2005 Pontins Championships - Preview: Third Section - Runners and Riders


A slightly smaller field this year, but one packed with bands who are more than capable of winning and winning well here. Should make for a fair old scrap for the bunce on offer then.

PontinsSaturday 29th October 2005
Venue: Lunars Hall

Draw: Pre-Drawn
Commence: 2.30pm Approx

Test Piece: Excelsior! – Howard Snell
Adjudicators: Ian Brownbill & David Horsfield

First Prize: £1,750
Second Prize: £900
Third Prize: £650
Fourth Prize: £450

Special Award: To the youngest player in the section
Controller: Colin Morrison

Twenty bands competed here last year, but with some promotions to the Second Section, a reduced field of fourteen will do battle on Saturday afternoon.  Despite the reduction in numbers, all of the bands will fancy their chances in taking the £1750 first prize and the Pontins title.

The Third Section bands will play ‘Excelsior!' by Howard Snell, which was originally commissioned by the St. Helen's Youth Brass Band in 1998 with Lottery Funds through the Arts Council of England and received it's World Premier in May 1999 by the band at the Theatre Royal St Helen's conducted by the composer himself. The piece is dedicated to the bands conductor Lynda Nicholson and to the memory of Sir Thomas Beecham.

The work is in four movements: 'Salute', 'Overture', 'Souvenirs' and 'Hymnus' (ex. Terra lucem) and explores a variety of moods and styles as the composer paints a musical picture of youngsters striving ‘ever upwards' (the meaning of the title). It was last used at a major brass band contest as the set work for the Third Section National Finals in 2000.

On the back of an excellent Third Section test piece in Harrogate, Howard Snell's work is guaranteed to test the bands and it promises to be an interesting afternoon for competitors, audiences and judges alike.

Six of the bands come from the near by North West area, namely Flixton, Middleton, Pilling Jubilee, Rainford, Wardle & District Anderson Brass and Whitworth.

Flixton, Middleton, Pilling Jubilee and Rainford all join together after the Fleetwood contest at the start of October with Rainford coming into the contest with confidence having taking the honours courtesy of a fine performance on the Fylde coast. They only managed 11th place here last year so they won't be taking things for granted.

Pilling, Flixton and Middleton will all be looking to put on better shows than they did at Fleetwood, where Pilling picked up thee wooden spoon whereas Flixton under Fairey's principal trombone Kevin Gibbs will want to produce a better performance than Fleetwood and at the area earlier in the year. They did come 4th here last time out in the Second Section, so a repeat performance would do nicely.

Middleton will be hoping the form that brought them fourth at the areas followed by success at the Tameside Open returns here as will Wardle & District Anderson Brass, who want to get one over their North West colleagues after finishing directly below them twice this year and only managing 9th here last year.  Whitworth will also be looking to impress and looking for the odd scalp on the way and a repeat or better of their 6th place year twelve months ago will be the least of their ambitions.

Dinnington fly the flag for the White Rose county of Yorkshire and will once more be directed by Toby Bannan. They came 12th here last year, so they too will be looking for a move up the prize list come results time, whilst the Midlands has the trio of Croft Silver, Leicester Co-op and Phoenix West Midlands Brass.

Croft Silver will be looking to give a good account of themselves following a lowly placing on ‘Tam O'Shanter' back in March and Leicester Co-op wo came 18th and last here 12months ago will be aware that they will be hoping for a much better return this time around. Th band to beat on the day though looks like being Phoenix West Midlands Brass.

David Bishop-Rowe's band competed at Harrogate in September and off a number one draw, Phoenix led by Lisa Glover on principal cornet, came fourth.  Without doubt, a band in form, and if any band finishes in front of them on the day, there is every chance they'll have taken the Pontins crown.

Four bands from Wales conclude the line up here namely Beaumaris ‘B', Newtown Silver, Porthaethwy Menai Bridge and Trefor with Newtown looking the strongest Welsh challenger for us, if they are due a bit of luck that certainly wasn't with them at Harrogate earlier this year. On their day though they can be a very good sounding band and they should relish the chance to do well here.  Porthaethwy Menai Bridge will also be looking to improve in a well merited 5th place here last year, whilst Trefor could be a bit of a dark horse if things go their way.  Beaumaris B will surely field a strong line up and they could be a band to listen out for if the rumblings from the bandroom are anything to go by.

So who gets the 4BR kiss of death then?  Well, we've hinted already but we think:

4BR Prediction:

1. Phoenix West Midlands Brass
2. Newtown Silver
3. Rainford
4. Middleton
5. Dinnington
6. Leics- Co-op

Dark Horse: Beaumaris B


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