2005 Regionals: West of England - Preview: First Section


It won't be much of a laugh for the bands who have to tackle Comedy here this year to try and impress John Maines in the adjudicator's box, but someone will be having the last laugh come results time.

Date: Sunday 13th March
Adjudicator: John Maines
Test Piece: Comedy Overture John Ireland
Commences: 10.00
Draw: 09.00

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

Melvin WhiteAldbourne
Melvin White

Last Nine Years:
2004: 4th (M. White)
2003: 7th (I. Holmes)
2002: 11th Championship (rel) (B. Grant)
2001: 7th Championship (D. Williams)
2000: 5th Championship
1999: 6th Championship
1998: 2nd (prom)
1997: 4th
1996: N/K

The very experienced Melvin White returns once more to Torquay with Aldbourne, and they should come here surely as one of the favourites to take the title. The experience of a man who has won 10 Regional Championship titles should more than rub off on a band that is looking to return to the top level for the first time since 2002, and with a test piece he knows very well, it coud be a trip to Harrogate at the very least.

Bendix Kingswood
Conductor: D. Shead

Last NineYears:
2004: 13th (G. Keys)
2003: 10th (G. Keys)
2002: 2nd 2nd Section (prom) (K. White)
2001: Winners 2nd Section (K. White)
2000: 10th (rel)
1999: 15th
1998: 13th
1997: N/K
1996: N/K

A poor result last year saw Bendix Kingswood fill the penultimate position in the prize table, and they will surely need a good result here this time to satve off the threat of a possible relegation. A new MD should give them a bit of a boost of confidence for sure, as they will not want to be drawn back to the Second Section where they came from in 2002. Some hard work and a confident performance though should see them right.

Conductor: S. Tubb

Last Nine Years:
2004: 7th (S. Tubb)
2003: 3rd in Second Section (prom) (S. Tubb)
2002: 4th (S. Tubb)
2001: 4th (S. Tubb)
2000: 15th
1999: 11th 1st Section (rel)
1998: 14th 1st Section
1997: 13th
1996: N/K

Stephen Chubb has been doing wonderful work with Chalford over the past few years and after gaining promotion up from the Second Section in 2003 they produced a fine performanc ehere last year to come a well deserved 7th. That has set the marker for them to try and beat this year, and you sense the confidence will be there for them to do just that.

Conductor: TBA

Last Nine Years:
2004: 11th (W. Jarrett)
2003: 9th in Championship Section (rel) (W. Jarrett)
2002: 10th ((L. Baglin)
2001: 2nd 1st Section (prom) (L. Baglin)
2000: 8th (rel)
1999: 9th
1998: 3rd 1st Section (prom)
1997: 2nd 1st Section
1996: N/K

Cinderford will come to this contest looking to reversethe trend of the past two years here where they have struggled to make any sort of impression both in the Championship Section, and folllowing their subsequent relegation, the First Section 12 months ago. That 11th place was a real disappointment and they will need all their wits about them this time out to push themselves up the table, otherwise a further slip may be on the cards.

John HitchensHelston Town
J. Hitchens

Last NineYears:
2004: 3rd Second Section (J. Hitchens) (prom)
2003: 5th (J. Hitchins)
2002: 3rd 3rd Section (prom) (E. Ashton)
2001: 2nd 3rd Section (E. Ashton)
2000: 17th (rel)
1999: 12th
1998: 11th 1st Section (rel)
1997: 12th 1st Section
1996: N/K

John Hitchens has been doing some excellent work here with Helston in the past few years and since they gained promotion up from the Third Section in 2002 they have continued to climb upwards and onwards. Last year they came 3rd in the Third Section to just miss out on a trip up to Harrogate, but promotion was guarenteed and they will be looking to make a firm impression here for sure.

Sreve SykesLydbrook
Conductor: S. Sykes

Last NineYears:
2004: 6th (D. Williams)
2003: 8th (B. Hurdley)
2002: 10th (A. Cukshaw)
2001: 10th (S. Lippeatt)
2000: 5th
1999: 9th
1998: 10th Championship (rel)
1997: 7th Championship
1996: N/K

The experienced Steve Sykes takes the helm here with Lydbrook - the fifth new MD to take the band in as many years. This could well be a fine decision in the manking as he has the talent and experience to more than mould a top class performance from this test piece. Lybrook have been a bit unlucky here over the years (2003 especially), so they are due a change of fortune. Will this be their year then? 

Nick GraceOcean Brass
Conductor: N. Grace

Last Nine Years:
2004: 10th (L. Rich)
2003: 13th (D. Muir)
2002: 2nd (L. Rich)
2001: 13th (L. Rich)
2000: Winners 2nd Section (prom)
1999: 7th Second Section
1998: N/K
1997: DNC
1996: DNC

A new MD for Ocean this year will follow on the fantastic work done with the band by Leighton Rich. That will be a hard act to follow, especially in the last couple of years in particular they have been someway off the pace here. 2002 was the last time they really made a mark when they came 2nd, so they will have to make up a lot of lost ground this time if they are to repeat that performance once more.

Lt Col Chris DaviesOtterbourne Brass
Lt. Col. C. Davies

Last Nine Years:
2004: Winners Second Section (Lt. Col. C. Davies) (prom)
2003: 4th (Lt. Col. C. Davies)
2002: 8th (Lt. Col. C. Davies)
2001: 9th (L. Sale)
2000: 2nd in Third Section (prom)
1999: 3rd in Third Section
1998: 7th in Third Section
1997: DNC
1996: N/K

A band certainly moving in the right direction under the direction of Lt Col Chris Davies, who surprisingly conducts in a very enjoyable non military sort of way in front of a brass band. He is good too, and that was proved here last year when they were the clear winners of the Second Section and went on to come a slightly disappointing 14th at the Finals in Harrogate.  They have plenty about them though, and they could very well fancy their chances of amking a substantial mark here.  

Phil RandellPoole Borough
Conductor: P. Randell

Last Nine Years:
2004: 3rd (P. Randell)
2003: 12th (P. Randell)
2002: 6th (P. Randell)
2001: 5th (A. Carcary)
2000: 11th
1999: 3rd
1998: 8th
1997: 8th
1996: N/K

Phil Randell has certainly been doing good things down here with Poole in recent times, and after the disappointment of coming 12th in 2003 he turned things around with an excellent performance from his band 12 months ago when they just missed out on a trip to Harrogate after coming 3rd here. Another performance like that and he could well direct his band into a qualification place at least.

Sherborne Town
Conductor: Paul Cosh 

Last Nine Years:
2004: 5th (P. Cosh)
2003: 5th (M. Portman)
2002: 12th (B. Buckley)
2001: 9th (G. Key)
2000: 9th
1999: 2nd 2nd Section (prom)
1998: 6th 2nd Section
1997: 6th 2nd Section
1996: N/K

Paul Cosh is also a very experienced MD, having conducted at the Championship level for many years, and the professional trumpet player certainly made his experience pay off last year when he directed the band into a second successive 5th place. They will certainly want to improve on that this time around then, and a top three place may be their ambition this time around at least.

Solent Concert
Conductor: W. Garner

Last Nine Years:
2004: 8th (W. Garner)
2003: 6th (W. Garner)
2002: 9th (W. Garner)
2001: 6th (W. Garner)
2000: 4th
1999: Winners 2nd Section (prom)
1998: 4th 2nd Section
1997: 14th (rel)
1996: N/K

The fantastic partnership that is Wes Garner and Solent continues to run and run, although in the past three years in particular they have just been off the pace a touch here. They have more than held their own since coming up form the Second Section in 1999, but after a 4th place on their return they haven't really pushed again for a qualification place. Perhaps this year may see it occur?

Swindon Pegasus Brass
Conductor: J. Winterflood

Last Nine Years:
2004: 9th (J. Winterflood)
2003: 4th (J. Winterflood)
2002: 5th (J. Winterflood)
2001: 9th Championship (rel) (J. Winterflood)
2000: 9th Championship
1999: 4th (prom)
1998: 6th
1997: 3rd
1996: N/K

John Winterflood returns once more with Swindon Pegasus in the hope that they can regain their position in the Championship Section where they last competed in 2001. Since then they have more than held their own, but last last year they fell away to come a disappointing 9th, and they will surely be looking for something better this time around. Ones to watch out for possibly then?

Past Qualifiers:

2004: Bournemouth Concert, Lanner and District
2003: City of Bristol, Test Valley Brass
2002: St. Austell, Ocean Brass
2001: Thornbury, Cinderford Swanbrook
2000: Thornbury, Yeovil Town
1999: Hyde, Forest of Dean
1998: Yeovil Town, Aldbourne
1997: Lydmet Lydney, Cinderford Swanbrook
1996: St. Austell, N/K
1995: Swindon Pegasus, Lydbrook

West of England bands at the Finals:

2004: 9th, 14th
2003: 11th, 12th
2002: 3rd, 7th
2001: 11th, 13th
2000: 3rd, 4th
1999: 12th, 15th
1998: 3rd, 5th

4BR Prediction:

This should be an entertaining contest, although we think there are one or two bands that do stand out from the rest. It is a difficult old test piece though, and good quality cornet playing will be something of a premium. John Maines is experienced enough to know all the pitfalls to look out for, so it should prove to be a a stern test for all the bands.

One or two as we said do stand out for us, and we think it could well be a fight between Aldbourne and Lydbrook for the title, closely followed by Poole Borough. Newcomers Otterborune should also feature highly, whilst Sherborne and Solent should not be discounted and should have enough about them to make it to the top six at least. Our dark horses are Helston, who we think may well spring a surprise or two.    

1. Aldbourne
2. Lydbrook
3. Poole Borough
4. Otterbourne
5. Sherborne
6. Solent  Concert

Dark Horse: Helston


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