2008 Midlands Regional Championship - First Section: Runners & Riders


A large old field of 18 bands will have to battle against a very difficult set work if they are to eventually set sail for Harrogate in September.

Saturday 8th March
Adjudicator: John Roberts & Kevin Wadsworth
Test Piece: James Cook – Circumnavigator – Gilbert Vinter
Commences: 11.00am

Bedworth Brass
Stephen Tighe

Last 11 Years:
2007: 12th (C. Randle)
2006: 8th (C. Randle)
2005: 2nd (C. Randle)
2004: 13th (D. Williams)
2003: 10th (D. Williams)
2002: 6th
2001: 16th
2000: 2nd in Second Section (prom)
1999: 15th
1998: Winners of Second Section
1997: N/K 

The experienced Stephen Tighe takes over the reins at Bedworth this year and he will be looking to reverse the bands fortunes at the contest - the last two years have seen them drop from 2nd in 2005 to 12th last year.

The band has certainly been busy in the contesting field with varying degrees of sucess of late: They were 4th at the Leicester Contest, 15th at Pontins, winners at Derby and 16th Butlins - a mix bag if ever there was one. What then will they bring here could be anyone's guess.

Brackley & District
D. Richards

Last 11 Years:
2007: 9th (J. Glynn)
2006: 11th (J. Glynn)
2005: 6th (J. Glynn)
2004: 7th (J. Glynn)
2003: 9th (J. Glynn)
2002: 3rd in Second Section (prom)
2001: 6th
2000: 4th
1999: 12th
1998: 4th
1997: 14th 

Brackley has been pretty quiet of late, but they will want to make some sort of impression back at this contest after a couple of years in which they have been a little off the pace.

9th last year was an improvement on 2006 and they did come 5th at the West Midlands contest late last year under MD Dave Richards. A repeat of that result here would do very nicely indeed, but they are up against a strong field of rivals all out to gain a qualification place at Harrogate, so a top six may be more realistic a goal.

CarltonCarlton Brass
W. Ritchie BEM 

Last 11 Years:
2007: 3rd in Second Section (W. Ritchie) (prom)
2006: 3rd (T. Wilson)
2005: 3rd (T. Wilson)
2004: 13th (T. Wilson)
2003: 2nd in Third Section (prom) (T. Wilson)
2002: 2nd (T. Wilson)
2001: Winners of Fourth Section (prom) (T. Wilson)
2000: 5th (N/K)
1999: 21st
1998: DNC
1997: DNC  

Carlton continue to make solid progress up through the sections, and Walter Ritchie has done a fine job since taking over the baton from Tony Wilson. 

3rd in the Second Section last year may have meant that they just missed out on a trip to Harrogate but it was still enough to secure promotion. In the meantime they have won the Leicetser Contest, come 3rd at the West Midlands event and most recently 9th at Butlins, so they should be in pretty good shape as they take to the stage here.

ForestersForesters Brass 2000
Peter Collins 

Last 11 Years:
2007: 6th (P. Collins)
2006: Winners of Second Section (P. Collins) (prom)
2005: 4th (P. Collins)
2004: 12th (P. Collins)
2003: 4th (L. Baker) (prom)
2002: 7th (D. Blakeson)
2001: Winners of Third Section (D. Blakeson)
2000: 3rd in Fourth Section (N/K) (prom)
1999: 11th
1998: DNC
1997: DNC  

Peter Collins and Foresters Brass did a real good job last year when on their first appearance here they delivered a solid show in coming 6th. 

Since then they have gone on to come 5th at Leicester and more recently 10th at Butlins, so they are fully aware of just what it takes to push for a top six place again come the final results.

Foss Dyke
J. Davis 

Last 11 Years:
2007: DNC
2006: Winners (G. Wyatt)
2005: 9th (W. Ritchie)
2004: 8th (W. Ritchie)
2003: 6th (W. Ritchie)
2002: DNC
2001: 12th Championship (rel)
2000: 8th (prom)
1999: 6th
1998: 5th
1997: 16th

Nice to report the return of Foss Dyke to the contesting arena, especially after they failed to make it to the starting tape last year.

There have been plenty of changes since their fine win here in 2006, but the appointment of John Davis could signal a competitive return especially after they came 7th at Leicester and then runner up at Derby just a couple of months ago. Perhaps a dark horse bet? 

glossopGlossop Old
Jon Davies
Last 11 Years:

2007: 5th (J. Davies)
2006: 4th (J. Davies)
2005: DNC (rel)
2004: 13th in Championship Section (J. Cant)
2003: 7th (J. Cant)
2002: 6th
2001: 10th
2000: 4th
1999: 3rd
1998: 4th
1997: 2nd  

Glossop Old looks like it is returning to the type of form that could well see them push for a qualification place and a possible return to the Championship Section. 

Jon Davies has done a fine job with the band in the last couple of years and the time could ust be right for them to push on for Harrogate and beyond.

gresleyGresley Colliery
David Hirst

Last 11 Years:
2007: Winners (R. Grantham)
2006: 10th (D. Hutchinson)
2005: 13th (D. Hutchinson)
2004: 11th (D. Hutchinson)
2003: 3rd (D. Hutchinson)
2002: 17th
2001: 8th
2000: 16th
1999: 17th
1998: 9th in Second Section (prom)
1997: 2nd 

Last year's winners return hoping to make it two out of two and hold into their title that they won so splendidly last year.

That victory saw them head for Harrogate where they put in a solid account to come 13th under David Hirst, whilst in recent months they came 14th at Butlins. They may have to up their form a bit from that then if they are to be booking  B&B in North Yorkshire come September once more.

Dave Newman

Last 11 Years:
2007: 11th (D. Newman)
2006: 15th (D. Newman)
2005: 11th (D. Newman)
2004: Winners of Second Section (D. Newman) (prom)
2003: 16th in First Section (rel) (R. Evans)
2002: 13th
2001: 9th
2000: 9th
1999: 7th
1998: 12th in Championship Section (rel)
1997: 9th 

Dave Newman and Hathern has been holding its own in the middle reaches of the results table here in the past few years and came 11th last time out. 

That's OK, but we are sure they will now be looking to see if they can push on and claim a top ten or even top six place and take another step towards regaining the championship status they last enjoyed a decade ago.

BlidworthHopkins Solicitors Blidworth
Kevin Steward

Last 11 Years:
2007: 16th (G. Hawley)
2006: 2nd in Second Section (G. Hawley) (prom)
2005: 9th (G. Hawley)
2004: 6th (G.Hawley)
2003: 9th (G. Hawley)
2002: 10th (M.Wardle)
2001: 5th (K. Wardle)
2000: 12th (N/K)
1999: 8th
1998: 18th in First Section (rel)
1997: 17th  

Kevin Steward will continue his fine work with the legal eagles of Blidworth, although they will be looking to up their form from the 16th place they had to settle for last time out.

They will certainly have to to do that though if they are not to be relegated, as they came 23rd at Butlins just a few months ago under the direction of Simon Kerwin. A good result is needed then to stop their First Section status being repossessed.

IbstockIbstock Brick Brass
Ken Ferguson

Last 11 Years:
2007: 8th (G. Sutton)
2006: 14th (D. Jones)
2005: 7th (D. Jones)
2004: 14th (D. Jones)
2003: 11th (P. Northey)
2002: 11th
2001: 10th
2000: Winners of Second Section (prom)
1999: 3rd
1998: 10th
1997: 15th 

The late departure of Graham Sutton from the band means that tuba star Ken Ferguson takes over the reins at Ibstock for the contest. 

How that will pan out is anyone's guess, but he does inherit a band that came 10th at Pontins late last year, as well as 7th at Leicester. 24th at Butlins though was a major disappointment for a band that seemed to be starting to come back into form.  Could be interesting then.


JackfieldJackfield Elcock Reisen
John Maines

Last 11 Years:
2007: 3rd (J. Maines)
2006: 11th in Championship Section (J. Maines) (rel)
2005: 4th in First Section (I. Viney) (prom)
2004: 4th (C. Lewis)
2003: 12th in Championship Section (C. Lewis) (rel)
2002: 5th in First Section (prom)
2001: 3rd
2000: 10th
1999: 16th 
1998: 3rd
1997: 12th  

The experienced John Maines continues to enjoy his conducting at Jackfield and the results are pretty good too. 

3rd last year meant a trip to Harrogate where they eventually came 14th, whilst they also did well in coming 5th at Pontins. Not so good at Butlins where they came 15th but they should still be one of the fancied bands here to push for a return trip to North Yorkshire if they recapture last year's form.    

Cliff Parker 

Last 11 Years:
2007: 11th in Championship Section (C. Parker) (rel)
2006: 10th (C. Parker)
2005: 5th in First Section (C. Parker) (prom)
2004: Winners of First Section (C. Parker)
2003: 6th in Second Section (M. Vause) (prom)
2002: Winners of Second Section
2001: 15th in First Section (rel)
2000: 17th
1999: 19th
1998: 4th
1997: 13th 

Langley drop down from the Championship Section after coming 11th last year and they may feel less pressured here this time around in a section they won in 2004. 

Cliff Parker continues to provide excellent direction from the podium and with a good core of experienced players to call on they should fancy their chances even though they came 18th at Pontins on their last contest appearance - although that too was in the top section.

PhoenixPhoenix West Midlands Brass
David Maplestone

Last 11 Years:
2007: Winners of Second Section (D. Maplestone) (prom)
2006: 8th (D. Bishop-Rowe)
2005: Winners of Third Section (D. Bishop Rowe) (prom)
2004: 5th (D. Bishop Rowe)
2003: Winners of Fourth Section (D. Bishop Rowe) (prom)
2002: 4th
2001: DNC
2000: DNC  

If the from book follows the history book then a good solid performance should be on the cards for Phoenix before they win this section next year - what a fine fine record they have here in the past few years. 

Last year's victory saw them take a very fine 3rd place in Harrogate and they will surely be confident of more than holding their own. 2nd place at the West Midland Contest may not be a great indicator though as that was in the Second Section, but we don't think they will struggle to much if they play to that all important form.

ShirlandShirland Welfare Training
Marie Smith

Last 11 Years:
2007: 17th (M. Smith)
2006: 7th in Second Section (M. Smith) (prom)
2005: Winners of Second Section (M. Smith)
2004: Winners Third Section (M. Smith) (prom)
2003: 8th (M. Smith)
2002: 5th
2001: 2nd in Fourth Section (prom)
2000: 9th
1999: 13th
1998: DNC
1997: DNC 

One of the last appearances for Marie Smith with her fantastic band of players. Catch her if you can because they don't make them like this anymore. 

The band did find it hard going last year when they came 17th, but you can be sure they would have learnt form that experience and will be fighting fit come the draw. 3rd at the Derby Contest but 18th at Butlins, it may not be a swan song win but whatever the result it will be a memorable final bow.

ShirleyShirley Band
A. Green

Last 11 Years:
2007: 7th (M. Ford)
2006: 7th (M. Ford)
2005: 8th (D. Lea)
2004: 10th (D. Lea)
2003: Winners of Second Section (D. Lea) (prom)
2002: 2nd
2001: 9th
2000: 19th in First Section (rel)
1999: 13th
1998: 14th
1997: 12th in Championship Section (rel) 

Shirley has been a consistent outfit at this contest over the last few years and have pushed hard for a top six place - just missing out again last year when they came 7th.

Since then they have had a change of MD and came 13th at Pontins, so they know just what it will take to make that final leap towards the possile qualification places.

D. Shutter

Last 11 Years:
2007: 13th (D. Shutter)
2006: 13th (D. Shutter)
2005: 12th (D. Shutter)
2004: 5th (D. Shutter)
2003: 12th (D. Shutter)
2002: 10th
2001: 2nd in Second Section (prom)
2000: 7th
1999: 10th
1998: 18th in First Section (rel)
1997: DNC 

David Shutter and his band has been holding its own with admirable consistency in the last few years and came 13th once more last year.

That has been roughly the story of their life since gaining promotion in 2002, but there were signs at Pontins where they came 9th that perhaps they are finally ready to take the next step up and push hard for a top six place or even a qualification spot.

Towcester Studio
H. Thomas

Last 11 Years:
2007: 15th (B. Johnson)
2006: DNC (rel)
2005: 11th in Championship Section (A. Sellers)
2004: 3rd in First Section (A. Sellers) (prom)
2003: 7th (A. Sellers)
2002: 4th (A. Sellers)
2001: Winners of Second Section (A. Sellers) (prom)
2000: 8th (A. Sellers)
1999: 7th in First Section (rel)
1998: 16th
1997: 18th  

Things haven't quite been the same for Towcester since the departure of Adele Sellers and on their return to the contest last year they found it pretty hard going and could only manage 15th place.

A good result is needed them to avoid any potential relegation threat and they know that they will have to up their form from coming 6th at the Leicester Contest if they are to do just that. Fingers crossed then that the good times are just around the corner once more.

WigstonWigston Band
Garry Sleath

Last 11 Years:
2007: 10th (G. Sleath)
2006: 4th in Second Section (G. Sleath) (prom)
2005: 2nd (G. Sleath)
2004: 15th in First Section (G. Sleath) (rel)
2003: 15th (G. Sleath)
2002: 5th in Second Section (prom)
2001: 4th
2000: 9th
1999: 16th
1998: 14th
1997: 13th 

Garry Sleath and Wigston have been bobbing up and down between the First and Seocnd Section in recent years, and they may need a decent return this weekend of they are to avoid a second releagtion back there in five years.

Hopefully they will be able to build on last year's 10th place as well as the 6th place at the West Midlands Contest and secure their long term future in the higher division. 


Past Qualifiers:

2007: Gresley Colliery, Derwent Brass, Jackfield (Elcock Reisen)
2006: Foss Dyke, Kibworth, Riddings
2005: Raunds Tempeance, Bedworth Brass
2004: Langley, Riddings
2003: Kibworth, Riddings, Gresley Old Hall
2002: Staffordshire, City of Coventry, Derwent Brass
2001: Kibworth, Ratby Co-operative
2000: Ratby Co-operative, Thoresby Colliery
1999: Kibworth, Riddings
1998: Thorntons Brass, Unity Brass
1997: Ratby Co-operative, Glossop Old, Thorntons Brass
1996: Glossop Old, Hathern, Enderby
1995: Rolls Royce (Coventry), Kibworth
1994: Ancient Order of Foresters, Rolls Royce (Coventry)  

Midlands Bands at the Finals:

2007: 4th, 13th, 14th
2006: 1st, 6th, 14th
2005: 13th, 17th
2004: 15th, 17th
2003: 7th, 9th
2002: 1st, 4th, 6th
2001: 5th, 10th
2000: 1st, 5th
1999: 8th, 9th
1998: 12th, 13th   

4BR Prediction:

A hard one to call. This could turn out to be a really close run contest between a handful of well matched bands. John Roberts and Kevin Wadsworth will have had plenty of experience on this piece already and will know its pitfalls well enough, so the bands shouldn't have any cause for complaint come the results. 

Of the bands we think should be in with a real chance if they play to form it could be the likes of Foresters Brass, Jackfield and Gresley battling it out for the qualification places, closely followed by Langley, Phoenix and Shirley. Our darkest of dark horses are Foss Dyke.

1. Forresters Brass
2. Jackfield (Elcock Reisen)
3. Gresley
4. Langley
5. Phoenix West Midlands
6. Shirley

Dark Horse: Foss Dyke


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