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2004 North of England Regional Championships

Third Section
Saturday 20th March

Test Piece: Vizcaya – Gilbert Vinter
Adjudicator: David Read

David Read will have just the nine bands to listen to on Gilbert Vinter’s “Vizcaya”, but if the form of the other regions is anything to go by, the bands here may find it a piece that will tax them to the full.

The piece demands much of individual solo players (the solo cornet especially) and many observers feel that it may have been just too hard a test for the bands at this level. Still, everyone will have enjoyed rehearsing it for sure – it has strong rhythms and lovely tunes, so the bands that will do well are those who master the basics and then play in the correct style – with verve and vitality.

Last year qualifiers were Wansbeck’s Ashington and Stape Silver and they returned from Dundee with 16th and 14th places respectively. Over the years this has been something of a barren section for the bands come National Finals time, and we think you may have to go back as far as 1957 and Ellington’s victory for the last time the region produced a winner. The bands here this year will be hoping to break that record in 2004.

Bearpark and Esh
Conductor: A. Hall

Last Eight Years:
2003: 9th (T. Minnis)
2002: 6th
2001: 2nd 4th Section (prom)
2000: 3rd 4th Section
1999: Winners 4th Section
1998: DNC
1997: N/K
1996: N/K

Bearpark and Esh just dropped away here last year when they came 9th under T. Minnis. That was a drop of three places from the 6th place of 2002, and so they will be hoping to reverse this time around. No news yet to who is taking then band though, so we may have to wait and see.

Carlisle St. Stephens
Conductor: D. Dye

Last Eight Years:
2003: 5th (D. Dye)
2002: 8th 2nd Section (rel)
2001: 9th 2nd Section
2000: 9th 1st Section (rel)
1999: N/K
1998: DNC
1997: 3rd 2nd Section
1996: Winners 2nd Section

A famous name in the brass band history books, Carlise were National Champions back in 1927 and 1929. The last few years have been a bit of a struggle at the contest though and the band were relegated to the Third Section last year where they came 5th. They will certainly be looking to improve on that and possible gain a qualification place.

Conductor: M. Condron

Last Eight Years:
2003: 8th (M. Condron)
2002: 7th
2001: 3rd 4th Section (prom)
2000: 4th 4th Section
1999: N/K
1998: 2nd 4th Section
1997: N/K
1996: N/K

Mark Condron steered the band into 8th place last year, one down from 2002, and so they return determined to reverse the trend and claim a top six place at least. The form book is good as well, as the band won the Mineworkers Contest at Skegness in fine style. Ones to look out for perhaps?

Ferryhill Town
Conductor: T. Maddison

Last Eight Years:
2003: 9th in Second Section (rel) (T. Maddison)
2002: 9th
2001: Winners 3rd Section (prom)
2000: Winners 4th Section (prom)
1999: 4th 4th Section
1998: 11th 3rd Section (rel)
1997: N/K
1996: 3rd 3rd Section

After two consecutive promotions in 2000 and 2001, Ferryhill Town found the step up to the Second Section a bit hard for them to overcome and they return to the Third Section following relegation last year. They will be determined to show that they have enough class about them to more than make a mark here and a top six place may be well within their capabilities.

Kirkby Lonsdale
Conductor: A. Greenwood

Last Eight Years:
2003: 6th in Fourth Section (prom) (A. Greenwood)
2002: 2nd
2001: DNC
2000: 8th
1999: N/K
1998: 6th 3rd Section
1997: N/K
1996: N/K

Kirkby Lonsdale find themselves promoted to the Third Section following two years in the Fourth Section where they gained 2nd and them 6th place last year. They will therefore be looking to show that they can more than handle the step up in class, although we don’t have much of a form guide of late to go on.

Lockwood Brass
Conductor: J. Roberts

Last Eight Years:
2003: Winners of Fourth Section (prom) (N. Barnes)
2002: DNC
2001: DNC
2000: DNC
1999: N/K
1998: DNC
1997: N/K
1996: N/K

Lockwood were easy winners of the Fourth Section here last year and they went on to the Lower Section National Finals where they came 5th. Nigel Barnes has a strong group of players at his command and they came 4th at Pontins late last year as well as winning the Durham County Contest in February. We think they will feature highly here again.

Murton Colliery
Conductor: D. Noble

Last Eight Years:
2003: 4th (J. Cook)
2002: 4th
2001: 8th
2000: 8th
1999: 4th
1998: 8th
1997: Winners 4th Section (prom)
1996: 3rd 4th Section

What an amazing record Murton have here over the last few years – either coming 8th or 4th since 1998. Last year was their second consecutive 4th place under the baton of Black Dyke’s Joe Cook, so D. Noble will want to stop that record continuing for sure, and at least claim a podium place or possible qualification place. If recent form is anything to go by they could well do it, after coming 3rd at the Durham County Contest.

Stape Silver
Conductor: M. Breckon

Last Eight Years:
2003: 2nd (M. Breckon)
2002: 3rd 4th Section (prom)
2001: 4th 4th Section
2000: 6th 4th Section
1999: N/K
1998: 10th
1997: 4th 4th Section (prom)
1996: 4th 4th Section

Stape were fine runners up here last year and went on to the Lower Section National Finals where they came 14th. That was their debut in the Section, and therefore they will be hoping to repeat or better that result this time around. They came out of the prizes at the Durham County Contest, but their solo cornet player picked up the prize as the best player on the day – on this piece a good top man will be worth their weight in gold.

Swinton and District Excelsior
Conductor: R. Rutter

Last Eight Years:
2003: 6th (R. Rutter)
2002: 9th
2001: Winners 4th Section (prom)
2000: 5th 4th Section
1999: N/K
1998: DNC
1997: N/K
1996: N/K

Swinton are a banding moving in the right direction it seems at this contest, and after gaining promotion from the Fourth Section in 2001 they have improved from 9th place in 2002 to 6th place here last year. If they can keep that up then a possible podium place may well be on the cards.

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

Past Qualifiers:

2003: Wansbeck’s Ashington, Stape Silver
2002: Houghton Brass, Ellington Colliery
2001: Ferryhill Town, Langbaurgh
2000: Felling, Westoe (STHCT)
1999: Langbaurgh, South Milford Brass
1998: Yarm and District, Vaux Samson Band
1997: Barrow Concert, Yarm and District
1996: Cottingham, Harrogate
1995: GT Group Peterlee, Greggs Bakery

North of England bands at the Finals:

2003: 14th, 16th
2002: 16th, 18th
2001: 4th, 16th
2000: 12th, 13th
1999: 4th, 13th
1998: 7th, 8th

4BR Prediction:

Who is it going to be then? Looking at the form guide a couple of the bands are worth putting a few bob on to do well, although there isn’t really a clear cut favourite for the title here. That said, we put our hard earned cash and reputation on the line by plumbing for Dearham to take the first prize, with Murton picking up the second qualification place on offer. We think though that they will be hard pressed to the finishing tape by Lockwood, Stape, Carlisle and Ferryhill, whilst our dark horse could well be Swinton.

1. Dearham
2. Murton Colliery
3. Lockwood Brass
4. Stape Silver
5. Carlisle St. Stephens
6. Ferryhill

Dark Horses: Swinton and District Excelsior

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