2005 Regionals: North West - Preview: First Section


The contest is taking place in Blackpool where everyone goes for a laugh. But it's serious business for the Comedy brigade here to see who wins a place at Harrogate.

Date: 13th March
Adjudicator: John Berryman
Test Piece: Comedy Overture John Ireland
Commences: 14.00
Draw: 13.00

No photo? Please send a JPEG to: stating the conductors name, your band, your region and section.

Ashton Under Lyne
P. Chalk

Last Nine Years:
2004: DNC
2003: 9th Championship Section (rel) (J. Maines)
2002: 2nd 1st Section (j. Maines)
2001: 9th (rel) (M. Evans)
2000: 9th (M. Evans)
1999: Winners 1st Section (prom)
1998: Winners 2nd Section (prom)
1997: Winners 3rd Section (prom)
1996: DNC

A welcome return to the contest for Ashton after they were forced to pull out last year. That meant relegation, but they have been rather renewed by Phil Chalk since he took over and they will surely fancy their chances of doing rather well here this year and taking the first step back to the top tier.  

Blackburn and Darwen
Conductor: N. Sheppard

Last NineYears:
2004: 6th (N. Sheppard)
2003: 5th (G. Pritchard)
2002: 12th (E. Landon)
2001: 5th (E. Landon)
2000: 9th (E. Landon)
1999: 7th
1998: 6th
1997: 6th
1996: 12th Championship (rel)

Nick Sheppard takes Blackburn for the second successive year here and he directed them to a solid 6th place last year. That was a place down on the year before, and they have shown over the past few years that they are a band more than capable of pushing for a top six place at least. That should be the least of their ambitions this time around then.  

P. ChristianBollington
Conductor: P. Christian

Last Nine Years:
2004: 9th (P. Christian)
2003: Winners of Second Section (prom) (P. Christian)
2002: 6th (P. Christian)
2001: 4th (T. Power)
2000: 7th (T. Power)
1999: 6th 1st Section (rel)
1998: 10th 1st Section
1997: 3rd 2nd Section (prom)
1996: 5th 2nd Section

The former Black Dyke, Fodens and Fairey's baritone player Peter Christian has been doing fine work with Bollington over the past few years and they put in a solid enough performance here 12 months ago when they came 9th. They seem to be a band moving very much in the right direction though and they will surely fancy their chances of producing a top six place at least this time out.

Paul DaltonFreckleton
Paul Dalton

Last Nine Years:
2004: 9th Championship Section (P. Dalton) (rel)
2003: 7th (P. Dalton)
2002: 8th (P. Dalton)
2001: 4th (P. Dalton)
2000: 7th (P. Dalton)
1999: 7th
1998: 10th
1997: Winners 1st Section (prom)
1996: 4th 1st Section

Freckleton lost their place in the Championship Section last year after coming 9th here, but that was a little unfortunate as they produced a well crafted performance under Paul Dalton that showed both quality and character. That was again on display late last year in Scotland, so they wil head here full of confidence of repeating their 1997 triumph or at least booking a place at Harrogate.

Haslingden and Helmshore
D. Holland

Last Nine Years:
2004: 3rd Second Section (D. Holland) (prom)
2003: 5th (D. Holland)
2002: 3rd (D. Holland)
2001: 5th 3rd Section (prom)  (D. Holland)
2000: 3rd 3rd Section  (D. Holland)
1999: 6th 4th Section (prom)
1998: 2nd 4th Section
1997: 9th 4th Section
1996: DNC

The rise and rise of Haslingden and Helmshore continues it seems, and who would bet against them continuing their excellent run of form here this year once more under Dave Holland. They seem to be a band that can't do anything wrong when it comes to playing here and after a brief three year stay in the Second Section  they pushed up once more to be promoted for this year. A big step up though, but they have shown they can handle it.

Rob TaylorMaxilead Metals Tyldesley
Conductor: R. Taylor

Last Nine Years:
2004: 5th (R. Taylor)
2003: 8th (S. Booth)
2002: 7th (M. Peacock)
2001: 12th (D. Barry)
2000: 3rd (D. Barry)
1999: 3rd 2nd Section (prom)
1998: 7th 2nd Section
1997: 2nd 2nd Section
1996: DNC

Robert Taylor is the gifted MD in front of the Maxilead sponsored band and he certainly put them back on the right track last year when he led them to 5th place. They had been sliding away a bit before then, but that performance was a real boost and could give the the confidence to repeat their 2000 showing here when they came 3rd.

Moston and Beswick (Manchester)
Conductor: M. Obermuller

Last Nine Years:
2004: 11th (M. Obermuller)
2003: 6th (R. Taylor)
2002: Winners 2nd Section (prom) (R. Taylor)
2001: 5th 2nd Section (R. Taylor)
2000: 10th 2nd Section (R. Taylor)
1999: 7th 2nd Section
1998: 9th 2nd Section
1997: DNC
1996: DNC

Martin Obermuller took over the conducting duties last year, but the band had undergone quite a few changes and they fell away to come 11th. That will mean they will have to put in a good quality show here this year if they are to stave off the threat of relegation and not return to the Second Section. It could be a difficult task.

Ian PorthouseOld Hall Brass
I . Porthouse

Last Nine Years:
2004: Winners Second Section (N. Parkinson) (prom)
2003: Joint 8th (N. Parkinson)
2002: 5th (N. Parkinson)
2001: 8th (C. Tenijford)
2000: Winners 3rd Section (prom) (N. Parkinson)
1999: Winners 4th Section (prom)
1998: 8th 4th Section
1997: Winners 4th Section
1996: DNC 

Last year's Second Section winners here went on to come 12th at the Finals in Harrogate, so they will return confident of doing well again this year and securing yet another regional title to their name. That would make it five in nine years - a pretty good record by anyones standards, and with the talented Ian Porthouse at the helm they will fancy their chances.

Conductor: S. Tarry

Last Nine Years:
2004: 7th (S. Tarry)
2003: 7th (S. Tarry)
2002: 4th 2nd Section (prom) (G. Clough)
2001: 2nd (G. Clough)
2000: 4th (G. Clough)
1999: 14th
1998: 7th 3rd Section (prom)
1997: 5th 3rd Section
1996: 7th 3rd Section

Two good solid performances in the past two years has seen Poulton come 7th on each occasion, but they will surely be looking to up the form this year and claim at least a top six place for their efforts. Steve Tarry continues to build a quality outfit here and this could well be the year when they push for a podium place at least.

richard evansRoberts Bakery
Conductor: R. Evans

Last Nine Years:
2004: 10th (C. Cranson)
2003: 10th (C. Cranson)
2002: 3rd (C. Cranson)
2001: 11th (C. Cranson)
2000: 10th Championship (rel) (C. Cranson)
1999: 9th Championship
1998: 7th Championship
1997: 3rd 1st Section (prom)
1996: 3rd 1st Section (prom)

Richard Evans takes over the baton at the Bakery Band and will be looking to inspire his charges to come further up the prize table. The band has struggled a bit of late, but we feel a dose of the Grimethorpe front man should put them back on track. Maybe not quite prize winners, but well worth a few bob to keep themselves in this section for next year.

Stalybridge Old
Conductor: S. Rogers

Last Nine Years:
2004: 8th (J. Maines)
2003: 4th (A. Exley)
2002: 8th (A. White)
2001: 8th Championship (rel) (D. Hirst)
2000: 10th Championship (J. Cant)
1999: 2nd 1st Section (prom)
1998: 9th Championship (rel)
1997: 11th Championship
1996: 9th Championship

A new man at the helm at Stalybridge and they will be looking to get some sort of consistency into their performances here. When they are good they have challenged for a podium place, but when they haven't they have been way off the pace. Last year was one of the those occasions, but if theyhave put the work in this year that could well feature once more.

United Norwest Co-op Milnrow
Conductor: A. White

Last Nine Years:
2004: 4th (A. White)
2003: 2nd (C. Whiteoak)
2002: 11th (D. Hebb)
2001: 6th (D. Hebb)
2000: 5th 2nd Section (prom) (I. Brownbill)
1999: Winners 2nd Section
1998: 4th 1st Section (rel)
1997: 8th 1st Section
1996: 10th Championship (rel)

United Norwest will come to Blackpool hoping to bring the type of form they have shown of late. Last year they were a little unlucky not to have come higher and gain a place at the Finals whist the year before they were excellent value for their runners up spot. Ones to possibly feature highly then.

A. LawtonVernon Building Society Poynton
Conductor: A. Lawton

Last Nine Years:
2004: 2nd (A. Lawton)
2003: 11th (M. Obermuller)
2002: 4th (M. Obermuller)
2001: 10th (M. Obermuller)
2000: DNC
1999: 10th Championship (rel)
1998: 3rd (prom)
1997: 4th
1996: 11th Championship (rel)

Poynton were excellent here last year when they came runners up and then went onto Harrogate to come a well deserved 6th place. Alan Lawton is one of the finest band trainers around and he will surely bring his vast expeience to bear once more here and should inspire his troops to feature highly once more.

Past Qualifiers:

2004: Pemberton Old Wigan, Vernon Building Society Poynton
2003: United Co-op (Crewe), United Norwest Co-op Milnrow
2002: Pemberton Old, Ashton Under Lyne
2001: Mossley, United Co-op Crewe
2000: Longridge, Mossey
1999: Ashton Under Lyne, Stalybridge
1998: Congleton, Dobcross
1997: Freckleton, Berisford Cardway
1996: British Aerospace, Longridge
1995: United Norwest Co-op, British Aerospace

North West Bands at the Finals:

2004: 1st, 6th
2003: 2nd, 3rd
2002: 5th, 9th
2001: 7th, 8th
2000: 2nd, 13th
1999: 1st, 11th
1998: 6th, 10th

4BR Prediction:

What a cracking contest this could turn out to be. Lots of the bands here are more than capable of winning let alone qualifying for Harrogate and with a test piece that will reward quality playing and sensible interpretation, John Berryman could have a hard task on his hands.

One or two of the bands do stnd out though and confidence may play a major part in this one. With that in mind we think Freckleton should be favouritesto take the title here, but will be closely followed by Poynton and Ashton under Lyne in the battle for the title and the qualifiation places.

After that it will be a close run thing we think between the likes of United Norwest Co-op, Roberts Bakery and Old Hall for the top six places with Poulton as our dark horse. We'll see though.

1. Freckleton
2. VBS Poynton
3. Ashton under Lyne
4.  United Norwest Co-op
5. Roberts Bakery
6. Old Hall

Dark Horse: Poulton le Flyde


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