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2004 Midlands Regional Championships

First Section
Saturday 6th March

Test Piece: Coventry Variations – Bramwell Tovey
Malcolm Brownbill

Where as a band from the Midlands hasn’t won the Championship National title for thirteen years, the First Section has done the Area proud and can boast two winners in the First Section in the past four years although the two qualifiers to Dundee could only manage 7th, 8th and 9th place in 2003.

That seemed a disappointment, as the three bands that made the trip were on paper some of the strongest there. Kibworth have since been promoted, but Rididngs and Gresley Old Hall remain and should provide two strong contenders for the title again.

Just as last year, the set work will be a stern test and the stamina of the bands will be stretched to the full. So should their ability to produce a large, but balanced quality sound, so those bands with MD’s who know the difference between playing loudly and playing loudly but balanced and rounded should we hope, prosper.

Malcolm Brownbill is the man in the box who will need to be impressed, and he is experience enough to separate the wheat from the chaff. Those bands with real aspirations to make it to the Championship level should find a sympathetic ear to quality awaiting them.

Bedworth Brass
Conductor: D. Williams

Last Seven Years:
2003: 10th (D. Williams)
2002: 6th
2001: 16th
2000: 2nd 2nd Section (prom)
1999: 15th 2nd Section
1998: Winners 2nd Section
1997: -

Bedworth could only manage 10th place here last year and so they will be hoping for an improvement to stave off the threat of possible relegation. Since gaining promotion they have had a bit of an up and down series of results here, so it will be interesting to see what form they bring with them this time.

18th place at Pontins late last year gives an indication that they will need to work hard.

J. GlynnBrackley & District
Conductor: J. Glynn

Last Seven Years:
2003: 9th (J. Glynn)
2002: 3rd 2nd Section (prom)
2001: 6th 2nd Section
2000: 4th 2nd Section
1999: 12th 2nd Section
1998: 4th 2nd Section
1997: 14th 2nd Section

Brackley held their own here last year with a solid 9th place on their debut after gaining promotion from the Second Section. Another push forward should be on the cards and 2003 wasn’t too bad a year for them. If they can play to form and given a touch of luck, a top six place may not be beyond them.

Conductor: S. Cooper

Last Seven Years:
2003: 13th (S. Cooper)
2002: 7th
2001: 7th
2000: 11th
1999: 10th
1998: 9th Championship (rel)
1997: 11th Championship

A poor result for Enderby last year when they dropped from two consecutive 7th places to come home 13th, beating just three of the sixteen bands on the day. That surely was a big disappointment as they had hoped to at least come in the top six and possibly gain a qualification place.

A disappointing 20th place at Pontins will hopefully be a blip in the form, but if not, it could be another hard day in the contest stage in Burton Upon Trent.

Foss Dyke
Conductor: W. Ritchie

Last Seven Years:
2003: 6th (W. Ritchie)
2002: DNC
2001: 12th Championship (rel)
2000: 8th (prom)
1999: 6th
1998: 5th
1997: 16th

After a year out in 2002, Foss Dyke returned under the baton of W. Ritchie to come home in 6th place last time out. That was a fine result and if they have worked just as hard since that time then another top six placing may be within their grasp. We will have to wait and see.

D. HutchinsonGresley Old Hall
Conductor: D. Hutchinson

Last Seven Years:
2003: 3rd (D. Hutchinson)
2002: 17th
2001: 8th
2000: 16th
1999: 17th
1998: 9th 2nd Section (prom)
1997: 2nd 2nd Section

Last year Gresley just sneaked a trip to the Lower Section National Finals when they came a point behind the second placed band, Riddings. At the finals they did very well to come eighth off the number one draw. So full praise should go to MD, D. Hutchinson and his players. They topped off 2003 with 3rd place at the Mineworkers Championships. Hopes and confidence should be high then as we've been informed by their star solo baritone player.

Ibstock Brick Brass
Conductor: D. Jones

Last Seven Years:
2003: 11th (P. Northey)
2002: 11th
2001: 10th
2000: Winners 2nd Section (prom)
1999: 3rd 2nd Section
1998: 10th 2nd Section
1997: 15th 2nd Section

A new MD for Ibstock as they bid to try and improve on two consecutive 11th places at the Areas. Perhaps they would have hoped to have made better progress since winning the Second Section in 2000, so the determination will surely be there. Can the new combination do it then?

Jackfield Elcock Reisen
Conductor: C. Lewis

Last Seven Years:
2003: 12th Championship Section (rel) (C. Lewis)
2002: 5th 1st Section (prom)
2001: 3rd 1st Section
2000: 10th 1st Section
1999: 16th 1st Section
1998: 3rd 1st Section
1997: 12th 1st Section

Jackfield drop down a section after being relegated on the back of a single 12th place in the top level last year. In the First Section they were good enough to gain promotion, but the step up is large between the First and the Championship so a return may be a good thing for the band, and they should be strong contenders.

Cliff ParkerLangley
Conductor: Cliff Parker

Last Seven Years:
2003: 6th in Second Section (prom) (M. Vause)
2002: Winners 2nd Section
2001: 15th 1st Section (rel)
2000: 17th 1st Section
1999: 19th 1st Section
1998: 4th 1st Section
1997: 13th 1st Section

Langley return to the First Section contest, after two pretty successful years in the Second Section. After winning the title in 2002 they confirmed their return after a slightly disappointing 6th place 12 months ago. Hopefully they can make more of a mark than they did in the last three years at this level, and they may well be dreaming of a repeat of 1998.

Nottingham City Transport
Conductor: L. Cooper

Last Seven Years:
2003: 5th (S. Phillips)
2002: 11th Championship (rel)
2001: 6th 1st Section (prom)
2000: 6th
1999: 3rd
1998: 13th
1997: 7th

5th place here last year was a solid result after they found life a bit too tough in the Championship Section. S. Phillips remains at the helm, but it seems the form is pretty good as they enter the Areas after coming second to Riddings at Derby a couple of weeks ago. Ones to look out for then?

D. LeaShirley Band
Conductor: D. Lea

Last Seven Years:
2003: Winners 2nd Section (prom) (D. Lea)
2002: 2nd
2001: 9th
2000: 19th 1st Section (rel)
1999: 13th 1st Section
1998: 14th 1st Section
1997: 12th Championship (rel)

Dave Lea’s band are certainly ones on the up it seems after two years in which they came runners up and then winners of the Second Section here. That latter result meant a trip to Dundee for the Finals, but they disappointed somewhat when they could only manage 18th and last place. What then this year? They certainly will fancy their chances of at least making a mark, and a possible third consecutive Finals appearance would be one heck of a result.

Conductor: J. Davies

Last Seven Years:
2003: 2nd (S. Jones)
2002: 9th
2001: 9th Championship (rel)
2000: 10th Championship
1999: 2nd 1st Section (prom)
1998: 6th
1997: 10th

Perhaps the favourites for the title. Riddings came 2nd here last year and went on to claim 7th place at the Lower Section National Finals in Dundee. Recently they have won at the Derby contest after coming 4th late last year at the Mineworkers Contest. Confidence should be high then to go one better and get the Band Secretary to book the hotel rooms in Harrogate.

The Wigston Band
Conductor: G. Sleath

Last Seven Years:
2003: 15th (G. Sleath)
2002: 5th 2nd Section (prom)
2001: 4th 2nd Section
2000: 9th 2nd Section
1999: 16th 2nd Section
1998: 14th 2nd Section
1997: 13th 2nd Section

15th place last year was a bit of a struggle for Wigston on their debut in this section. What this year will bring is anyone’s guess, although it is nice to note they continue with their MD. One poor year may be a blip, a second could mean possible relegation though.

Conductor: D. Shutter

Last Seven Years:
2003: 12th (D. Shutter)
2002: 10th
2001: 2nd 2nd Section (prom)
2000: 7th 2nd Section
1999: 10th 2nd Section
1998: 18th 1st Section (rel)
1997: DNC

Tintwistle went back a couple of places last year when they fell from coming 10th in 2002 to coming 12th in 2003. They will be hoping that that sequence isn’t repeated as that could mean possible relegation.10th place at Pontins showed that they have the talent to do well, so with confidence from that result they should pick up a few places at least.

Towcester Studio
Conductor: A. Sellars

Last Seven Years:
2003: 7th (A. Sellars)
2002: 4th
2001: Winners 2nd Section (prom)
2000: 8th 2nd Section
1999: 7th 1st Section (rel)
1998: 16th 1st Section
1997: 18th 1st Section

Towcester Studio just dropped off the pace a little last year when they came 7th here. The year before they were close to a podium place so they will be hoping for a return to better days this time around. Adele Sellars is a fine MD although John Berryman took them at Pontins where they came a disappointing 16th. Can the reunited team bring back better days?

P. NortheyUnity Brass (FMUFS)
Conductor: P. Northey

Last Seven Years:
2003: Withdrew
2002: 12th
2001: 4th
2000: 9th Championship (rel)
1999: 12th Championship
1998: 2nd 1st Section (prom)
1997: 5th 1st Section

A welcome return for Unity Brass after they were forced to withdraw last year from the contest. What has fortune bestowed upon them in the twelve months since though? 8th place at Pontins seems to be a good indicator and so they should be looking for a good result here on their return.

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

Past Qualifiers:

2003: Kibworth, Riddings
2002: Staffordshire, City of Coventry, Derwent Brass
2001: Kibworth, Ratby Co-operative
2000: Ratby Co-operative, Thoresby Colliery
1999: Kibworth, Riddings
1998: Thorntons Brass, Unity Brass
1997: Ratby Co-operative, Glossop Old, Thorntons Brass
1996: Glossop Old, Hathern, Enderby
1995: Rolls Royce (Coventry), Kibworth
1994: Ancient Order of Foresters, Rolls Royce (Coventry)

Midlands Bands at the Finals:

2003: 7th, 9th
2002: 1st, 4th, 6th
2001: 5th, 10th
2000: 1st, 5th
1999: 8th, 9th
1998: 12th, 13th

4BR Prediction:

Two bands stand out for us – Riddings and Gresley Old Hall, but behind them they should be challenged strongly by the likes of Jackfield Elcock Reisen, Towcester, Shirley and Unity Brass. The top two if they play to form should qualify with a bit to spare, but Unity in particular seem to be full of confidence, whist Shirley and Towcester have shown plenty of quality in the past. It could be one heck of a fight, with our dark horse, Langley also up there amongst the contenders for the trip to Harrogate.

1. Riddings
2. Greasley Old Hall
3. Shirley
4. Jackfield Elcock Reisen
5. Unity Brass
6. Towcester Studio

Dark Horse: Langley

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