighouse and Rastrick, YBS*
2001: Black Dyke, YBS, Brighouse and Rastrick*
2000: YBS, Grimethorpe Colliery, Brighouse and Rastrick*
1999: Carlton Main, Rothwell Temperance, Brighouse and Rastrick*, YBS*
1998: Black Dyke, YBS, Brighouse and Rastrick*
1997: Brighouse and Rastrick, Wallace Arnold Rothwell, Grimethorpe*
1996: Grimethopre Colliery, Brighouse and Rastrick, Black Dyke*, YBS*
1995: Brighouse and Rastrick, Sellers Engineering, Black Dyke*, Brighouse and Rastrick*
1994: YBS, Black Dyke
1993: DUT Yorkshire Imperial, British Steel Dodworth, Grimethorpe Colliery*
1992: Brighouse and Rastrick, Grimethorpe Colliery
1991: Grimethorpe Colliery, Stocksbridge Engineering, IMI Yorkshire Imperial
1990: Black Dyke, Sellers Engineering, Stocksbridge Engineering
1989: Brighouse and Rastrick, Black Dyke, Grimethorpe Colliery

*Pre Qualified

How Yorkshire bands did in London:

2003: 4th, 6th, 13th
2002: 3rd, 5th, 6th, 7th
2001: 1st, 3rd, 11th
2000: 4th, 10th, 17th
1999: 2nd, 6th, 8th, 17th
1998: 1st, 2nd, 5th
1997: 1st, 7th, 15th
1996: 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 6th
1995: 1st, 2nd, 4th, 7th
1994: 1st, 3rd
1993: 4th 7th, 14th

4BR Prediction:

What a cracking start to the Regional Championships we are in store for at Bradford. There is a whole group of bands that are out to prove to themselves and their supporters that last year was something of a “Annus Horibilis” on “Prague”. YBS and Black Dyke are two who are desperate to show their class, and we think they will be the two to fight it out for the top prize. YBS need to win here and to show that the Nationals are not their perennial bete noire, whilst Dyke need a good result to stop them from being possible relegation candidates.

Grimethorpe meanwhile have wound back the clock to engage Frank Renton, and we think the old magic may just about be ready for a return. We go for them to take the second qualifying place on offer. Brighouse and James Gourlay should feature, depending on their mood, whilst Sellers are a band back on the right track. Hepworth are also another band who had a good 2003, and are full to the brim with confidence, so a top six place should be well within their grasp.

As for the rest? There is more than enough class here for some of the remaining bands to make a serious mark, but Yorkshire Imps could be the dark horses this time around. Whatever the result, we are sure there will be an air of musical desperation around St. George’s Hall for much of the contest this year. Mr Read and Mr Roe have a very hard task ahead of them.

1. Yorkshire Building Society
2. Black Dyke
3. Grimethorpe Colliery
4. Brighouse and Rastrick
5. Sellers International
6. Hepworth

Dark Horse: Yorkshire Imperial Urquart Travel

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