2005 Regionals: North West - Preview: Third Section


What a record to uphold here . The last four National Champions have come from this contest, so what bands will head for Harrogate to try and make it five in a row for the North West?

Date: 13th March
Adjudicators: Maurice Priestley
Test Piece: Tam O'Shanter's Ride - Denis Wright
Commences: 11.30
Draw: 10.30

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

david ashworthBMP Europe Ltd. Goodshaw
Conductor: D. Ashworth

Last Nine Years:
2004: 16th (D. Ashworth)
2003: 11th in Second Section (rel) (C. Duxbury)
2002: 11th in Second Section (A. Widdop)
2001: 14th in Second Section (A. Widdop)
2000: 8th in Second Section (R. Curran)
1999: 9th in Second Section
1998: 8th in Second Section
1997: DNC
1996: 11th in Second Section

Dave Ashworth leads his band once more to the contest and he will be looking and needing a good result here to stave off the threat of a relegation fight. Recent form has been pretty good, but they are up against some very solid bands here. Should do enough to be more than OK though.

City of Chester
P. Mottershead

Last Nine Years:
2004: 8th (D. Mitchell)
2003: 18th (D. Mitchell)
2002: 11th (D. Mitchell)
2001: 7th 4th Section (prom) (D. Mitchell)
2000: 15th 4th Section (D. Mitchell)
1999: 4th 4th Section
1998: 13th (rel)
1997: 14th
1996: 16th

A change of MD for City of Chester as they look to continue the improvement they showed last year when they jumped up the results table from 18th in 2003 to 8th in 2004. Another leap like that and they could well be booking a place for B&B in Harrogate. A top six place though may be more realistic.  

Douglas Town
G. Higginbottom

Last Nine Years:

2004: 7th Fourth Section (G. Higginbottom) (prom)
2003: 9th (G. Higginbottom)
2002: 2nd (G. Higginbottom)
2001: 15th (G. Higginbottom)
2000: 11th (K. Mitchell)
1999: 5th
1998: 13th
1997: 11th

The great Gordon Higginbottom once more brings his band over the Irish Sea to enjoy the delights of Blackpool, and they haven't done too badly here over the past few years. Whether or not they may find the jump up in class a bit tough we will have to wait and see, as they they only came 7th in the Fourth Section last year.

Eccles Borough
G. Smith

Last NineYears:
2004: 17th (K. Donaldson)
2003: 5th (K. Donaldson)
2002: 19th (C. Pownall)
2001: 13th (C. Pownall)
2000: 7th (C. Pownall)
1999: 11th
1998: 18th
1997: 13th
1996: 10th

Eccles will certainly be in need of a good result this year if they are to ensure their survival in the Third Section for 2006. 17th place was a bit of a disaster after the fine 5th place of 2003 and the new MD will have his work cut out to make an impression here this time. We wish them well.

Eccleston Brass
Conductor: I. Bateson

Last Nine Years:
2004: 7th (I. Bateson)
2003: 16th (B. Harper)
2002: 12th (B. Harper)
2001: 6th (B. Harper)
2000: 15th (G. Smith)
1999: 14th
1998: 8th
1997: 8th
1996: 8th

Ian Bateson returns once more with Eccleston Brass and they will be looking to continue the vast improvement they showed last year when they leaped up the prize table from  16th in 2003 to 7th last time out. Another jump like that and they too could be thinking of glory and bed and breakfast. A top six place though may be more realistic an ambition this time though.

Kevin GibbsFlixton
K. Gibbs

Last Nine Years:
2004: 9th Second Section (P. Lockett) (rel)
2003: 10th (E. Campbell)
2002: DNC
2001: DNC
2000: 6th 1st Section (rel) (C. Tenfijord)
1999: 9th 1st Section
1998: 2nd (prom)
1997: 4th
1996: 9th 1st Section (rel)

Kevin Gibbs will be looking to make an immediate mark here this year with Flixton and recent form has been pretty good. Relegation can sometimes work in a bands favour, and it may prove to be a blessing in disguise if they can put in a qualification place performance.

L. Clough

Last Nine Years:
2004: 4th Fourth Section (L. Clough) (prom)
2003: Joint 4th (L. Clough)
2002: 5th (L. Clough)
2001: 9th (L. Clough)
2000: 17th (L. Clough)
1999: 2nd
1998: 12th
1997: 17th
1996: 10th 

Lana Clough continues to do sterling work at Friezland and since she took over the reins they have certainly been moving in the right direction. Last year they came a well deserved 4th in the Fourth Section to gain promotion (the fourth year in a row they had improved), but they may find it a bit harder to make an impression this time around. It won't be for the lack of hard work though.  

Neil BowdenHazel Grove
Conductor: N. Bowden

Last Nine Years:
2004: 12th (T. Emery)
2003: 10th (A. Hirst)
2002: 16th (A. Hirst)
2001: 12th (L. Hall)
2000: 13th (L. Hall)
1999: 10th
1998: Winners 4th Section (prom)
1997: 10th 4th Section
1996: 4th 4th Section

Hazel Grove has been bobbling about in the midfield places for a few years now - not really pushing for a top six place but never in danger of relegation. A new MD may well change all that and they will surely be looking to push into the top 10 at least this time around.

Lostock Hall Memorial
Conductor: K. Rollins

Last NineYears:
2004: 15th (R. Heyes)
2003: 15th (R. Heyes)
2002: 13th (R. Heyes)
2001: DNC
2000: 8th (G. Martin)
1999: 5th
1998: 20th
1997: 11th
1996: 9th

Lockstock are another band that has been bobbling around - although this time it has been towards the bottom end of the prize table and they will need a decent result here if they are not to be drawn into a relegation battle. Kevin Rollins takes the helm, and that new injection of confidence and approach may be enough to push them up the table.

Conductor: C. Whiteoak

Last Nine Years:
2004: 10th (B. Warrington)
2003: 12th (G. Smith)
2002: 3rd (S. Foster)
2001: 8th 4th Section (prom) (B. Warrington)
2000: 4th 4th Section (B. Warrington)
1999: DNC
1998: DNC
1997: DNC
1996: DNC

Middleton have been iving up to their name a bit in the past two years, with a pair of midfield placings that has seen them come 12th in 2003 and 10th last year. At least they are moving upwards and not downwards and another small step up the prize list may be in order this year.

Ron HoltNelson Brass
Conductor: R. Holt

Last NineYears:
2004: 18th (J. North)
2003: 3rd in Fourth Section (prom) (J. North)
2002: 10th (K. Richmond)
2001: 2nd (K. Richmond)
2000: 17th (K. Richmond)
1999: 8th
1998: 14th
1997: 12th
1996: 12th

A new MD at the helm for Nelson and they may need it this year after struggling 12 months ago when they could only manage 18th place. That may sound bad on paper, bu it was their first year back in the Third Section for many a year and the experience may wll have done them a world of good. Let's hope so, and will we see them clamber up the prize table by at least a few places?

Pilling Jubilee Silver
Conductor: B. Harper

Last Nine Years:
2004: 11th (B. Harper)
2003: 8th (S. Foster)
2002: 10th (S. Simpson)
2001: 10th (S. Simpson)
2000: 14th (S. Simpson)
1999: 8th
1998: 3rd 4th Section (prom)
1997: 3rd 4th Section
1996: DNC

Another band who are more than at home here - not quite good enough to push for a top six place, but more than good enough not to be drawn into the relegation places. Pilling will be looking for a least a top 10 place once more or even to beat their best effort of 8th place here in 1999 and 2003.   

Neil SamuelRainford Silver
Conductor: N. Samuel

Last Nine Years:
2004: 6th (A. Jones)
2003: 14th (B. Harper)
2002: 6th (L. Nicholson)
2001: 11th (L. Nicholson)
2000: 12th (L. Nicholson)
1999: 9th
1998: 17th
1997: 4th 4th Section (prom)
1996: 6th 4th Section

Neil Samuel has been putting down some sturdy foundations in Rainford over the past 12 months or so and he and his band will be making the trip to Blackpool with a fair degree of confidence that they can push onto claim one of the qualification places on offer for Harrogate. We will wait and see with interest.


Last NineYears:
2004: 9th (C. Whiteoak) 
2003: 4th (G. Hetherington)
2002: Winners 4th Section (G. Hetherington)
2001: 6th 4th Section (G. Hetherington)
2000: 9th 4th Section (G. Hetherington)
1999: DNC
1998: DNC
1997: DNC
1996: DNC

No news at present to who will be taking Timperley at the contest, but whoever it is they will be looking to reverse last years result when the band fell away somewhat to come a slightly disappointing 9th after nearly getting a qualification place in 2003. Still, they are more than holding their own and we think they may be confident of another top six place.

Trinity Girls
Conductor: S. Barton

Last Nine Years:
2004: 5th (S. Barton)
2003: Winners in Fourth Section (prom) (S. Barton)
2002: 7th (S. Barton)
2001: 3rd (G. Patmore)
2000: 7th (G. Patmore)
1999: DNC
1998: DNC
1997: DNC
1996: 17th 3rd Section (rel)

Stuart Barton and his band are on the up, and after winning the Fourth Section here in 2003 they came back and came a very well deserved 5th. More of the same could well be on the cards this time around and even a qualifcation place may be up for grabs.

United Norwest 2000 Brass
Conductor: J. Meredith

Last Nine Years:
2004: 2nd (J. Meredith)
2003: 11th (A. Helleur)
2002: 8th (A. Helleur)
2001: 8th (A. Helleur)
2000: 17th 2nd Section (rel) (A. Helleur)
1999: 10th 2nd Section
1998: Winners (prom)
1997: 6th
1996: 11th

This is one band that will surely be making the trip to Blackpool with very high hopes of doing well. Last year was a good one indeed, both here and elsewhere and we think they could be on for doing much the same this time around.

Wardle and District Anderson Brass
Conductor: S. Conway

Last Nine Years:
2004: 4th (D. Beckley)
2003: 2nd in Fourth Section (prom) (P. Shaw)
2002: 3rd (P. Shaw)
2001: DNC
2000: 9th 3rd Section (rel) (C. Barnes)
1999: 12th 3rd Section
1998: 11th 3rd Section
1997: 10th 3rd Section
1996: 13th 3rd Section

Wardle are always a band to look out for at any contest and in the past three years they have shown themselves to be strong contenders here. 4th place last year saw them just miss out on a trip to Harrogate, so this year they will be certain to try and go at least one place better.

Whitworth Vale and Healey
Conductor: J. Binns

Last Nine Years:
2004: 13th (J. Binns)
2003: 9th (R. Milton)
2002: DNC
2001: 11th 2nd Section (rel) (C. Myers)
2000: 13th 2nd Section (R. Milton)
1999: 7th (prom)
1998: 3rd
1997: 9th
1996: 13th 

Whitworth will be looking to buck the trend here this year and return themselves back into the top 10 places at least. They have found life a tad difficult here in the past two years, but we think they may well show everyone that they can more than make a mark.  

Past Qualifiers:

2004: Hoover Bolton, United Norwest 2000, Boarshurst Silver
2003: Diggle, Boarshurst, Hoover (Bolton)
2002: Wire Brass, Silk Brass, Middleton
2001: Manx Concert Brass, British Energy Morecambe
2000: Old Hall Brass, Skelmersdale
1999: Manx Concert Brass, Dobcross Youth
1998: United Norwest Co-op Normid 2000, Oldham Brass 97
1997: Ashton Under Lyne, Milnrow, Manx Concert Brass
1996: Hollingworth, Pemberton Old
1995: Goodshaw, Hollingworth

North West bands at the Finals:

2004: 1st, 4th, 6th
2003: 1st, 2nd, 8th
2002: 1st, 2nd, 3rd
2001: 1st, 10th
2000: 4th, 7th
1999: 2nd, 11th
1998: 1st, 4th, 18th

4BR Prediction:

What a fantastic record the bands here have when it comes to the Lower Section Final in Harrogate. Five times in the past seven years tone of the qualifiers here has gone on to take the National title itself, so who ever gets the nod from Maurice Priestley will head for Harrogate with sky high confidence of making it five wins in a row for the North West.

The standard of the contest here is very high indeed and even a severe test like this one will surely be overcome by at least two or three of these bands.

Who will win though? That really is a good question as there are any nuber of bands here who are more than capable of taking home with them the top prize and certainly making it into one of the three qualification places on offer. Still, in for a penny...

We opt for a real prize fight between two bands for the top prize: United Norwest 2000 and Wardle and District, whilst they will be pushed hard we think by Flixton, Eccleston and Rainford  - although not possibly in that specific order. The top six should be completed by Trinity Girls and our dark horse for this one is Pilling. You heard it here first! 

1. United Norwest 2000
2. Wardle and District
3. Flixton
4. Eccleston
5. Rainford
6. Trinity Girls

Dark Horses: Pilling Jubilee


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