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2004 Midlands Regional Championships

Third Section
Sunday 7th March

Test Piece: Vizcaya – Gilbert Vinter
Adjudicator: Malcolm Brownbill

The 3rd Section should prove to be an interesting fight on Sunday and should be an appetising aperitif for the main course that is the Championship Section.

A large field as usual here with Bakewell, Long Eaton and Phoenix up from the Fourth Section to add spice to the proceedings and to replace the two promoted bands, Carlton and Audley. Three bands should be making the trip to Harrogate later this year, and they will travel there hoping to reverse a trend at National level which hasn’t seen a Midland band winning the title since Glossop Old in 1994.

3rd, 11th and 18th last year wasn’t great (although well done to Carlton) so what standard can Malcolm Brownbill expect to hear on a testing set work from this year’s hopefuls?

”Vizcaya” is a colourful work that demands a great deal from bands. Vinter certainly knew how to marry a good tune to technical tricks to keep everyone happy, so MD’s will have to be careful not to try and look for something that isn’t there. Gilbert Vinter was a very precise man when it came to his musical instructions on a score.

Malcolm Brownbill has the experience to know what exactly to look for (he has worked with bands at this level over the years very successfully), so he will be a
hard man to impress. That said, he will reward those who make the effort to play to the spirit as well as the plain notation of the music.

Avonbank Evesham
Conductor: A. McCrae

Last Seven Years:
2003: DNC
2002: DNC
2001: 7th
2000: 5th
1999: 14th
1998: 15th
1997: 6th

A welcome return (we hope) for Avonbank who we believe haven’t competed here for the last two years. What for they will therefore bring to the contest will be a bit of a mystery. Sorry, but we can’t add much more than that.

Bakewell Silver
Conductor: M. Wilcockson

Last Seven Years:
2003: 3rd in Fourth Section (prom) (M. Wilcockson)
2002: 6th
2001: 9th
2000: 15th 3rd Section (rel)
1999: 12th 3rd Section
1998: 10th 3rd Section
1997: 17th 3rd Section

Bakewell seem to be doing exceedingly well in recent years, after being relegated to the Fourth Section in 2000. Three ever-improving results has seen them promoted back up and they will be hoping to make an impression on the return. They should be full of confidence though.

City of Birmingham
Conductor: J. Cunningham

Last Seven Years:
2003: 10th (S. Platford)
2002: 8th
2001: 20th 2nd Section (rel)
2000: 16th 2nd Section
1999: 19th 2nd Section
1998: 12th 2nd Section
1997: 9th 2nd Section

City of Birmingham will be looking to reverse last years result for sure. That 10th place under S. Platford was a drop of two places from 2003 so the new MD, J. Cunningham will have a bit of a job to do. It’s a big field, so they should be able to do it.

City of Stoke on Trent
Conductor: M. Caveney

Last Seven Years:
2003: 15th (M. Caveney)
2002: 19th
2001: 15th
2000: 6th
1999: 2nd
1998: 11th
1997: 17th

City of Stoke came runners up here in 1999, but since that time they have fallen away somewhat and in the last three years their best result has been 15th place in 2001 and again last year. They will need a decent result to stave off the threat of a possible relegation, so hard work and a bit of luck is required.

Croft Silver
Conductor: S. Burton

Last Year: 11th
Last Seven Years:
2003: 11th (C. Jones)
2002: 17th 2nd Section (rel)
2001: 11th 2nd Section
2000: 20th 2nd Section
1999: 7th 2nd Section
1998: 7th 2nd Section
1997: 3rd 3rd Section (prom)

Croft came 11th last year, which was their first back in the Section since 1997. Since then they have engaged a new MD, so will be hoping that the new combination will bring a further step or two up the prize list.

P. NortheyDaventry Brass
Conductor: P. Northey

Last Seven Years:
2003: Winners (P. Northey)
2002: 13th
2001: 13th
2000: 4th
1999: 17th 2nd Section (rel)
1998: 18th 2nd Section
1997: 12th 2nd Section

Last years winners will be coming to the contest hoping for a repeat performance and another away day trip to the National Finals. Last year’s success saw them make the trip to Dundee where they came 11th, saw if they do it again they will be hoping for better things in Harrogate. Ones to watch out for.

Fairfield (Buxton)
Conductor: C. Kitchen

Last Seven Years:
2003: 19th (C. Kitchen)
2002: 11th
2001: 19th
2000: 15th
1999: 4th
1998: 4th 3rd Section (prom)
1997: 8th 3rd Section

Fairfield are in need of a good result if they are to stop being prime candidates for the drop. 19th place last year certainly didn’t help, so they will need to produce the type of form that gained them 11th spot in 2002 or even the 4th place back in 1999. That was a long time ago now, so time to roll up the sleeves and put in a workmanlike performance.

Leicestershire Co-op Snibston Charnwood
Conductor: G. Jacklin

Last Year: 16th
Last Seven Years:
2003: 16th (G. Jacklin)
2002: 2nd 4th Section (prom)
2001: 10th 4th Section
2000: 12th 4th Section
1999: 17th 4th Section
1998: DNC
1997: DNC

Last year was a hard baptism in the Third Section for Leicestershire, but under their long serving MD they will be confident of moving further up the prize list this time around. 7th place at the Mineworkers Contest was a decent enough end to the year, so they will be looking to improve on that this time around. If they play to form, they should do it.

S. StansfieldLong Eaton Silver Prize
Conductor: S. Stansfield

Last Seven Years:
2003: 2nd in Fourth Section (prom) (S. Stansfield)
2002: 3rd in Fourth Section
2001: 13th in Fourth Section
2000: 17th in Fourth Section
1999: 23rd in Fourth Section
1998: 16th in Fourth Section
1997: 17th in Fourth Section

After years of languishing in the lower reaches of the Fourth Section, Long Eaton have made remarkable progress under the baton of Sharon Stansfield. A great improvement especially in 2002 when they came 3rd in the Fourth Section, then runners up last year, which saw them make the trip to Dundee. That resulted in another runners up spot, so they will be chock full of confidence coming here. A good bet for a top six place at least, especially after a good show at Derby?

Malvern Mills & District
Conductor: M. West

Last Seven Years:
2003: 5th (M. West)
2002: 10th
2001: 10th
2000: 2nd 4th Section
1999: 2nd 4th Section
1998: 16th 3rd Section (rel)
1997: 13th 3rd Section

Malvern are moving in the right direction here, what with two 10th places in 2001 and 2002 and then 5th place last year. That’s good solid progress since they came up from the Fourth section in 2000, so can it be time for another qualification place?

Market Rasen RPC
Conductor: TBA

Last Seven Years:
2003: 17th (B. Matthews)
2002: 9th
2001: 7th
2000: 14th
1999: 11th
1998: 3rd 4th Section
1997: 5th 4th Section

No news as yet who will be taking Market Rasen, but whoever it is will have to work hard to stop the band from being relegation material. In 2001 they came 7th, but since then they have fallen away somewhat, and 17th place under B. Matthews last time out saw then beat just one other band. They need a good result.

D. Bishop RowePhoenix West Midlands Brass
Conductor: D. Bishop Rowe

Last Seven Years:
2003: Winners Fourth Section (prom) (D. Bishop Rowe)
2002: 4th
2001: DNC
2000: DNC

Last years Fourth Section winners were good value for their victory and went on to perform well at the Lower Section Finals in Dundee where they came 9th (and were fine company for the 4BR team at their hotel). They followed that up with a fine victory at Pontins as well so they will be on the crest of a confidence wave coming here. Can they transfer that form from the lowest section upwards though?

Ratby Co-op 'Mid' Band
Conductor: G. Newman

Last Seven Years:
2003: 9th (G. Newman)
2002: 16th
2001: 8th 4th Section (prom)
2000: 10th 4th Section
1999: 12th 4th Section
1998: 14th 4th Section
1997: DNC

Ratby came 9th last year, which was a decent return after they had struggled to 16th place the year before. Another leap up the prize list like that could well see them come in the prizes and possibly take a qualification place. Can they do it? We will wait with bated breath.

Shipston Town
Conductor: D. Grant

Last Seven Years:
2003: 18th (G. Coleman)
2002: 20th 2nd Section (rel)
2001: DNC
2000: 13th 2nd Section
1999: 5th 3rd Section (prom)
1998: 6th 3rd Section
1997: 9th 3rd Section

Shipston dropped down a Section last year and the shock possibly took them by surprise as they found themselves in 18th and last place. A change of MD has been made, but will it bring a change in fortune? Come Sunday we will certainly find out.

Shirland Welfare Training
Conductor: M. Smith

Last Seven Years:
2003: 8th (M. Smith)
2002: 5th
2001: 2nd 4th Section (prom)
2000: 9th 4th Section
1999: 13th 4th Section
1998: DNC
1997: DNC

Marie Smith and her amazing band of talented youngsters and “older heads” deserve all the success they get, but in the last two years they have dropped off the pace a little. 5th in 2002 and then 8th last year seemed to stopped their upward climb, but a fine runners up spot at the Mineworkers Championships will have restored confidence to the full, as will their recent win at Derby. Roll on Burton Upon Trent.

Stamford Brass
Conductor: G. Wyatt

Last Seven Years:
2003: 7th (R. Prew)
2002: 14th 2nd Section (rel)
2001: 17th 2nd Section
2000: 17th 2nd Section
1999: 15th 1st Section (rel)
1998: 17th 1st Section
1997: 5th 2nd Section (prom)

Stamford put up a pretty decent showing on their first outing in the Third Section last year after relegation. 7th place wasn’t a world-beater, but it showed that they were more than holding their own. A change of MD may just push them closer to the podium this year.

Conductor: G. Sutton

Last Seven Years:
2003: 6th (R. Boulter)
2002: 6th
2001: 6th 4th Section (prom)
2000: 6th 4th Section
1999: 7th 4th Section
1998: 6th 4th Section
1997: 6th 4th Section

If there is anyone out there who thinks this band is cursed then you only have to look at their results to see why! More sixes than can be found in the Devils telephone directory mean that somehow they may feel the brass banding Gods are against them. Even at Pontins they came 12th (6x2) so can they hope for anything else here? We hope so, and with a new MD we think a change of overdue fortune is on the tarot cards.

WEM Jubilee
Conductor: R. Thorne

Last Year: 4th
Last Seven Years:
2003: 4th (R. Thorne)
2002: Winners 4th Section (prom)
2001: 5th 4th Section
2000: 4th 4th Section
1999: DNC
1998: DNC
1997: 4th 4th Section

Roger Thorne and his band have a lot of quality about them, and they only missed out on a trip to Dundee by a point last year. They seem to travel well and we think they could be one of the bands to beat come results time. If we could only find out what the WEM stood for?

West Mercia Constabulary
Conductor: H. Gibbs

Last Year: 12th
Last Seven Years:
2003: 12th (H. Gibbs)
2002: 4th
2001: 3rd 4th Section (prom)
2000: DNC
1999: DNC
1998: DNC
1997: DNC

The lads and lasses from the West Mercia Constabulary just missed out in 2002 but fell away to 12th place last year. They are a hard working bunch so we hope they have been able to put in the rehearsal time to make more of a mark here this year.

Whitwell Brass
Conductor: K. Vernon

Last Seven Years:
2003: 13th (K. Vernon)
2002: 15th
2001: 4th 4th Section (prom)
2000: 11th 4th Section
1999: 15th 4th Section
1998: DNC
1997: DNC

Whitwell have had a bit of a struggle over the last few years, but the good news is that they improved their position by two places last year to come 13th. The even better good news though is that they came 3rd at the Mineworkers Championships, so they will certainly travel here with high hopes of making a mark.

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

Past Qualifiers:

2003: Daventry Brass, Carlton Brass, Audley Brass
2002: Raunds Temperance, Carlton Brass, Arrow Valley
2001: Brass 2000, Raunds Temperance
2000: Warwick University, Porthywaen
1999: Whaley Bridge, Chapel en le Frith
1998: RJB Brass, Charnwood
1997: Kirkby Colliery, Chapel en le Frith
1996: Whaley Bridge, Derwent Brass, Kirkby Colliery
1995: Whaley Bridge, Croft Silver, Derwent Brass
1994: Glossop Old, Bedworth Brass, South Notts Hussars

Midlands Bands at the Finals:

2003: 3rd, 11th, 18th
2002: 5th, 7th, 8th
2001: 3rd, 13th
2000: 8th, 9th
1999: 12th, 16th
1998: 11th, 12th

4BR Prediction:

With a field this size, it will always be hard to predict a result. There are plenty of bands who will be looking to do well here (some with more of a realistic chance than others) but some will master the difficult set work and impress Malcolm Brownbill.

Daventry look like the band to beat for us, with WEM Jubilee pushing them hard to the finishing tape. The final qualification spot should we think go to Long Eaton, with Shirland Miners Welfare, Ratby Coperative and Malvern Hills making up the top six. Our dark horse could well be the Phoenix from the flames.

1. Daventry
2. WEM Jubilee
3. Long Eaton Silver
4. Shirland Miners Welfare
5. Ratby Co-operative
6. Malvern Hills

Dark Horse: Phoenix West Midlands

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