2009 English National Championship - Runners & Riders


14 top bands, but only one place up for grabs. 4BR looks at the contenders this year for the trip to Linz in 2010.

Black DykeBlack Dyke
4BR Ranking:
Conductor: Dr Nicholas Childs

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: Richard Marshall
Principal Euphonium: David Thornton
Soprano Cornet: Paul Duffy
Solo Trombone: Brett Baker
Solo Horn: Sandy Smith
Flugel: Alex Kerwin
Baritone: Gareth Brindle
Eb Tuba: Joe Cook
Bb Tuba: Matt Routley

Appearances: 2
Debut: 2008

Best Result: 2nd (2008)
Worst Result: 2nd (2008)

Overall Record:
2008: 2nd (N. Childs) (14)
2007: DNQ
2006: DNQ

Last Year: 2nd off the number 14 draw

Form Guide:
Pretty good it must be said. The eight wins that garnered over £9,000 at Whit Friday will come in handy as a down payment on Austrain accomodation if the band can win here, but they will not be taking anything for granted.

They didn’t get a lot of luck at Bradford earlier in the year it must be said, and the cynics and conspiracy theorists will be gunning for them at Preston too – what with that perceived PLC connection. 

That nonense is water off a ducks back though as they know they will have to pull all the stops out to win through. Favourites for certain, but no means dead certs.
4BR Player to watch out for:  Paul Duffy – the soprano player has matured into a real class act and could be the band’s trump card.   

BrighouseBrighouse and Rastrick
4BR Ranking:
Conductor: Allan Withington

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: Stephen Wilkinson
Principal Euphonium: Michael Howley
Soprano Cornet: Martin Irwin
Solo Trombone: Chriss Gomersall
Solo Horn: Daniel Powell
Flugel: John Lee
Baritone: Leigh Baker
Eb Tuba: Shaun Crowther
Bb Tuba: Simon Gresswell

Appearances: 4th time
Debut: 2006

Best Result: 2nd (2006)
Worst Result: 4th (2007)

Overall Record:
2008: 3rd (A. Morrison) (13)
2007: 4th (A. Morrison) (6)
2006: 2nd (I. McElligott) (6)

Last Year: 3rd from number 13 draw

Form Guide:
As football commentator Barry Davies once said of the great Francis Lee before he popped one into the back of the old onion bag for Derby County -  interesting, very interesting.

All the talk had been about David King’s appointment with the band, but the way in which they acted so swiftly to bag Allan Wihtington shows that the lads from West Riding are on a contesting mission.

They have done well here of late, and were a little unlucky at Bradford earlier this season. This though could be their year – and a Withington hat trick that not even Franny Lee himself could have bettered.   
4BR Player to watch out for: Michael Howley on euphonium personifies everything that is B&R. Some player too.    

CarltonCarlton Main Frickley Colliery
4BR Ranking:
Conductor: Russell Gray 

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: Kirsty Abbotts
Principal Euphonium: Toni Howden
Soprano: Gary Bates
Solo Horn: Leah Williams
Flugel: Sian Carradus
Solo Trombone: Becky Lundberg
Baritone: Bob Archer
Eb Tuba: Ben Dixon
Bb Tuba: Ray Sykes MBE

Appearances: 3rd time
Debut: 2007

Best Result: 8th (2007)
Worst Result: 13th (2008)

Overall Record:
2008: 13th (R. Gray) (7)
2007: 8th (F. Renton) (2)
2006: DNQ

Last Year: 13th from number 7 draw

Form Guide:
Mercurial. On their day Carlton Main have all the tools in the locker to force their way right into the mix at this contest – with high class performers all around the stands.

At the helm they have a man who can unpick the most complex musical lock too – but at times he does wear his heart on his sleeve in doing it.

If they click (and they haven’t done so quite yet this year) then a top six finish or better should be in their grasp. If they opt for indulgence though the alarm bells could be ringing. 

4BR Player to watch out for: Leah Williams is a high class horn player who brings a real touch of quality to everything she plays. A key ingredient to the bands potential for success. 

4BR Ranking:
Conductor: Philip Chalk 

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: Laura Hirst
Principal Euphonium: Mark Bousie
Soprano Cornet: Nick Walkley
Solo Trombone: Richard Brown
Solo Horn: Andrew Oetegenn
Flugel: Lucy Murphy
Baritone: Katie Raisbeck
Eb Tuba: Mick Morris
Bb Tuba: Owen Garbutt

Appearances: 4th time
Debut: 2006

Best Result: 4th (2006)
Worst Result: 9th (2007 & 2008)

Overall Record:
2008: 9th (P. Chalk) (2)
2007: 9th (P. Parkes) (9)
2006: 4th (S. Stonehouse) (14)

Last Year: 9th off number 2 draw

Form Guide:
Coming to the boil nicely? Fairey has been going about its effective rebuilding work under the baton of Phil Chalk for some time now – and the signs are that the process is just about complete.

There is now a well balanced mix of talented young performers and older heads in key positions in the band, and the MDs eminently sensible approach to contest performances is a real bonus too.

They haven’t quite set the contest stage on fire yet, but each time you hear them they seem to be getting closer to lighting the blue touch paper.  This could well be the moment they finally burn off the opposition at a major contest.

4BR Player to watch out for: Richard Brown – a superb trombone performer who oozes class. A major player for the band on the weekend.       

4BR Ranking:
Conductor: Paul Holland 

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: Chris Howley
Principal Euphonium: Andy Hicks
Soprano: Paul Eddy
Solo Horn: Phil Randall
Flugel: Danny Winder
Solo Trombone: Rob Marsh
Baritone: Carolyn Chandler
Eb Tuba: Phil Green
Bb Tuba: Steve Gittings

Appearances: 4th time
Debut: 2006

Best Result: 3rd (2007)
Worst Result: 12th (2008)

Overall Record:
2008: 12th (P. Harper) (12)
2007: 3rd (P. Harper) (14)
2006: 8th (P. Harper) (11)

Last Year: 12th off number 12 draw

Form Guide:
A band that in the past has literally blown hot or cold, Flowers has become something of a beacon of solid consistency of late – and are all the better for it.

A good win at Yeovil has been backed up by a fine qualification showing at Torquay and a near miss at the Grand Shield.

Whilst they haven’t quite done enough to suggest that they are quite in the form to push for a podium place as they did in 2007, some astute recent signings and an exciting conducting talent at the helm could see them as something of a dark horse. No ‘time for a cup of tea’ band then.

4BR Player to watch out for: Phil Green – or ‘Evergreen’ as he may now be called. There will not be too many Eb tuba players in this blokes class this weekend.  

4BR Ranking:
Conductor: Garry Cutt 

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: Mark Wilkinson
Principal Euphonium: Glyn Williams
Soprano: Alan Wycherley
Solo Horn: Lesley Howie
Flugel: Helen Fox
Solo Trombone: Andreas Kratz
Baritone: Natsumi Inaba
Eb Tuba: Les Neish
Bb Tuba: Derek Jackson

Appearances: 4th time
Debut: 2006

Best Result: Winners (2006)
Worst Result: 6th (2007)

Overall Record:
2008: 5th (G. Cutt) (10)
2007: 6th (G. Cutt) (8)
2006: Winners (G. Cutt) (10)

Last Year: 5th off number 10 draw

Form Guide:
If you are looking for a whale analogy to describe Fodens, then the North West leviathans will take some stopping if they hit top form once again this season.

Formidable at Blackpool, quite stunning at Cambridge, rapacioulsy effective on Whit Friday. Garry Cutt has one heck of a band under his command at the moment, and even without a first team trombone section they will surely be in at the sharp end come the results.

Look around ths stands and you can hear why they are the such a brilliant outfit at present. A second win here and a trip to Austria next year could very well be on the cards.  
4BR Player to watch out for: Glyn Williams – no euphonium player is playing better than the Welshman at present.  

HammondsHammonds Saltaire
4BR Ranking:
Conductor: Morgan Griffiths 

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: JJ Lees
Principal Euphonium: Mike Kilroy
Soprano Cornet: Benjamin Richeton
Solo Trombone: Dan James
Solo horn: Helen Varley
Flugel horn: Martin Tromans
Baritone: Michael Walsh
Eb Tuba: Luke James
Bb Tuba: Jonny Cowan

Appearances: 4th time
Debut: 2006

Best Result: 9th (2006)
Worst Result: 12th (2007)

Overall Record:
2008: 11th (M. Griffiths) (6)
2007: 12th (R. Evans) (1)
2006: 9th (D. King) (1)

Last Year: 11th off number 6 draw

Form Guide:
Unknown. Hammonds has been through so many changes of late in their long term rebuilding plans that it is hard to really pin point just where they stand at present.

They were more than a little unlucky at Bradford earlier in the season for sure, but there have been rumours that they have been finding it hard to find players of  sufficient quality to keep the rebuilding process on track of late too.

Morgan Griffiths is a talented and committed MD, but without the right tools to use at this level, their assault could be blunted before a note is blown.        
4BR Player to watch out for: JJ Lees – Good to see this very talented cornet player making a return to top flight playing.  

HepworthHepworth (Cookson Homes)
4BR Ranking:
Conductor: Ian Porthouse

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: Nicholas Payne
Principal Euphonium: James Fieldhouse
Soprano: Mark Smedley
Solo Horn: Rebecca Landon
Flugel: David Moore
Solo Trombone: Yvonne Embury
Baritone: Carole Crompton
Eb Tuba: Simon Moffat
Bb Tuba: Andy Lincoln

Appearances: 4th time
Debut: 2006

Best Result: 2nd (2007)
Worst Result: 7th (2006)

Overall Record:
2008: 6th (I. Porthouse) (4)
2007: 2nd (M. Bentham) (15)
2006: 7th (M. Bentham) (7)

Last Year: 6th off number 4 draw

Form Guide:
Highly encouraging. After a season or two when they seemed to have stalled in their development, Hepworth are right back on track – as shown at Butlins and St George’s Hall this year.

The association with Ian Porthouse is working very well indeed and they will be fancying their chances of claiming a third successive top six finish or better here if they can maintain their current form.

Lots of quality around the stands and no lack of self confidence either – this could be a piece that suits them very well indeed.

4BR Player to watch out for: James Fieldhouse – a multi talented musician who is building an enviable reputation for himself on euphonium.      

4BR Ranking:
Conductor: Jason Katsikaris 

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: Leon Renilson
Principal Euphonium: Brenden Wheeler
Soprano Cornet: Matthew Balson
Solo Trombone: Daniel Brooks
Solo Horn: Kate Eggleshaw
Flugel: Nicky Longden
Baritone: Katrina Marzella
Eb Tuba: Chris Doran
Bb Tuba: Bill Carter

Appearances: 4th time
Debut: 2006

Best Result: 3rd (2006)
Worst Result: 8th (2008)

Overall Record:
2008: 8th (J. Katsikaris) (5)
2007: 5th (R. Gray) (7)
2006: 3rd (R. Gray) (5)

Last Year: 8th off number 5 draw

Form Guide:
Determined. Determined to put behind them that stupendously unlucky result at the North West Areas that is.  How they came where they did at Blackpool in March was a mystery all right – and so they have one heck of a point to prove here then.  

Under Jason Katsikaris the band has become one heck of an exciting proposition on both the contest and concert stage, and if their brand of adrenaline fired performance does click in the box, they could well walk this contest with something to spare.

On another day though… 
4BR Player to watch out for: Matthew Balson on soprano nowadays sums up the way in which band plays to a tee.    

Mount CharlesMount Charles
4BR Ranking:
Conductor: Andrew Duncan 

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: Ian Thomas
Solo Euphonium: Neil Pascoe
Solo Horn: Sarah Whitehead
Soprano: John Small
Flugel: Tim Whitehead
Solo Trombone: Martin Saunders
Baritone: Terry Sleeman
Eb Tuba: Shaun Woodland
Bb Tuba: Alistair Whitehead

Appearances: 4th time
Debut: 2006

Best Result:  4th (2008)
Worst Result: 15th (2007)

Overall Record:
2008: 4th (A. Duncan) (9)
2007: 15th (A. Duncan) (10)
2006: 11th (N. Weeks) (12)

Last Year: 4th off number 9 draw

Form Guide:
Looking for a lightening bolt to strike again? Mount Charles can be an odd old band at times. Off colour at Yeovil and Torquay they then plonked in a cracker at the Grand Shield. What band will turn up here we wonder?

Last year they deservedly took 4th spot with a super show that could have come higher, and with confidence high after Blackpool they should make the long trip north hopeful of a decent return.

MD Andy Duncan is a very talented musicain and there is plenty of quality around the stands too. All they now have to do is find that lightening rod .

4BR Player to watch out for: Tim Whitehead on flugel is a real class act.   

4BR Ranking:
Conductor: Jeremy Wise

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: Ralph Brill
Principal Euphonium: Robert Richardson
Soprano Cornet: Bob Stradling
Solo Trombone: Harry Eustace
Solo Horn: Megan Morgan
Flugel: Alan Roberts
Baritone: Colin Leggett
Eb Tuba: Chris Bearman
Bb Tuba: Graham Patterson

Appearances: 3rd time
Debut: 2006

Best Result: 10th (2006)
Worst Result: 14th (2008)

Overall Record:
2008: 14th (J. Wise) (3)
2007: DNC
2006: 10th (M. White) (8)

Last Year: 14th off number 3 draw

Form Guide:
On the wane? Redbridge couldn’t put a musical foot wrong earlier in the season – winning Butlins and romping home at Stevenage. Now they can’t buy a result it seems.

How they have lost that Midas touch is a bit of a mystery as they have one of the most intuitively musical MDs at the helm and plenty of talent around the stands – but they were very ordinary at Blackpool and Cambridge – very ordinary indeed.

This could be a real test of their mettle then – a return to the form that promised so much or another step back into the midfield quagmire of mediocrity that they so impressively jumped out of earlier in the year. 

4BR Player to watch out for:  Robert Richardson - the former baritone star is now making a real mark on euphonium.  

rEG vARDYReg Vardy
4BR Ranking:
Conductor: Ray Farr

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: Jim Hayes
Principal Euphonium: Paul Robinson
Soprano: Tom Glendinning
Solo Horn: Andrew Hall
Flugel: Joanne Winspear
Solo Trombone: Chris Bentham
Baritone: Laura Boyle
Eb Tuba: Steve Malcolm
Bb Tuba: Alistair Storey

Appearances: 4th time
Debut: 2006

Best Result: 6th (2006)
Worst Result: 11th (2007)

Overall Record:
2008: 10th (S. Malcolm) (15)
2007: 11th (R. Farr) (3)
2006: 6th (R. Farr) (4)

Last Year: 10th off number 15 draw

Form Guide:
Encouraging. Reg Vardy are getting there – slowly, but surely.

For every two steps forward they are still taking the odd one back here and there (at the Masters they started in reverse and ended up in thrilling full throttle mode) and they just need to maintain a solid sense of consistency if they are to force their way into the prizes here again.

Last year can be written off due to unforseen circumstances, but they will know that they canot afford a slow start (Masters) or unforced errors (Grand Shield and Areas) if they are to post a strong challenge.

As we said though – they are getting there…
4BR Player to watch out for: Jim Hayes is a high class cornet player who always leads impressively from the front.     

4BR Ranking:
Conductor: Alan Morrison 

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: Andy MacDonald
Flugel: Kirsten Broadhurst
Solo Euphonium: Gary Curtin
Solo Trombone: Beth Calderbank
Solo Horn: Lucy Pankhurst
Baritone: N/K
Eb Tuba: Ben Thomson
Bb Tuba: Mark Hart

Appearances: Debut
Debut: 2009

Best Result: N/A
Worst Result: N/A

Overall Record:

Last Year: N/A

Form Guide:
Full to the brim with confidence. After their fine podium finish at the Masters, Wingates can’t wait to try their luck here.

Earlier in the season the band showed plenty of promise without real reward for their efforts, but the experience gained at Butlins (7th), the Area (5th) and Grand Shield (14th) was focussed with such single minded determination at the Corn Exchange. 

This is a big ask though, but with talent around the stands and a fine MD at the helm, they will be looking to take quite a few scalps for certain. 
4BR Player to watch out for: Andy MacDonald on solo cornet is a fine performer - neat and unobtrusive, yet commanding when he needs to be.   

Yorkshire ImpsYorkshire Imperial Urquhart Travel
4BR Ranking:
Conductor: David Evans 

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: Alan Fowler
Principal Euphonium: Adrian Nurney
Soprano: Geoff Hawley
Solo Horn: Laura Brown
Flugel: Ginnette Baker
Solo Trombone: Richard Taylor
Baritone: Darren Sunderland
Eb Tuba: Jack Adler-McKeen
Bb Tuba: Gordon Eddison

Appearances: Debut
Debut: 2009

Best Result: N/A
Worst Result: N/A

Overall Record:

Last Year: N/A

Form Guide:
Unknown – and we really do mean that.

There have been rumours and whipsers about Imps and their future now for some time, and even with less than a week to go before the contest it seems they have been leading something of a nomadic existence.

What standard of band they can field here under David Evans is anyone’s guess, but if they do make it to the starting tape (and they dropped out of the Grand Shield remember) they deserve praise and encouragement – and quite a few fingers crossed. They were OK at Bradford and there was a glimpse of a fighting sprit too.

That though doesn’t get you results. And they may well find that out come Saturday.  

4BR Player to watch out for:   Alan Fowler - a top man of top class.


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