2006 British Open Championships - Runners and Riders


4BR looks at the records and form guide of the 19 runners and riders hoping to win the famous gold Trophy.

AshtonAshton under Lyne
Philip Chalk
4BR Ranking: 43

Principal Cornet: Claire Chalk
Principal Euphonium: Nigel Lawler
Soprano Cornet: Phil Ramsden
Solo Trombone: Dave Priestley
Solo horn: Robbie Cargill
Flugel horn: Neil Hewson
Solo Baritone: Danny Catlow
Eb Bass: John Clough

Debut: 2005

Open Record:
According to our records Ashton are making their debut at the British Open, although a band by the name of Ashton in Makefield did play in the 1883 contest!

Ashton made it to the contest after coming runners up at the Grand Shield contests in Blackpool in 2005. After a few years when they really did struggle, theirs has been a bit of a remarkable turn around and all credit to the players and the MD, Phil Chalk the former second man down at Faireys and someone who has tasted success here as a player on more than one occasion.

Last 10 Years:
Conductors and Draw

2005: 17th (Philip Chalk) (9)

Open Record:
1 Unplaced: 2005 (17th)
2006 Form:
Regionals: 7th (First Section) (North West)
Grand Shield: N/A
European: N/A
Masters: N/A
Preston: 8th
Tameside Open: 4th

On paper it may seem that Ashton will have their work really cut out to make any sort of impression here this year and are one of the short priced favourites to drop through the relegation trap door after their 17th place last year.

That would be a touch unfair though as there is plenty of experience around the stands and some classy performers too. The MD is one of the brightest talents around and has done wonders already with the band. It will be hard for them, but then again, it will be hard for any number of bands on the day too.

Poor results so far this year may not count for anything if they can show the form that got them here in the first place once again. Up against it though, especially with three for the drop. The band report that they have been enjoying the piece, but have found it quite a challenge.
Player to listen out for:

Claire Chalk – She may well be the MDs wife, but what a fine player she is too. The offspring of perhaps the greatest ever cornet player she has certainly showed that class is in her musical genes.  

Aveley and NewhamAveley and Newham
Nigel Taken
4BR Ranking: 21

Principal Cornet: Cliff Pask
Principal Euphonium: Sophie Rhodes
Soprano Cornet: Andrew Bannister
Solo Trombone: Shawn Kissane
Solo horn: Trevor Foster
Flugel horn: Dave Lewis
Solo Baritone: Brian Vincent
Eb Bass: David Kline

Appearances: 4th time
Debut: 1989

Open Record:
3 Unplaced: 1989 (N/K), 1990 (N/K), 1991 (13th)

Last 10 Years:
Conductors and draw


Open Record:
A welcome return to the big time for Aveley and Newham after 15 years away. In fact the last time they took to the stage at the Free Trade Hall they were just plain Asphaltic Newham and the Aveley partnership had not been sealed, so it is in fact something of a debut.

All those years ago it was still Nigel Taken who was at the helm and although they didn't make a mark at the contest in those three years they did come 13th in 1991 on ‘Paganini Variations'. Nice to see them back, and hopefully it will be for a long stay. 
2006 Form:
Regionals:  Winners (London and Southern Counties)
Grand Shield: Winners
European: N/A
Masters: 19th
French Open: 2nd
Yeovil: 6th

A bit of a curates egg to say the least results wise this year, but there was no doubt about the way in which they qualified at Blackpool with a quite outstanding performance to win the Grand Shield.

Earlier in the year they had bounced back from a poor showing at Yeovil to regain the London Area title for the first time in five years, but they had one heck of a musical hangover at the Masters where they were awful and came close to the bottom of the pile, although they did enjoy a quick trip over the channel to come runners up at the French Open.

Reports from the camp state that preparations have been disrupted a little by holidays, but the band has been working hard on the piece for some time and are confident of putting up a good show. It's a hard one they tell us (and they are not alone in saying that) but it is a piece that they are thoroughly enjoying. A good omen then?

Player to listen out for:
Andrew Bannister – a fine exponent of the art of soprano playing and someone who is enjoying his time down south after a period in Yorkshire. A classy player indeed. 

Black DykeBlack Dyke
Dr. Nicholas Childs
4BR Ranking: 1

Principal Cornet: Richard Marshall
Principal Euphonium: David Thornton
Soprano Cornet: Peter Roberts
Solo Trombone: Brett Baker
Solo horn: Martin Armstrong
Flugel horn: John Doyle
Solo Baritone: Gareth Brindle
Eb Bass: Joseph Cook

Appearances: 103rd time
Debut: 1856

Open Record:
28 Wins: 1862, 1863, 1871, 1879, 1880, 1881, 1891, 1895, 1896, 1899, 1902, 1904, 1908, 1914, 1935, 1957, 1968, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1976, 1977, 1983, 1985, 1986, 1992, 1995, 2005
21 Seconds: 1877, 1887, 1888, 1900, 1903, 1905, 1907, 1909, 1917, 1922, 1934, 1938, 1971, 1978, 1984, 1988, 1993, 1994, 1999, 2000, 2001
11 Thirds: 1868, 1873, 1884, 1894, 1916, 1937, 1953, 1958, 1963, 2002, 2003
8 Fourths: 1890, 1912, 1919, 1921, 1936, 1970, 1979, 1989
5 Fifths: 1864, 1920, 1936, 1952, 1966
3 Sixths: 1947, 1962, 2004
25 times unplaced:
1 Disqualification: 1865

Last 10 Years:
Conductor and draw

2005: Winners (Nicholas Childs) (13)
2004: 6th (Nicholas Childs) (6)
2003: 3rd (Nicholas Childs) (11)
2002: 3rd (Nicholas Childs) (3)
2001: 2nd (Nicholas Childs) (14)
2000: 2nd (Nicholas Childs) (15)
1999: 2nd (James Watson) (22)
1998: 8th (James Watson) (7)
1997: DNC
1996: 14th (James Watson) (1)

Open Record:
A record like no other band in the world. This will be the Queensbury bands 103rd appearance at the contest and they can boast a record of 28 wins, 21 second places and 11 third places. That's close on a 60% success rate of getting in the top three since 1856 - although it does include the strange occurrence of a disqualification back in 1865.

They haven't been outside the top six places now for a decade and they finally regained the title last year with a superb performance to pip BAYV from the lucky number 13 draw. More playing like that and they could well become the first band to retain the title since they themselves did it in 1986.

2006 Form:
Regionals: 2nd (Yorkshire)
Grand Shield: N/A
European: 4th
Masters: N/A
Others: N/A

In purely results terms it has been a successful year so far for Black Dyke, with them being pipped by Grimethorpe in Bradford and then suffering a major blow at the Europeans in Belfast.
All things are relative though and those who have heard them in concert this year can vouch that they are one heck of a fine band at the moment and playing as well as ever. They will be keen though to hold onto their title here and set themselves up for a possible ‘Double' at London. Don't bet against them doing just that and reports from the camp suggest that things have been sounding ominously good in preparation. 

Player to listen out for:
David Thornton – Has been on quite stunning form of late and the current is such a wonderful performer. His class will shine through even if he hasn't that much to do in this piece.  

BrighouseBrighouse & Rastrick
Ian McElligott
4BR Ranking: 8

Principal Cornet: Alan Morrison
Principal Euphonium: Michael Howley
Soprano Cornet: Nigel Fielding
Solo Trombone: Andrew Berryman
Solo horn: Melvyn Bathgate
Flugel horn: David Moore
Solo Baritone: Leigh Baker
Eb Bass: David Hebb

Appearances: 66th time
Debut: 1890

Open Record:
6 Wins: 1929, 1932, 1933, 1934, 1936, 1978
3 Seconds: 1965, 1977, 1983
5 Thirds: 1939, 1940, 1973, 1976, 1998
7 Fourths: 1942, 1943, 1961, 1964, 1984, 1999, 2002
4 Fifths: 1960, 1971, 1987, 2003
5 Sixths: 1938,1944, 1959, 1986, 1995
35 times unplaced.

Last 10 Years:
Conductor and draw

2005: 7th (James Gourlay) (6)
2004: 11th (James Gourlay) (5)
2003: 5th (Major Ian McElligott) (17)
2002: 4th (Major Ian McElligott) (12)
2001: 8th (Allan Withington) (8)
2000: 12th (Allan Withington) (8)
1999: 4th (Allan Withington) (14)
1998: 3rd (Allan Withington) (15)
1997: 10th (Allan Withington) (4)
1996: 20th (Allan Withington) (18)

Open Record:
Even under the late 1990's resurgence with Allan Withington, the British Open hasn't been a great hunting ground for the boys in purple over the last couple of decades with a best of 2nd place in 1983 and 3rd place in 1998 to show for their troubles. They have of course won the title 6 times, but the last occasion the trophy was in West Riding was in 1978 when Geoffrey Brand took them to victory on "Benvenuto Cellini".

They have been very consistent though in the last few years, with five top 6 finishes since 1998, whilst they have had to contend with two fairly early draws in the last two years.
Were not too great last year and a bit lucky perhaps to come 7th, but they have teamed up again with Ian McElligott and that could signal a return to better times. A win may just be beyond them, but you never know and they would love to get one over their rivals from Queensbury once agin.

2006 Form:
Regionals: 5th (Yorkshire)
Grand Shield: N/A
European: N/A
Masters: N/A
English National: 2nd
Saddleworth Whit Friday Champions

Not riveting perhaps but there were real signs at Salford and the English Nationals that they were perhaps coming back to their best at just the right time in the season. There they were very good and having teamed up with Ian McElligott once more they should be confident of doing well here this time around.

They have the players in the ranks – a real mixture of youth and experience and also one Andy Berryman on trombone to add that bit of extra class.

Reports from the bandroom suggest that they have found the piece very enjoyable so far, even though they have still to really get to in depth grips with it, but they are confident that they can produce a good quality show come the contest. A first win then since 1978 then? Wait and see, as they could be a real dark horse.
Player to listen out for:
Andrew Berryman – He may only be coming in to help out for a one off, but it should make for one heck of boost to the confidence to have a player of his class sitting there waiting for his chance to shine. Well worth listening out for.    

BAYVBuy As You View Band
Dr. Robert Childs
4BR Ranking: 2

Principal Cornet: Ian Williams
Principal Euphonium: David Childs
Soprano Cornet: Michelle Ibbotson
Solo Trombone: Chris Thomas
Solo horn: Owen Farr
Flugel horn: Joanne Deane
Solo Baritone: Susan Thomas
Eb Bass: Gavin Saynor

Appearances: 44th time
Debut: 1922

Open Record:
2 Wins: 2000, 2002
3 Seconds: 1950, 2004, 2005
2 Thirds: 1972, 2001
3 Fourths: 1951, 1975, 1976
1 Fifth: 1974
2 Sixths: 1999, 2003
30 times unplaced.

Last 10 Years:
Conductor and draw

2005: 2nd (Robert Childs) (16)
2004: 2nd (Robert Childs) (2)
2003: 6th (Robert Childs) (13)
2002: Winners (Robert Childs) (16)
2001: 3rd (Robert Childs) (20)
2000: Winners (Robert Childs) (22)
1999: 6th (Jeremy Wise) (10)
1998: 13th (Jeremy Wise) (19)
1997: 7th (Jeremy Wise) (16)
1996: 19th (Melvin White) (6)
Open Record:
BAYV make their 44th appearance at the contest this year and since the arrival of Robert Childs they have come of age at the contest with two wins and two consecutive runners up spots.

The band returned to the Open in 1994 after winning the Grand Shield and results moved in the right direction under successive MD's before the arrival of Robert Childs in 2000 and the "Millennium Double". Since then they have yet to come out of the top six.

This year should see them there or thereabouts once more, regardless of the luck of the draw it seems. A third title is well within their capabilities and you sense that they feel it is well overdue too (as well as a bit of luck). Ones to listen out for and the short priced odds for a victory are not misplaced.

2006 Form:
Regionals: Winners (Wales)
Grand Shield: N/A
European: 3rd
Masters: N/A
Others: N/A 

The Regional win was expected of course, but it was still done in a slick professional manner, whilst the European saw them come as close as it was humanly possible to take the title without actually doing so. They were frighteningly good in Belfast and some of their technical playing was simply breathtaking. If they can capture the Mozart style here then it may just be a question of taste as there won't be many other bands who will play the black notes as well as them.

They have the players in all the positions and will be thoroughly well prepared as usual. Reports from the Valley's suggest they too are enjoying the piece and have been working hard to get it just right, so look out, as the famous old trophy could be making its way back to Wales again. 
Player to listen out for:
Ian Williams – He's been leading the band now for well over a decade and has matured into a supremely talented exponent of his craft. A gifted performer indeed.  

Carlton MainCarlton Main Frickley Colliery
Russell Gray
4BR Ranking: 20

Principal Cornet: Kirsty Abbotts
Principal Euphonium: Ciaran Young
Soprano Cornet: Claire Taylor
Solo Trombone: Kevin Holdgate
Solo horn: Kate Eggleshaw
Flugel horn: Mark Durham
Solo Baritone: Ewan Hethen
Eb Bass: Ben Dixon

Appearances: 59th time
Debut: 1921

Open Record:
2 Wins: 1922, 1958
5 Seconds: 1941, 1957, 1959, 1969, 1972
3 Thirds: 1948, 1950, 1956
3 Fourths: 1928, 1944, 1963
2 Fifths: 1927, 1946
1 Sixths: 1923
42 times unplaced.

Last 10 Years:
Conductor and draw

2005: DNC
2004: 18th (Brian Grant) (7)
2003: 18th (William Rushworth) (14) 
2002: 19th (William Rushworth) (17) (rel)
2001: 17th (John Hinckley) (6)
2000: 9th (John Hinckley) (21)
1999: 14th (John Hinckley) (11)
1993-1998: DNC

Open Record:
Carlton Main have had a bit of an up and down existence at the Open of late, but it is always nice to see them back at a contest they have won twice in their history first as South Elmshall and Frickley under Noel Thorpe back in 1922 on "Lohengrin" and again more under Jack Atherton in 1958 on "Sunset Rhapsody", when they were really going through a purple patch at the contest. The last time they appeared in the prize list was in 1972 though.

The last few years have been a bit of a struggle, although they did come 9th under John Hinckley in 2000.  Their last four appearances haven't been marked out as great, but they do come back this time as a much stronger outfit and it is fifty years ago that they came third here, so perhaps time for another push for the title.
2006 Form:
Regionals: 7th (Yorkshire)
Grand Shield: 2nd
European: N/A
Masters: 16th
Butlins Mineworkers: 2nd
Others: N/A

Not bad, and there are real signs that they are ready to make the next step up too. Bradford was about par for the course given the standard of opposition and then came the excellent result at Blackpool. Cambridge though was a disappointment and they sounded a bit tired and lacked sparkle. The year started so well at Skegness though and they will be looking to round things off here with a good result too.

They have taken the very sensible step of engaging Russell Gray, and even though he hasn't got the best record as yet at Birmingham he has shown that he can bring the best out of any band at his command, and reports from the bandroom suggest that preparation has been going well and that the band are getting to grips well with both the technical and musical aspects of ‘ a very tough' piece. 

Lots of good quality players around the stand, including the appearance of the talented Slvationist cornet player Philip Cobb in the bumper up seat.  All the right ingredients then to make something of a mark.
Player to listen out for:
Ben Dixon – Its not often we highlight a tuba player to listen out for, but this young man has a great future ahead of him and is already on heck of a fine player. Keep your ears peeled out for him.  

DesfordDesford Colliery (Aggregate Industries)
Nigel Seaman
4BR Ranking: 35

Principal Cornet: David Smith
Principal Euphonium: Mike Kilroy
Soprano Cornet: Martin Britt
Solo Trombone: Julian Turner
Solo horn: Murray Borthwick
Flugel horn: Brian Winter
Solo Baritone: Kate Williams
Eb Bass: Nick Etheridge

Appearances: 33rd time
Debut: 1970

Open Record:
1 Second: 1979
1 Third: 1980
1 Fourth: 1982
2 Fifths: 1984, 1986
2 Sixths: 1983, 1987
26 Unplaced.

Last 10 Years:
Conductor and draw

2005: 16th (Major Peter Parkes) (1)
2004: 7th (Major Peter Parkes) (17)
2003: DNC
2002: DNC
2001: 19th (Major Peter Parkes) (12) (rel)
2000: 20th (Major Peter Parkes) (19)
1999: 13th (Roy Newsome) (3)
1998: 16th (Frank Renton) (2)
1997: 15th (Frank Renton) (6)
1996: 15th (Frank Renton) (16)

Open Record:
In a way it seems inconceivable that Desford have never won the Open, for during the early 1980's they were head and shoulders above any band in the country. The Open wasn't a happy hunting ground for them though, and even though they came 2nd in 1979 and 3rd in 1980, they never really got close enough to winning the trophy.

A succession of conductors has tried with them since (six between 1993 and 2001), but the best until 2004 was a 10th place under John Clarke in 1994. Their initial run at the contest ended finally in 2001, but they returned through the Grand Shield qualification process in 2004 and performed well under Peter Parkes.

That gave them their best result year since those glory days, but they will need a good performance here this weekend if they are to banish any thoughts of relegation after last year's 16th place.
2006 Form:
Regionals: 6th (Midlands)
Grand Shield: N/A
European: N/A
Masters: 13th

Disappointing so far this year on the form guide front with a poor result at Burton upon Trent that was more mystifying than anything – certainly not worth 6th place for certain.

The Masters didn't bring them much joy either, but they still sounded a quality outfit just in need perhaps of a bit of more fine tuning. They certainly have a settled band nowadays and some very good players around the stands, so if the partnership with Welshman Nigel Seaman can show the type of promise it did at the Albert Hall last year when they were excellent, they should more than hold their own and perhaps make a mark in the top 10 at least.

Reports from the bandroom suggest that the band like the piece – ‘interesting, but very enjoyable' we were told and the future looks bright for Desford what with a sponsorship tie up with a local international firm and exotic trips abroad to Jakarta and Bali as well as Gozo on the horizon.

Player to listen out for:
Philip Jonstone – Perhaps the best Bb tuba player in the world has made the trip over from New Zealand to play with the band.  Here is a real artist with a technique David Childs would be proud of and a sound to wake the dead. Great bloke too. 

FAIREY bANDFairey Band
Simon Stonehouse
4BR Ranking: 10

Principal Cornet: Steve Wilkinson
Principal Euphonium: David Belshaw
Soprano Cornet: Rebecca Crawshaw
Solo Trombone: Lisa Sarasini
Solo horn: Chris Pannell
Flugel horn: Lucy Murphy
Solo Baritone: Katrina Marzella
Eb Bass: Richard Evans

Appearances: 63rd time
Debut: 1938

Open Record:
16 Wins: 1941, 1942, 1944, 1945, 1947, 1949, 1950, 1956, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1965, 1979, 1987, 1993, 1998
13 Seconds: 1943, 1946, 1948, 1953, 1960, 1967, 1975, 1982, 1986, 1988, 1991, 1995, 1997
5 Thirds: 1969, 1977, 1984, 1992, 1999
6 Fourths: 1959, 1971, 1996, 2000, 2003, 2005
1 Fifth: 1985
7 Sixths: 1951, 1957, 1970, 1978, 1990, 2001, 2002
14 times unplaced.

Last 10 Years:
Conductor and draw

2005: 4th (Simon Stonehouse) (9)
2004: 12th (Allan Withington (11)
2003: 4th (Allan Withington) (9)
2002: 6th (Allan Withington) (19)
2001: 6th (Howard Snell) (2)
2000: 4th (James Gourlay) (17)
1999: 3rd (James Gourlay) (12)
1998: Winners (James Gourlay) (16)
1997: 2nd (James Gourlay) (10)
1996: 4th (James Gourlay) (10)

Open Record:
Only Black Dyke have more wins at the British Open than Fairey, and the band from Stockport can lay claim to winning at least one Open title in each decade since the 1940's, although they haven't added to that so far this millennium.

The list of MD's that have won with the band here reads like a role of the "Greats" in the banding world - Mortimer, Lamb, Hargreaves, Newsome, Parkes and Gourlay, so can the latest, the very talented Simon Stonehouse add his name to them?

The band has an unequalled record of consistency here as well over the past decade or so, but the troubles of late 2003 and 2004 hurt them and it has taken a great deal of fight and character for them to recover so well. They are now looking like a band that can do this business here once more.

Last year they were good value for their 4th place and since then they have improved even more. A good bet for a further top six place at least. 

2006 Form:
Regionals: 2nd (North West)
Grand Shield: N/A
European: N/A
Masters: N/A
English Nationals: 4th
Others: N/A

Good form and getting better with each outing it seems. The glory days for the Fairey Band may just be around the corner once more as they have put all their troubles behind them and now have an enviable mix of youth and experience as well as some of the best up and coming young playing talent in the business.

Simon Stonehouse is a very fine MD and showed that by drawing excellent performances from his band at both Blackpool and Salford. Reports from the bandroom suggest the band like the piece very well – ‘very difficult, but also very enjoyable' was the response when we asked and they have really strengthened the bass end with the recent signings of ex YBS star Simon Gresswell and John Beaumont.

Sadly it's the last contest for Rebecca Crawshaw on soprano as she is off to the rarified atmosphere of Cambridge to study medicine, so we wish her well and hope she has time to carry on her fine playing amid her studies.

Player to listen out for:
Rebecca Crawshaw – She has lit up many a contest in her short career so far and we are certain she will leave on a high note (both physically and metaphorically). Hopefully she won't be away for too long.   

FodensFodens Richardson
Garry Cutt
4BR Ranking: 4

Principal Cornet: Mark Wilkinson
Principal Euphonium: Glyn Williams
Soprano Cornet: Alan Wycherley
Solo Trombone: John Barber
Solo horn: George Thackray
Flugel horn: Helen Fox
Solo Baritone: Helen Tyler
Eb Bass: Les Neish

Appearances: 67th time
Debut: 1909

Open Record:
10 Wins: 1909, 1910, 1912, 1913, 1915, 1926, 1927, 1928, 1964, 2004
6 Seconds: 1911, 1916, 1952, 1987, 1998, 2002
6 Thirds: 1914, 1925, 1957, 1970, 1981, 1985
4 Fourths: 1958, 1965, 1986, 1991
8 Fifths: 1918, 1953, 1968, 1972, 1988, 1996, 1999, 2000
4 Sixths: 1917, 1984, 1994, 2005
28 times unplaced.

Last 10 Years:
Conductor and draw

2005: 6th (Garry Cutt) (18)
2004: Winners (Garry Cutt) (12)
2003: 7th (Thomas Wyss) (3)
2002: 2nd (Bramwell Tovey) (8)
2001: 7th (Bramwell Tovey) (3)
2000: 5th (Bramwell Tovey) (9)
1999: 5th (Nicholas Childs) (4)
1998: 2nd (Nicholas Childs) (18)
1997: 9th (Nicholas Childs) (13)
1996: 5th (Phillip McCann) (3)

Open Record:
The 2004 champions are another band with an amazing pedigree at the contest since they first took part in 1909, when they won on their debut under the legendary William Rimmer. Since then they have notched up a further 9 wins, including that 2004 victory after a 40 year hiatus.

Consistency has been the name of the game for the band over the last ten years here and they will be short priced at the bookies to continue the trend once more. 

On their day, Fodens are almost unbeatable with a superb coterie of talented solists and back up players. Garry Cutt enjoys this contest more than anywhere else so don't be surprised to see them right at the top of the results table once more. 

2006 Form:
Regionals: Winners (North West)
Grand Shield: N/A
European: N/A
Masters: 7th
English Nationals: Winners
Others: N/A

Perhaps playing as well as at any time in the past five or so years and with a real sense of confidence that is not misplaced. Not perhaps at their very best in winning the North West Regional title, but they were electrifying at Cambridge only to dealt a real blow by the judges.

That was all put right at Salford as they became English National Champions and booked their place at next years European Championships and if they play like that again then a second Open title in three years could well be on the cards.

Reports from the bandroom state that they find the piece ‘interesting to say the least… and very difficult – typical Wilby' but they also sounded confident that they could do a fine job on it come contest day. That confidence ios not misplaced we think.
Player to listen out for:
Alan Wycherley – Enjoying a rich seam of form and playing as well as ever. He has been brilliant in the past year or so and is a joy to listen too.   They don't make ‘em like him anymore.  

GrimethorpeGrimethorpe Colliery (UK Coal)
Allan Withington
4BR Ranking: 5

Principal Cornet: Roger Webster
Principal Euphonium: Michael Dodd
Soprano Cornet: Kevin Crockford
Solo Trombone: Richard Brown
Solo horn: William Rushworth
Flugel horn: Ian Shires
Solo Baritone: Bob Blackburn
Eb Bass: Shaun Crowther

Appearances: 60th time
Debut: 1935

Open Record:
4 Wins: 1967, 1969, 1984, 1991
3 Seconds: 1945, 1963, 1973
10 Thirds: 1960, 1961, 1968, 1971, 1979, 1983, 1987, 1990, 1994, 2000
3 Fourths: 1972, 1998, 2001
6 Fifths: 1976, 1981, 1989, 1992, 1995, 1997
3 Sixths: 1946, 1980, 1985
30 Unplaced.

Last 10 Years:
Conductor and draw

2005: 12th (Allan Withington) (4)
2004: 9th (Frank Renton) (9)
2003: DNC
2002: 14th (James Gourlay) (10)
2001: 4th (Garry Cutt) (13)
2000: 3rd (Garry Cutt) (20)
1999: 18th (Andreas Sporri) (7)
1998: 4th (Major Peter Parkes) (17)
1997: 5th (Major Peter Parkes) (7)
1996: 7th (Major Peter Parkes) (20)
1995: 5th (Major Peter Parkes) (19)
1994: 3rd (Garry Cutt) (14)
1993: 9th (Frank Renton) (18)

Open Record:
Four wins for the lads of Grimethorpe, but nothing since 1991 when Frank Renton took them to one of the most memorable Open victories in modern times. Since then though, it has been a litany of unfulfilled promise, with a couple of near misses under Garry Cutt, but a sense of disappointment the rest of the time – including last year (again) when just about everyone in the hall had them in with a shout with the exception of the three men in the box who placed them 12th.

Their first win at the contest came in 1967 under the great George Thompson, whilst they did it again in 1969. Geoffrey Brand emulated that 1967 win in 1984 on "Comedy" before Frank Renton claimed the last triumph with them on "Paganini Variations".

When the mood is with Grimey they are almost a force of nature, but when the mood is not there they can be infuriatingly inconsistent. It has been a while since the famous trophy  has sat on the bandroom dressing table and there wouldn't be a more popular winner if it returned there this year either. 

2006 Form:
Regionals: Winners (Yorkshire)
Grand Shield: N/A
European: N/A
Masters: N/A
Others: N/A

Excellent. They were quite outstanding at Bradford where they were sensational and when we have heard them live in concert they have performed with an amazing sense of musicianship.

Player for player they are hard to beat with a line up of soloists that can only be described as world class. Other newer faces have been brought into the ranks of late and you get the sense that they are looking to become the dominant contesting force not only in Yorkshire but in the UK too.  They may have had their recent upheavals, but there is never quite as determined bunch of hard nosed musicians as this lot when they are in the mood for victory.

Reports from the band suggest they like the piece – ‘enjoyable and very musical' we were told and have been working hard in preparation too. Now that's fighting talk…

Player to listen out for:
Roger Webster – Still the ‘Daddy'. 

HepworthHepworth (Lanson Homes)
Mark Bentham
4BR Ranking: 17

Principal Cornet: Robert Westacott
Principal Euphonium: James Fieldhouse
Soprano Cornet: Mark Smedley
Solo Trombone: Yvonne Embury
Solo horn: Rebecca Landon
Flugel horn: Stan Lippeatt
Solo Baritone: Nicholas Young
Eb Bass: John Pullin

Appearances: 2nd time
Debut: 2005

Open Record:
No wins
1 time unplaced: 2005 (8th)

Not perhaps the richest of musical heritage at the contest, but one that has a great deal of promise given their form and showing of last year. That 8th place though was a fine achievement, especially given that it came off the traditional graveyard draw of number 2.

If they can get something a bit more favourable this time around then a top six place could well be within their grasp.
Last 10 Years:
Conductor and draw

2005: 8th (Mark Bentham) (2)

2006 Form:
Regionals: 6th (Yorkshire)
Grand Shield: N/A
European: N/A
Masters: 6th
English Nationals: 7th
Others: N/A

Very good from in 2006. Hepworth continues to make solid progress and can be rightly seen as realistic contenders for honours wherever they compete. They were good value for their 6th place at Bradford, but at the Masters and again at Salford they did just show a tendency to lose their way when the stamina waned in the final quarter of heavy blowing test pieces.

Knowing the astute leadership of the MD, that would have now been addressed and if they can hold their form together right to the finishing line they could push themselves very much into the frame. Fine players around the stand and the report from the bandroom is that its ‘ a challenging piece…full of music and some tricky moments for all the players. Its one that will take some playing.' There is a sense of confidence about Hepworth though that is well founded.

Nice to see one Stan Lippeatt back playing at the contest too – one of the true greats of flugel playing.

Player to listen out for:
James Fieldhouse – It would have been easy to say Stan Lippeatt of course, but this young man is starting to make just as fine reputation for himself too, and it is well deserved as well.  

Steve Bastable
4BR Ranking: 16

Principal Cornet: Hedley Benson
Principal Euphonium: Andy Mclean
Soprano Cornet: David Prentice
Solo Trombone: Marion Brackpool
Solo horn: Allan Wardrope
Flugel horn: Martyn Ramsay
Solo Baritone: Debbie Newby
Eb Bass: Andy McKreel

Appearances: 6th time
Debut: 2001

Open Record:
No Wins:
No Seconds:
No Thirds:
1 Fourth: 2004
No Fifths:
No Sixths:
4 times unplaced

Last 10 Years
Conductor and draw

2005: 13th (Steve Bastable) (8)
2004: 4th (Steve Bastable) (16)
2003: 11th (Frank Renton) (16)
2002: 12th (Frank Renton) (6)
2001: 16th (Allan Ramsey) (19)
1996 - 2000: DNC

Open Record:
Kirkintilloch make their sixth appearance at the contest this year after first making their debut in 2001 on ‘Les Preludes'.  Its been a pretty solid record of achievement so far with the one stand oput result in 2004 when they came fourth, but they may have to up their game a tad this time around if they are to avoid any glances towards the relegation zone.

13th place last year was about par for the course for the band, but they have shown that they can be inspired on their day when the mood (and the test piece) suits them. If they don't they could be facing a nervous wait for the results to come out.

2006 Form:
Regionals: 2nd (Scotland)
Grand Shield: N/A
European: N/A
Masters: 8th

Pretty good form so far this year with an excellent runners up spot at the Scottish Regional Championships and a hard fought 8th place at the Masters.

Sometimes they try a bit too hard to find the music in the score and that can lead to some self indulgence, but when the muse is with them they are a thrilling outfit. Plenty of quality players around the stand with David Prentice taking over the soprano chair from the effervescent Steve Stewart.

Lots more quality elsewhere and an MD who can blow hotter than most in search of those musical moments of magic. Reports from the camp state that the piece is ‘great stuff…technically very hard but with lots of music. It's an excellent test piece'.  That sounds as if they like it then, so look out.  

Player to listen out for:
David Prentice – A fine cornet player and as he has shown in the past on recordings and the concert stage a very fine high note man too and a bloke who like to enjoy himself. Just the right ingredients to make a top notch sop player then.     

Reg VardyReg Vardy
Ray Farr
4BR Ranking: 12

Principal Cornet: Bryan Tait
Principal Euphonium: Paul Robinson
Soprano Cornet: Tom Glendinning
Solo Trombone: Chris Gomersall
Solo horn: Andrew Hall
Flugel horn: Joanne Winspear
Solo Baritone: Jim Thompson
Eb Bass: Steve Malcolm

Appearances: 31st time
Debut: 1966

Open Record:
No Wins:
No Seconds:
No Thirds:
1 Fourth: 1987
2 Fifths: 1977, 1982
No Sixths:
27 times unplaced.

Last 10 Years:
Conductor and draw

2005: 9th (Ray Farr) (17)
2004: 8th (Ray Farr) (19)
2003: 8th (Ray Farr) (4)
2002: 15th (Ray Farr) (11)
2001: 12th (Ray Farr) (11)
1996 - 2000: DNC
Open Record:
The band made its first appearance at the Open in 1966 after they had won the Grand Shield contest that year as Craghead Colliery conducted by the late Eric Cunningham.

They didn't make an immediate mark though (they changed their name to Ever Ready at the 1969 contest) but they registered two fifth places in 1977 and 1982 and a fourth in 1987 under Eric Cunningham again before dropping out after 1990.

The band returned in 2001 after coming runners up at the Grand Shield and under Ray Farr they have since performed solidly at the contest ever since. In the last three years they have comfortably made it into the top ten and now appear to have their sights on the top six and to try and better their best of fourth place in 1987.

2006 Form:
Regionals: Winners (North of England)
Grand Shield: N/A
European: N/A
Masters: 9th
English National: 6th

The Regional win was expected of course, but it was done with a professionalism that has now become something of a hallmark of the band under Ray Farr. The Masters saw them perform well enough but not really set the stage on fire and their return would have been par for the course.

The English National also saw them play to form and produce yet another solid if a little unspectacular account of themselves. Lots of quality players in the ranks and they welcome back their excellent flugel player Joanne Winspear. Ray Farr always tries to bring something a bit different out of the score and the news from the bandroom is that they are hoping to do well again this year and have been enjoying preparing the piece.

They certainly know Wilby's writing well and this could well be a piece that suits them. A top 10 place could be the least of their ambitions.

Player to listen out for:
Joanne Winspear – A very fine flugel horn player and one who brings a touch of class to whatever she plays.  

RothwellRothwell Temperance
David Roberts
4BR Ranking: 11

Principal Cornet: James McCabe
Principal Euphonium: Andy Marsh
Soprano Cornet: Paul Argyle
Solo Trombone: Andrew White
Solo horn: Catherine Roberts
Flugel horn: John Ward
Solo Baritone: Andy Padgett
Eb Bass: Edward Hodkin

Appearances: 12th time
Debut: 1927

Open Record:
No Wins:
No Seconds: 
No Thirds:
No Fourths: 
1 Fifth: 2005
1 Sixth: 1928
9 times unplaced

Last 10 Years:
Conductor and draw

2005: 5th (David Roberts) (12)
2004: 15th (David Roberts) (14)
1996 - 2003: DNC

Open Record:
An twelfth appearance at the British Open for Rothwell, with their first as long ago as 1927 on "The Merry Wives of Windsor".  The best they had done up until last year was when they came 6th a year after their debut, but subsequent efforts did not lead to another mention from the stage. Their last appearance under the Rothwell name was 1947.

They returned though after a very fine performance at the Grand Shield in 2004 and did more than enough to suggest that they could expect a long tenure at the contest and that was proved last year when they produced a very fine performance to come fifth. More of the same is in no way beyond them and they could well better that too.

2006 Form:
Regionals: 4th (Yorkshire)
Grand Shield: N/A
European: N/A
Masters: Winners
Others: N/A

There can't be another band in the field that will approach the contest with such confidence – and it is not misplaced for sure. Rothwell were excellent at Bradford and secured their place at the Royal Albert Hall in style and then went on to produce a real top-notch effort at Cambridge to win the Masters.

A band that is always well prepared under the astute direction of David Roberts, he also has a fine stable of talented soloists and back up players to call upon too. Reports from the bandroom say they have a settled lineup and have worked well on the preparation of the piece. ‘We've enjoyed it even though it is a tough one' they tell us. Quietly confident – and that's the way they like it. The odds on them doing well are shortening by the day.

Player to listen out for:
Paul Argyle – The new father has been on excellent form all year and has shown himself to be a player of very high class.    

SellersSellers International
Philip McCann
4BR Ranking: 13

Principal Cornet: Iain Culross
Principal Euphonium: Mark Bousie
Soprano Cornet: Gary Bates
Solo Trombone: Rebecca Lundberg
Solo horn: Leah Williams
Flugel horn: Sian Carradus
Solo Baritone: Steve March
Eb Bass: Ben Thomson

Appearances: 15th time
Debut: 1998

Open Record:
No Wins:
No Seconds: 
No Thirds:
No Fourths: 
2 Fifths: 1991, 2004
No Sixths:
12 times unplaced

Last 10 Years:
Conductor and draw

2005: 14th (Philip McCann) (7)
2004: 5th (Philip McCann) (13)
2003: DNC
2002: DNC
2001: DNC
2000: DNC
1999: 17th (Peter Parkes) (21) (rel)
1998: 18th (A. Morrison) (14)
1997: 12th (A. Morrison) (9)
1996: 11th (A. Morrison) (2)

Open Record:
After a few years away from the top table of banding Sellers returned in 2004 and made an excellent mark in coming fifth. Last year though they were not so good and fell away to come 14th, which means they will have to up their game to stave off any fears of the drop back to the Grand Shield.

Only twice in their 14 appearances so far have they made it into the prize frame, but given the talent that Philip McCann has at his disposal, and the interesting way in which he approaches even the most technical of test pieces they should have enough about them they hope to extend their latest tenure at the contest.

2006 Form:
Regionals: 8th (Yorkshire)
Grand Shield: N/A
European: N/A
Masters: 11th
English Nationals: 5th
Others: N/A

Interesting as always. In Bradford they went for it with an interpretation that certainly made you listen and they could count themselves a touch unfortunate to only have come home in 8th place.

The Masters wasn't as good though, even though they tried the same approach whilst the English National saw them revert back to a more traditional approach and one that found them reward.

There is plenty of quality throughout the ranks at Sellers and you have to hand it to the MD – he does take musical risks, which always make for interesting listening. He may have to temper his approach this time around to safeguard against any outside threat of relegation, but if they get it right they could well feature high up in the prize list.

Reports from the bandroom suggest they too like the piece, ‘fiddly and very tough with lots of horrendous technical aspects' we were told, but they are confident of doing well. Ones to listen out for.

Player to listen out for:
Leah Williams – One of the best, and most under rated horn players around. Great sound, solid as a rock under pressure and can play just about anything you put in front of her.    

Scottish Co-opScottish Co-op
Allan Ramsay
4BR Ranking: 9

Principal Cornet: Jim Hayes
Principal Euphonium: Allison Bonner
Soprano Cornet: Caroline Tennant
Solo Trombone: Paul Kiernan
Solo horn: Rachel Love
Flugel horn: Andrea Casey
Solo Baritone: Lyndsay Smith
Eb Bass: John Gawn

Appearances: 19th time
Debut: 1956

Open Record:
No Wins:
No Seconds:
3 Thirds: 1993, 1997, 2004
No Fourths:
No Fifths:
No Sixths:
15 times unplaced.

Last 10 Years:
Conductor and draw

2005: 10th (Frank Renton) (15)
2004: 3rd (Ian McElligott) (13)
2003: 13th (James Scott) (12)
2002: 16th (John Hinckley) (4) (rel)
2001: 12th (James Gourlay) (4)
2000: 11th (Kazuyoshi Uemura) (16)
1999: 9th (Howard Snell) (9)
1998: 12th (Howard Snell) (20)
1997: 3rd (Howard Snell) (5)
1996: 8th (Howard Snell) (15)

Open Record:
The Scottish Co-op returned to the Open in 2003 after tasting relegation in 2002 after a couple of years at the contest where they certainly played below form.

Since then though they have certainly found their feet here, even though this time around will see the eighth new face to take them at the contest in as many years. Last time out it was Frank Renton who dragged a decent enough show from the band to get them into the top 10.

Overall though not a brilliant record here at the Open since they made their debut back in 1956 as CWS Glasgow under E. Clayton, as they have on more than a few occasions been midfield material. One of the few bands to win the Grand Shield twice, they are a band more than capable doing very well here if the partnership clicks.

2006 Form:
Regionals: Winner (Scotland)
Grand Shield: N/A
European: N/A
Masters: 4th
West Lothian: Winners

Promising form. The win at the Areas was well constructed and deserved and they went on to defend their Masters title with a great degree of style, although an expensive error count cost them dear on the day.

Latterly they have won the West Lothian Contest to set themselves up nicely for this weekend and reports from the camp suggest that things have been going along nicely too. ‘It's a fine piece, much harder than it first appears', they tell us, and they are not alone in finding that out we think. They have the raw material in place both in terms of the MD and players and if they do play to form they could well push for honours. 
Player to listen out for:

Allison Bonner - a high quality performer for the Scots for a very long time.  

Andrew Duncan
4BR Ranking: 15

Principal Cornet: Chris Bradley
Principal Euphonium: Richard Kidd
Soprano Cornet: Scott Forest
Solo Trombone: Alex Phillip
Solo horn: Iain Fleming
Flugel horn: Jim Chamberlain
Solo Baritone: Anne Crookston
Eb Bass: Graham Frazer

Appearances: 15th time
Debut: 1971

Open Record:
No Wins:
1 Second: 2003
No Thirds:
No Fourths:
1 Fifth: 2001
No Sixths:
12 times unplaced.

Last 10 Years:
Conductor and draw

2005: 11th (Andrew Duncan) (3)
2004: 13th (Andrew Duncan) (10)
2003: 2nd (Andrew Duncan) (8)
2002: 10th (Philip McCann) (7)
2001: 5th (Philip McCann) (9)
2000: 17th (Philip McCann) (4)
1999: 11th (Philip McCann) (18)
1998: 20th (Archie Hutchison) (3)
1997: 13th (Richard Adams) (8)
1996: 17th (Chris Houlding) (7)

Open Record:
Whitburn first made an appearance at the British Open back in 1971 as Whitburn Burgh directed by A. Fleming, and they appeared sporadically there after up to winning the Grand Shield on "Le Carnival Romain" in 1991 - although they only lasted a year at the contest after that.
1995 saw them regain their place at the Open and since that time they have performed solidly under four different MD's. The highlight would have been the fifth spot on "Les Preludes" under Philip McCann but that was topped by a magnificent performance on "The Planets" that saw them push YBS for top spot and gave their soprano player Gordon Jenkins the soloist prize in 2003.

Andrew Duncan continues at the helm for a fourth year, and he will be hoping for a better return than the 11th place of last year when they again fell foul of a early draw – they don't get a great deal of luck draw wise at majors it must be said.

2006 Form:
Regionals: 3rd (Scotland)
Grand Shield: N/A
European: N/A
Masters: 18th
Land O' Burns: Winners
Capricious. Not too good at the Regionals where they were expected to at last qualify for London but found themselves out in the cold after delivering an error strewn performance, whilst they were abject at Cambridge.

That seemed to be the line in the sand moment for the band though and since then there have been a number of comings and goings and a sense that the good ship Whitburn is firmly back on course. They were very good at the Land O' Burns Contest and with the impressive new signings bedding in nicely they should be confident of making the top 10.

Reports from the bandroom suggest they are working hard on what they describe as, ‘a very tricky piece, challenging to say the least for everyone in the band', but with a fine MD and some top notch players in key positions they should do well – given a decent draw!

Player to listen out for:
Richard Kidd – A superb talent who is really maturing fast into one of the movements best young euphonium players.  

Prof. David King
4BR Ranking: 3

Principal Cornet: Stuart Lingard
Principal Euphonium: Steven Walsh
Soprano Cornet: Bert Van Thienen
Solo Trombone: Andrew King
Solo horn: Sheona White
Flugel horn: Leon Renilson
Solo Baritone: Rob Richardson
Eb Bass: Ken Ferguson

Appearances: 31st time
Debut: 1970

Open Record:
4 Wins: 1997, 1999, 2001, 2003
1 Second: 1989
2 Thirds: 1995, 2005
3 Fourths: 1977, 1981, 1990
1 Fifth: 1973
2 Sixths: 1996, 2000
17 times unplaced.

Last 10 Years:
Conductor and draw

2005: 3rd (David King) (14)
2004: 14th (David King) (8)
2003: Winners (David King) (10)
2002: 9th (David King) (9)
2001: Winners (David King) (10)
2000: 6th (David King) (3)
1999: Winners (David King) (16)
1998: 10th (David King) (8)
1997: Winners (David King) (11)
1996: 6th (David King) (19)

Open Record:
Many people may only think of this band under the YBS title, but under the old name of Hammonds Sauce the band made its debut at the contest as far back as 1970 under the direction of that great character, Geoffrey Whitham. That band came fifth in 1973, fourth in 1977 and fourth again in 1981.

The last hurrah for Hammonds was in 1989 when they came runners up to Kennedy's Swinton but after that things went downhill somewhat and they lost their place at the Open, coming 14th under their new name of Yorkshire Building Society in 1993.

They returned after winning the Grand Shield in 1995 and since then they have been one of the bands to beat here. Each of the four wins though have been followed by disappointing defences of their titles though and their ‘odd year' winning sequence came to an end last year, although they were very good value for their third place.

2006 Form:
Regionals: 3rd
Grand Shield: N/A
European: 5th
Masters: N/A
English Nationals: 9th
Others: N/A

Pretty good with the prospect of getting better and better it seems. YBS have been steadily rebuilding in recent years and are just about back to where they were in the real glory period at the turn of the Millennium.  They put in a fine show at Bradford to come third and book their place at London and also showed a great deal of character and pride in their appearance at the Europeans where they just suffered from fragility in some of the more exposed lines to really win the title.

The English National was an odd one though – a muted but very musical performance that deserved better even off the number 1 draw, but they still had that hint of fragility about them throughout that perhaps also cost dearly. 

Interesting to see the very fine soprano player Bert Van Thienan from Brass Band Willebroek helping a hand out in the only problem seat the band has failed to fill adequately since the departure of Peter Roberts. He is number five, but is a real class act as a one off sub. Meanwhile Andrew King also returns on solo trombone as Jonathon Beatty's wife is expecting her baby any day soon and Leon Renilson continues to dep for Iwan Williams on flugel.

Reports from the camp suggest the band are on good form on ‘a cracking piece – the band really like it' and you do sense Mr King has yet had his fill of winning here just yet.

Player to listen out for:
Bert Van Thienen – A inspired choice as a late sub it seems, but what a player to have to help the cause. A great technician, superb sound and rock steady under pressure. He could provide the missing link to a winning performance here for the band.   

Yorkshire ImpsYorkshire Imperial Urquhart Travel
Chris Houlding
4BR Ranking: 44

Principal Cornet: Alan Fowler
Principal Euphonium: Bill Lyon
Soprano Cornet: Richard Hanson
Solo Trombone: Richard Taylor
Solo horn: Simon Thewliss
Flugel horn: Martin Trowmans
Solo Baritone: Stephane Rogers
Eb Bass: Ron Davies

Appearances: 60th time
Debut: 1938

Open Record:
3 Wins: 1970, 1971, 1980
1 Second: 1966
2 Thirds: 1962, 1975
4 Fourths: 1967, 1973, 1974, 1978
2 Fifths: 1965, 1994
3 Sixths: 1943, 1972, 1979
44 times unplaced

Last 10 Years:
Conductor and draw

2005: DNC
2004: 17th (John Hinckley) (3)
2003: 10th (David Evans) (7)
2002: 7th (David Evans) (14)
2001: 14th (David Evans) (16)
2000: 18th (Thomas Wyss) (2)
1999: 15th (Thomas Wyss) (1)
1998: DNC
1997: DNC
1996: 22nd (Alan Exley) (4) (rel)
Open Record:
A somewhat belated 60th appearance for the "Imps" this year after all the fuss and bother of last year. They made their debut in 1938 as Yorkshire Copperworks conducted by William Halliwell and since then they have won the title on three occasions - including the Trevor Walmsley "Double" in 1970 and 1971 and the John Pryce -Jones victory of 1980.

Up until then they were real contenders each year, but since that time they have only once reached the top 6 in 1994 - off number 1 no less. Organisational changes (and some rubbish draws) have played their part and they fell away to come 22nd in 1996 and get relegated. They returned in 1999 as a combined band with Rothwell, but since then they have reverted once more to their traditional name.

They return though determined to hang on to their position ayt the contest, but they will have to pull the stops out a bit as they carry a provisional last place into the contest and relegation fears with three going down could well be a worry.

2006 Form:
Regionals: 10th
Grand Shield: N/A
European: N/A
Masters: N/A
Others: N/A

OK it seems, although it may be a bit hard to tell as they haven't really been that busy on the contest stage this year. They were decent enough at Bradford, but with the advent of a new resident in the experienced Derek Renshaw and the return of Chris Houlding to front them they should be confident of more than holding their own this time out.

Plenty of quality and experience around the stands too, so if they can get a decent draw and play to form they should be able to look forward to another appearance here at least next year.

Player to listen out for:
Alan Fowler - Been around a good while now and is playing as well as ever. A fine soloist and band leader.


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