2010 Midlands Regional Championship - Championship Section: Runners & Riders


There is no place in the UK quite as full of English Heritage as the Midlands...

Civic HallSunday 14th March
Civic Hall
Adjudicator: David Read MBE & Dr Robert Childs
Test Piece: English Heritage (George Lloyd)
Draw: 12.00 noon
Commences: After Second Section results

As English Heritage goes, nowhere in perfidious Albion reeks of it quite like ‘Middle England’.

History has been made here: Battles won and lost, Kings toppled and crowns claimed. They like a good old scrap in these parts.

Once more into the banding breach then…

Area King

The current ‘Area King’ is Desford – as they have been for the last two years, although the musical power behind the throne has been a Welshman in 2008 (Nigel Seaman) and a Scot last year (Russell Gray). Now comes an Englishman (Stephen Roberts) to ensure the Desford diadem of gold isn’t knocked off the old noggin by any of their rivals at Bedworth.  

There was a time of course when the Midlands boasted the King of England too, although the ‘Desfordian Age’ of undisputed power was some time ago now.  In fact, the last time a band from here came close to ultimate victory was back in 2000, when Ransome (who hope to return to this contest in the near future)  made an audacious bid for glory.


Since then it has been pretty miserable pickings in the Kensington Court – just the single top finish in 19 attempts.  Holding onto your crown is hard enough, but winning it is even tougher. Last year’s contenders came 10th and 16th, the year before 10th and 19th, the year before, 10th and 18th. Not exactly serious power brokers eh?

It’s a little bit of a puzzle, as on paper a number of the bands have the quality to mix it with the big boys in London.


Desford is the current Area and Butlins Champion (a rich bauble picked up at Skegness), and produced an uneven show at Brass in Concert although on their day the can deliver performances that belong in the very top drawer of championship section banding. On others though….

They weren’t on tip top form here last year but had enough quality to claim the title, and you sense that if they are in the mood and haven’t left all the essential preparation to the very last minute they should celebrate a hat trick of victories.

With just the two qualification places up for grabs (the last time three bands made it to London was in 2001), there should be a battle royal for who joins them there.

Last year it was Newstead Brass, and Duncan Beckley will once again lead one of the most consistent bands here over the past decade. They will also be determined to return to London after they showed a liking to the old cake tin after coming 10th (six places above Desford) on the day.  They are a band not to be under estimated.

Calling card

Virtuosi GUS last tasted victory in 2004, and they missed out last year after giving one of those infuriatingly inconsistent performances that were in danger of becoming their calling card under John Berryman.

That has now been sorted out (although they still get the occasional lapse) and were decent value for their 4th place at Butlins where they just seemed to be a little undercooked in places. There is a cracking ‘wipe the floor with your rivals’ performance bubbling away in their locker though, and it could well surface this weekend.

Thoresby Colliery was the other band to have an early season run out at Butlins, where they delighted the audience with their entertainment, but didn’t quite tickle the fancy of the judges with their playing in coming 8th overall.


Melvin White has the almost medieval knack of musical alchemy, and can turn base metal into gold when it comes to qualifying for a National Finals (he has 12 Regional titles with 6 different bands to his name). With an improving and confident band to command, they could return to the Albert Hall for the first time since 2001.

Talking of titles: Peter Parkes has more to his name than Idi Amin (including a better claim to being the last King of Scotland too given that he has won that Area title on 8 occasions)

This year he returns to his old hunting ground (he has 5 titles here too in his total of 30) with the rather appropriately named Sovereign Brass. They have been enduring some uneven form of late since winning the Pontins title in 2008, and could only manage a slightly unlucky 7th last year.  They will need to do something a bit special then if they are to give the Major his first area win since 2003.

Ups and downs

Another band that has had a few ups and downs of late has been Jaguar (Coventry), although there were signs last year and at Yeovil earlier this season that Dave Lea has started to mould a competitive unit together once more.

It would be a surprise if they could claim their first trip back to London since 2006, but they won’t be too far away.

Two bands in need of a bit of a boost to morale are Kibworth and Staffordshire, both of whom will know that they will have to take a few scalps if they are not to be drawn into a relegation fight.

Kibworth continues to rebuild under the baton of John Hudson and came a battling 10th last year, whilst Staffordshire, who came 9th at Pontins late last season, are also slowly but surely returning to the form that just a few years ago saw them take the title.

Quiet ones

You always have to watch out for the quiet ones they say, and Glossop Old and Ratby Co-operative has been very quietly going about their business under Phil Pavey and Michael Fowles respectively.

Glossop came 5th last year and should be confident of claiming another top six place if they play to that form again, whilst Ratby will know they have to produce the type of performance that saw them come 4th in 2007 if they are to make a mark.

That just leaves the two promoted bands of Gresley Colliery and Phoenix West Midlands. Phoenix has come a long way in a remarkably short space of time (they were playing in the Fourth Section in 2003) and this is something of a crowning glory this weekend. They came 15th at Harrogate, so will know that they are taking on a huge challenge.

Gresley meanwhile make it to the top flight after an 11-year battle in the First Section. They finally managed to gain promotion after by coming 3rd last year, and although they missed out on a trip to Harrogate, they did travel to North Wales to come 5th at Pontins.

As for a winner?

Desford will not want to find an empty weekend in October to fill and should have enough quality to at least return to London in some comfort if they play to form, whilst GUS should join them if they can just produce a performance without the occasional colly wobble.

Thoresby Colliery could push them all the way though with Newstead not too far behind either, whilst the final top six places could go to any number of contenders, with Sovereign and Jaguar the best placed to make their mark. Our dark horse is Glossop Old.

4BR Prediction:
1. Desford
2. Virtuosi GUS
3. Thoresby Colliery
4. Newstead Welfare
5. Sovereign Brass
6. Jaguar (Coventry)

Dark Horse: Glossop Old

DesfordDesford Colliery
Stephen Roberts
4BR Ranking: 10

Last 13 Years:

2009: Winners (R. Gray)
2008: Winners (N. Seaman)
2007: 2nd (N. Seaman)
2006: 6th (N. Seaman)
2005: 2nd (P. Parkes)
2004: 7th (P. Parkes)
2003: Winners (P. Parkes)
2002: Winners (P. Parkes)
2001: 3rd (P. Parkes)
2000: Winners (P. Parkes)
1999: 2nd
1998: Winners
1997: 3rd

GlossopGlossop Old
Phil Pavey
4BR Ranking: 158
Last 13 Years:
2009: 5th (P. Pavey)
2008: Winners of First Section (J. Davies) (prom)
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

gresleyGresley Colliery
John Durrant
4BR Ranking: Outside top 200

Last 13 Years:
2009: 3rd in First Section (S. Shimwell) (prom)
2008: 10th (D. Hirst)
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

JaguarJaguar (Coventry)
Dave Lea
4BR Ranking: 114  

Last 13 Years:
2009: 6th (D. Lea)
2008: 9th (D. Lea)
2007: 8th (D. Lea)
2006: 2nd (D. Lea)
2005: 3rd (D. Lea)
2004: 6th (D. Lea)
2003: 9th (D. Lea)
2002: 7th (D. Lea)
2001: 7th (D. Lea)
2000: 6th (D. Lea)
1999: 4th
1998: 8th
1997: 4th

John Hudson
4BR Ranking: 126

Last 13 Years:
2009: 10th (J. Hudson)
2008: 6th (J. Wise)
2007: 9th (J. Berryman)
2006: 2nd in First Section (J. Berryman) (prom)
2005: 3rd (J. Berryman)
2004: 11th in Championship Section (J. Berryman)(rel)
2003: Winners of First Section (J. Berryman) (prom)
2002: 8th
2001: Winners of First Section
2000: 12th in Championship Section (rel)
1999: Winners of First Section (prom)
1998: 9th
1997: 4th

NewsteadNewstead Brass
Duncan Beckley
4BR Ranking: 46

Last 13 Years:
2009: 2nd (D. Beckley)
2008: 7th (D. Beckley)
2007: 6th (D. Beckley)
2006: Winners (D. Beckley)
2005: 5th (D. Beckley)
2004: 8th (D. Beckley)
2003: 3rd (D. Beckley)
2002: 4th (D. Beckley)
2001: 11th (D. Beckley)
2000: 5th in First Section (D. Beckley) (prom)
1999: 4th
1998: 10th
1997: Winners of Second Section (prom)

PhoenixPhoenix West Midlands Brass
Wes Kendrick
4BR Ranking: 178

Last 13 Years:
2009: Winners of First Section (D. Maplestone) (prom)
2008: 2nd (D. Maplestone)
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

Ratby Cooperative
Mike Fowles
4BR Ranking: 113
Last 13 Years:
2009: 11th (M. Fowles)
2008: 8th (B. Baker)
2007: 4th (B. Baker)
2006: 8th (M. Winter)
2005: 9th (M. Fowles)
2004: 5th (M. Fowles)
2003: 8th (K. Steward)
2002: 9th (K. Steward)
2001: 2nd in First Section (K. Steward) (prom)
2000: Winners of First Section (K. Steward)
1999: 10th in Championship Section (rel)
1998: 11th
1997: Winners of First Section (prom)

SovereignSovereign Brass
Peter Parkes
4BR Ranking: 65

Last 13 Years:
2009: 7th (P. Parkes)
2008: 3rd (D. Maplestone)
2007: 3rd (T. Jones)
2006: 4th (P. Parkes)
2005: Winners (T. Jones)
2004: 3rd (T. Jones)
2003: 4th (W. Ruston)
2002: 10th (B. Hurdley)
2001: 5th (D. Maplestone)
2000: 5th (S. Cooper)
1999: 7th
1998: 7th
1997: 8th

StaffsStaffordshire Band
Huw Thomas
4BR Ranking: 83

Last 13 Years:
2009: 12th (H. Thomas)
2008: 4th (S. Kerwin)
2007: Winners (D. Maplestone)
2006: 7th (N. Boddice)
2005: 8th (S. Bastable)
2004: 2nd (S. Bastable)
2003: 6th (D. Maplestone)  
2002: Winners of First Section (D. Maplestone) (prom)
2001: 6th (A. Culshaw) (rel)
2000: 11th (A. Culshaw)
1999: 9th
1998: 2nd
1997: 6th

ThoresbyThoresby Colliery
Melvin White
4BR Ranking: 81

Last 13 Years:

2009: 3rd (G. Stevens)
2008: 5th (S. Lippeatt)
2007: 7th (M. Heartfield)
2006: 3rd (M. Heartfield)
2005: 7th (A. Duncan)
2004: 9th (J. Hudson)
2003: 5th (S. Lippeatt)
2002: 3rd (S. Lippeatt)
2001: 2nd (S. Lippeatt)
2000: 2nd in First Section (S. Lippeatt) (prom)
1999: 11th in Championship Section (rel)
1998: 10th
1997: 7th

GUSVirtuosi GUS
John Berryman
4BR Ranking: 26

Last 13 Years:
2009: 4th (J. Berryman)
2008: 2nd (J. Berryman)
2007: 5th (D. Stowell)
2006: 5th (D. Stowell)
2005: 4th (D. Stowell)
2004: Winners (D. Stowell)
2003: 11th (R. Gray)
2002: 2nd (B. Grant)
2001: Winners (F. Renton)
2000: 3rd (M. White)
1999: 5th
1998: 5th
1997: 8th

Past Qualifiers:

2009: Desford Colliery, Newsetad Welfare
2008: Desford Colliery, Virtuosi GUS
2007: Staffordshire, Desford Colliery
2006: Newstead Welfare, Jaguar (Coventry)
2005: Woolley Pritchard Sovereign, Desford Colliery
2004: Travelsphere Holidays, Staffordshire
2003: Desford Colliery, Ransome
2002: Desford Colliery, Travelsphere Holidays
2001: Travelsphere Holidays, Thoresby Colliery
2000: Desford Colliery, NSK-RHP Ransome
1999: NSK-RHP Ransome, Desford Colliery
1998: Desford Colliery, Staffordshire Building Society
1997: NSK-RHP Ransome, Rhodian Brass
1996: Rigid Containers, Rhodian Brass, Desford Colliery*
1995: Desford Colliery, Rigid Containers
1994: William Davis Construction, Thoresby Colliery, Rigid Containers
 *Pre Qualified 

Midlands bands at London:

2009: 10th, 16th
2008: 10th, 19th
2007: 10th, 18th
2006: 15th, 17th
2005: 9th, 12th
2004: 6th, 13th
2003: 7th, 10th
2002: 8th, 16th
2001: 13th, 16th, 17th
2000: 2nd, 11th, 12th
1999: 4th, 20th
1998: 14th, 15th
1997: 9th, 14th
1996: 10th, 12th, 14th
1995: 3rd, 6th
1994: 9th, 20th 


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