facebook twitter rss vimeo shop label support us

*
banner

2018 London & SC, North of England & Welsh Regional Championships
Previews & Predictions

4BR looks forward to the battles for qualification places at Stevenage, Durham and Swansea this weekend.

Regionals
 

The final weekend of the 2018 Regional Championships has arrived, with plenty of action to report on from Durham, Stevenage and Swansea.

The last couple of weeks have also created a fair amount of opinion - from the usual gripes about results to the rather more unusual concerns over the weather. 

Not much that can be done about either now; the last pockets of snow finally melting away as slowly as the lingering sense of bitter disappointment some bands may still have about not qualifying for either London or Cheltenham.

Frida Kahlo

There was a surprise that could have raised a Frida Kahlo sized eyebrow in Perth, although perhaps not so much in Bedworth and Torquay, and despite some reservations about just how memorable the test-pieces have been, they have certainly done their contesting jobs. 

Prof Nicholas Childs will look back on the Areas with a great deal of personal satisfaction after he claimed a third title of the series with Whitburn, whilst 500 miles away in Torquay his nephew picked up his first with Flowers.   If their names appear on any starting line-up this weekend then nick the grandkid’s pocket money and stick it on the nose of any band they are taking.


There was a surprise that could have raised a Frida Kahlo sized eyebrow in Perth, although perhaps not so much in Bedworth and Torquay, and despite some reservations about just how memorable the test-pieces have been, they have certainly done their contesting jobs. 

Stark light

It may well be another 20 years before ‘Odyssey’ sees the light of day again, but it has enabled the best bands to showcase their quality and poise - especially at speed, whilst ‘Brass Metamorphosis’ has been a curiously troubling tester (of patience at times).  

‘Ex Terra Lucem’ and ‘Napoleon on the Alps’ have brought the best out of just about every band, whilst ‘World Tour’ has shone a rather stark (if musically engaging) light on a Fourth Section that seems to be in danger of withering on the contesting vine (there are just 14 bands in total at Durham and Swansea).

Lots to look forward to then at the Stevenage Arts & Leisure Centre, where 78 bands will be performing, as well as the Gala Theatre in Durham and the Brangwyn Hall in Swansea (41 bands each), especially as all three are very well run by their respective regional committees.

We will be there to bring you as much as the action as we can, so keep an eye out for our opinions of the performances as well as who will be planning further trips to Cheltenham and London later in the year.


 Championship Section:

aLBERT hALL

London & Southern Counties: Championship Section
Gordon Craig Theatre
Sunday 18th March
Draw: 2.00pm
Commences: following Second Section results but not before 3.30pm
Adjudicators: Sandy Smith & Ian Brownbill

1. Aveley & Newham (Alan Duguid)
2. East London Brass (Jayne Murrill)
3. Friary Guildford (Chris King)
4. Haverhill Silver (Paul Filby)
5. Jersey Premier Brass (Tim Pritchard)
6. Kidlington Concert Brass (Duncan Wilson)
7. Medway (Melvin White)
8. Northfleet Brass (David Lewis)
9. Redbridge Brass (tbc)
10. Thundersley Brass (Nigel Taken)
11. Wantage (Paul Holland)
12. Zone One Brass (Richard Ward)

For the neutral listener, this is always an interesting contest to round off the action in Stevenage, with defending champion Friary Guildford looking to make it four wins in a row under MD Chris King.  

Over the last couple of years they’ve been a step up in quality over their rivals, but as was shown at Butlins, an increasingly confident Redbridge Brass could well fancy their chances of picking up a first title success since 2011 - although who will take them on stage remains a bit of a mystery as Jeremy Wise awaits his knee op.  

The developing Wantage and the more mercurial Zone One Brass will surely be in the mix, whilst East London Brass and Haverhill Silver could also be worth an each-way bet for a potential podium slot.  

Aveley & Newham may be the dark horse this year, whilst the promoted duo of Jersey Premier and Kidlington could just sneak in on the rails for an ‘Odyssey’ mention.  

4BR Prediction:
1. Friary Guildford
2. Redbridge
3. Zone One Brass
4. Wantage
5. East London Brass
6. Haverhill

Dark Horse: Aveley & Newham


North of England: Championship Section
Sunday 18th March
Draw: 12:00 noon
Commences: 1.30pm
Adjudicators: Michael Fowles & Howard Evans

1. Easington Colliery (Ian Robinson)
2. East Yorkshire Motor Services (Stig Maersk)
3. Fishburn (David Hirst)
4. Kirkbymoorside Town (Sarah Woodward)
5. Lockwood Brass (John Roberts)
6. NASUWT Riverside (David Roberts)
7. Reg Vardy (Russell Gray)
8. Shepherd Building Group (Richard Wilton)
9. York Railway Institute (David Lancaster)
10. Westoe (Jason Smith)

Reg Vardy’s hopes of remaining ‘King in the North’ came to the type of shock ending usually seen on ‘Game of Thrones’ last year, as NASUWT Riverside claimed the ‘Pageantry’ crown.

Whether or not they can snatch it back this time around we will have to wait to see with bated breath, but the contest holds the promise of a bit of a cliff-hanger season finale if both play to form. 

However, the potential usurper to their qualification ambitions may come with EYMS under Stig Maersk, who certainly made the type of visceral impression ‘Thronecast’ fans would have loved with his ‘Odyssey’ take at Blackpool with VBS Poynton. 

Add to this mix an increasingly solid looking Fishburn and some ambitious contenders in Easington Colliery, Lockwood and our dark horse of Shepherd Group, and the plot-line denouement may not be settled until the very last band has played. 

4BR Prediction:
1. Reg Vardy
2. NASUWT Riverside
3. EYMS
4. Fishburn
5. Easington Colliery
6. Lockwood Brass

Dark Horse: Shepherd Group


Wales: Championship Section:
Brangwyn Hall, Swansea
Championship Section
Sunday 18th March
Draw: 11:00am
Commences: 12.30pm
Adjudicators: Alan Morrison & Steve Sykes

1. City of Cardiff (Melingriffith) M1 (Garry Cutt)
2. Cory (Philip Harper)
3. Goodwick (Matthew Jenkins)
4. Llwydcoed (Christopher Turner)
5. Northop Silver (John Doyle)
6. Parc & Dare (Leftfield Environmental Ltd) (Jonathan Pippen)
7. Tongwynlais Temperance (Andreas Kratz)
8. Tredegar (Ian Porthouse)

There is always an added level of competitive interest in this contest at the Brangwyn Hall – and not just as it usually coincides with the Six Nations rugby being shown in the bar.

Victory comes with the invitation to represent the nation at the European Championships - which given it’s in Montreux in 2019, also comes with a hefty price tag.  Welsh banding may be very successful, but it has as much money in its coffers to help its flag bearer as a Llanwern steelworker’s pension pot.  

The contest does come with the prospect of two extra qualification places though - thanks to Tredegar and Cory claiming podium finishes at the Albert Hall last November: Lots to play for then, even if hard earned National pride doesn’t yet come with any extra pounds in the pocket.

Cory and Tredegar will surely battle for the major honours, but behind them it could be a fascinating battle for the Kensington berths, with Tongwynlais Temperance, Llwydcoed and Northop the potential ‘two from three’ rivals ahead of Goodwick and our dark horse of City of Cardiff (Melingriffith). 

4BR Prediction:
1. Cory
2. Tredegar
3. Tonwynlais Temperance
4. Llwydcoed
5. Northop
6. Goodwick

Dark Horse: City of Cardiff (Melingriffith)


First Section:

Cheltenham

London & Southern Counties: First Section
Gordon Craig Theatre
Saturday 17 March
Draw: 1.30pm
Commences: following 3rd Section results - not before 2.30pm
Adjudicators: Sandy Smith & Ian Brownbill

1. Alder Valley (Lee Woodward)
2. Amersham (Paul Fisher)
3. Bedford Town (Steve Phillips)
4. Cawston (Lee Sharpe)
5. Chiltern Hills Brass (Gordon Davies)
6. City of Cambridge (Peter Bassano)
7. Colchester Silver (David Maddocks)
8. East of England Co-operative (Nigel Cooper)
9. Egham (Gareth Green)
10. Fulham (John Ward)
11. Grimsdyke Brass (Sharon Broughall)
12. Hitchin (Graham Chambers)
13. Regent Brass (Paul Archibald)
14. Sandhurst Silver (tbc)
15. Staines Brass (Shane O'Neill)
16. Ware Brass (Craig Patterson)

This really could be a battle royal, with 16 bands vying for the two places at Cheltenham and the chance to carry on the excellent record of achievement secured by qualifiers over the last few years; one that saw Kidlington come 3rd, Regent Brass 4th and Hitchin 14th last time out.

Regent and Hitchin are here again, as are the promoted duo of Amersham and Grimsdyke, both of whom are on an upswing of solid long term development, whilst two purposeful bands in Staines and East of England drop down from the top-flight.

Sandhurst Silver could be a bit of a dark horse, whilst Alder Valley should be a good each-way bet with the likes of Bedford who were in decent early season form at Butlins. Fulham and Egham could be sniffing around those podium spots once again though.

4BR Prediction:
1. Hitchin
2. Regent Brass
3. Alder Valley
4. Sandhurst Silver
5. Fulham
6. Bedford

Dark Horse: Egham


North of England: First Section
Saturday 17th March
Draw: 12.30pm
Commences: 1.45pm
Adjudicators: Mareika Gray & Michael Fowles

1. Ashington Colliery (David Kendall)
2. Dunston Silver (Aidan Hodges)
3. GT Group Peterlee (Ian Langthorne)
4. Houghton Brass (Lee Morris)
5. Harrogate (Dean Jones)
6. Ripon City (Jack Capstaff)

Just the six bands for Mareika Gray and Michael Fowles to compare and contrast on Saturday afternoon, and plenty of food for thought after last year’s qualifiers ended 11th and 17th at Cheltenham. 

Having Shepherd Group and Westoe promoted to the top flight with Ashington and Houghton up from the Second means that there is huge fluidity at this level, and consequently little hope of bands being able to develop with the longer term stability that others benefit from in different parts of the country.

That said, they do punch above their weight every now and again, so hopefully whoever gets through to Cheltenham can make a mark.  Just the six, so a battle for the podium slots for us with Harrogate, Dunston Silver and Ripon City with a dark horse of GT Group Peterlee.

4BR Prediction:
1. Harrogate
2. Dunston Silver
3. Ripon City

Dark Horse: GT Group Peterlee


Wales: First Section
Saturday 17th March
Draw: 2:00pm
Commences 4.00pm
Adjudicators: Alan Morrison & Mark Wilkinson

1. Abergavenny Borough (Sean O'Neill)
2. BTM (Jeff Hutcherson)
3. Burry Port Town (Christopher Bond)
4. Deiniolen (Lois Eifion)
5. Ebbw Valley (Gareth Ritter)
6. Lewis Merthyr (Craig Roberts)
7. Llanrug (Gavin Saynor)
8. Markham & District (Matt Rowe)
9. Thomas Coaches Mid-Rhondda (Alan Gibbs)
10. Tylorstown (Gary Davies)

Welsh banding has a fine record at First Section National level, with wins at Cheltenham in 2008, 09, 13 and 15. Last year’s duo came 9th and 16th though, so time to make a mark once again.   

There is a strong looking line-up here, with 2017 podium finishers Llanrug and Ebbw Valley up against seasoned challengers in the form of Burry Port Town, BTM and Lewis Merthyr.  Markham & District and our dark horse of Tylorstown may look to put a spanner in the works though.

4BR Prediction:
1. Ebbw Valley
2. Burry Port Town
3. Llanrug
4. BTM
5. Markham & District
6. Lewis Merthyr 

Dark Horse: Tylorstown


Second Section:

Cheltenham

London & Southern Counties: Second Section
Gordon Craig Theatre
Sunday 18th March
Split Draw: 9.00am and 11.00am
Commences: 10.00am
Adjudicators: Leigh Baker & Tom Davoren

1. BAE Systems (Melvin White)
2. Castleton Brass (Peter Ryan)
3. Chinnor Silver (David Pegram)
4. Cold Ash Brass (Jemma Johnstone)
5. Epsom and Ewell Silver (Paul Graham)
6. Fairlop Brass (Kevin Jordan)
7. Horsham Borough (Mark McLauchlin)
8. Hungerford Town (Tim Crouter)
9. LGB Brass (Ian Stewart)
10. Littleport Brass (Nicholas Garman)
11. Milton Keynes Brass (Jonathan Mott)
12. Soham Comrades (Mark Ager)
13. St. Sebastian Wokingham (John Watts)
14. Tilbury (Ben Jones)
15. Wantage Concert Brass (Danny Dullforce)
16. Waterbeach (Andrew Kershaw)
17. Welwyn Garden City (Graham Chambers)
18. Yiewsley & West Drayton (Christopher Cole)

Three qualification places up for grabs in a contest packed with experience and know how. And experience has been one of the keys to success on Jonathan Bates’ ‘Ex Terra Lucem’ - with the ability to draw out the character of the music based on having the basic contest foundation firmly in place. The MDs who have used their noggins have tended to do better than those who have relied on pure light emitting passion.

We think you have to go back to 1977 and the Queen’s Silver Jubilee for the last time a qualifier went on to win the National title, so a victory is long overdue. In the past few years though there have been three top-six finishers , although last year’s qualifiers came 7th and 13th.

And whilst early season form can been notoriously fickle as a barometer of fair weather punditry, Butlins did see fine returns for Milton Keynes (2nd), Horsham (4th) and Waterbeach (7th), whilst Epsom & Ewell won at Crawley ahead of St Sebastian Wokingham and LGB Brass.

Drop into the mix the solid virtues of the likes of Soham Comrades (4th last year) and Yiewsley & West Drayton (5th) and not forgetting Littleport and the promoted Castleton, then this one could get Leigh Baker and Tom Davoren thinking long and hard in the box.

4BR Prediction:
1. Soham Comrades
2. Milton Keynes
3. Horsham Borough
4. Waterbeach
5. Epsom & Ewell
6. Littleport 

Dark Horse: Castleton


North of England: Second Section
Saturday 17th March
Draw: 3.00pm
Commences: 4.30pm
Adjudicators: Howard Evans & John Roberts

1. Bearpark & Esh Colliery (Phillip Tait)
2. Cockerton (Peter Elcoat)
3. Durham Miners Association (Stuart Gray)
4. East Riding of Yorkshire (Gary Hallas)
5. Ferryhill Town (Gareth Sykes)
6. J36 Brass (Andrew Warriner)7. NASU
WT Concert Brass (Andrew Hall)
8. North Skelton (Daniel Brooks)

Another small field of rivals for the judges Howard Evans and John Roberts to compare and contrast; but it’s one that could provide them with plenty of quality if all eight play to form. 

The region produced a National champion in 2012 in South Milford Brass and a runner-up in 2014 in Lockwood Brass, although 2017’s representatives found it tougher going in coming home in 14th and 18th places respectively.

J36 were many people’s favourites last year but finished third, so will be keen to make amends this time around, whilst East Riding of Yorkshire and North Skelton, fresh from victory at the Durham County BBA contest, may well be snapping at their heels for the silverware.

Promoted Ferryhill Town could be a bit of a dark horse, whilst a few bob may well be worth investing on each-way bets for a podium finish for Bearpark & Esh and NASUWT Concert Brass.

4BR Prediction:
1. J36 Brass
2. East Riding of Yorkshire
3. North Skelton
4. Durham Miners Association

Dark Horse:  Ferryhill Town


Wales: Second Section
Saturday 17th March
Draw: 11.00am
Commences: 1.00pm
Adjudicators: Steve Sykes & John Winterflood

1. Abertillery Town (Joshua Ruck)
2. Ammanford Town Silver (Glyn Davies)
3. Blaenavon Town (David Langley)
4. Crwbin (Craig Roberts)
5. Ifton Colliery (Scott Lloyd)
6. Newport Borough (Robin Hackett)
7. Penclawdd (Tony Small)
8. Pontardulais Town (Paul Jenkins)
9. Royal Buckley Town (Keith Jones)

Rivals from north, east and west will be vying for the two qualification places on offer from judges Steve Sykes and John Winterflood - although the nation as a whole will be hoping for a better return at Cheltenham than the lowly 16th and 17th places claimed last year.   

That came as a bit of a shock given Wales has won six National titles since 2007 - so whoever gets through will have a point to prove.

Great to see Ifton Colliery making their debuts having crossed over Offa’s Dyke, whilst old stagers such as Pontardulais and the promoted duo of Newport Borough and Abertillery Town could be in with shout of a qualification place. Crwbin and Royal Buckley Town make up our potential top-six with our dark horse of Penclawdd. 

4BR Prediction:
1. Pontardulais Town
2. Abertillery & District
3. Ifton Colliery
4. Newport Borough
5. Crwbin
6. Royal Buckley Town

Dark Horse: Penclawdd


Third Section:

Cheltenham

London & Southern Counties: Third Section
Gordon Craig Theatre
Saturday 17th March
Draw: 9.00am
Commences: 10.00am
Adjudicators: Chris King & Sarah Groarke-Booth

1. Brighton & Hove City Brass (Matthew Hackett)
2. Chichester City (Rom Stanko)
3. City of Norwich Brass (Andy Craze)
4. Crystal Palace (Michael Gray)
5. East Coast Brass (Paul Speed)
6. Epping Forest (Keith Schroeter)
7. Hangleton (Richard Baker)
8. Jubilee Brass (Oxford) (Clifford Sadler)
9. Norfolk Wherry Brass (Eddie Baker)
10. Olney Brass (Kevin Nicholls)
11. Oxford Cherwell Brass (Terry Brotherhood)
12. Simon Langton Brass (David Cutting)
13. Tadley Concert Brass (Paul Chapman)
14. Tendring Brass (Antony Sanders)

Past results at the National Finals show that Chris King and Sarah Groarke-Booth could have their work cut out separating a host of well-match bands. The region has produced winners in 2012 and 2013 (Hitchin and LGB Brass) as well as podium finishers in 2014, 2016 and top-six placings in 2014 and 2016. Last year the excellent Castleton also came 4th. 

Butlins saw Crystal Palace (3rd) lead a strong posse home of Epping Forest (5th), City of Norwich (9th), Brighton (14th) and East Coast Brass (15th), whilst the recent Oxford contest saw Oxford Cherwell Brass (2nd), Olney Town (5th) and Tadley Concert (6th) all enjoy encouraging run-outs.  

And with the likes of Simon Langton Brass and Hangleton also there or thereabouts you can see why this could be a little cracker on Philip Harper’s enjoyable set-test.

Finger in the air to test the Alpine prediction wind then…

4BR Prediction:
1. Epping Forest
2. Crystal Palace
3. Oxford Cherwell
4. Tadley Concert
5. City of Norwich
6. Simon Langton Brass

Dark Horse: Hangleton


North of England: Third Section
Sunday 18th March
Draw: 9.00am
Commences: 10.30pm
Adjudicators: Mareika Gray & John Roberts

1. Backworth Colliery (Colin Harris)
2. Barton Community (Gary Oglesby)
3. Billingham Silver (Vaughan Evans)
4. Ellington Colliery (Claire Winter)
5. Jayess Newbiggin (Andrew Griffiths)
6. Kingsway Printers Cleethorpes (Brian Harper)
7. Knaresborough Silver (Nick Garrett)
8. Murton Colliery (David Conway)
9. Swinton & District Excelsior (Robin Rutter)

Sunday morning’s action in Durham kicks-off with a cracking battle for qualification glory between nine solid looking outfits. 

Last year’s champion Barton Community and fellow qualifier Kingsway Printers return once more to see if they can book an immediate return to Cheltenham where they came 16th and 18th respectively.  

Meanwhile, Jayess Newbiggin claimed victory at the Durham County BBA contest so should be full of confidence, whilst Murton Colliery with our dark horse of Swinton & District could well push their way into the frame. 

4BR Prediction:
1. Barton Community
2. Jayess Newbiggin
3. Kingsway Printer Cleethorpe
4. Murton Colliery

Dark Horse: Swinton & District


Wales: Third Section
Saturday 17th March
Draw: 9.00am
Commences: 10.00amAdjud
Adjudicators: Mark Wilkinson & Glyn Williams

1. Briton Ferry (Jeff Pearce)
2. Newtown Silver (Steve Edwards)
3. Ogmore Valley Silver (Alice Jones)
4. RAF St. Athan Voluntary (Alan Bourne)
5. Severn Tunnel (Daniel Hall)
6. Taff Vale Brass (Gareth Ritter)
7. Usk (James Jones)
8. Ynyshir (Gary Davies)

An intriguing contest in prospect first thing on Saturday morning with eight ambitious contenders ready to battle it out against the French just a few hours before the national rugby team locks horns with ‘Les Blues’ at the Millennium Stadium.

This lot will want to give old Boney a bloody nose just as much as the Welsh tight head prop against his French counterpart at the first scrum there then, and all look in decent shape to do just that and to go on to Cheltenham where last year’s qualifiers were 3rd and 6th – Wales’ best return since 2014.  

All eyes and ears will be on the ‘new cap’ of Taff Vale Brass under Gareth Ritter who could be the band to beat, whilst the likes of RAF St Athan and Ynyshir might just push them all the way. Severn Tunnel, Newtown Silver and Briton Ferry makes up our top-six with our joint dark horses of Usk and Ogmore Valley Silver. 

4BR Prediction:
1. Taff Vale Brass
2. Ynyshir
3. RAF St Athan
4. Severn Tunnel
5. Newtown Silver
6.  Briton Ferry

Dark Horses: Usk and Ogmore Valley Silver


Fourth Section:

Cheltenham

London & Southern Counties: Fourth Section
Main Concert Hall
Saturday 17th March
Split Draw: 10.30am and 12.30am
Commences: 11.30am
Adjudicators: Sarah Groarke-Booth & John Ward

1. Abbey Brass (Rob Tompkins)
2. Amersham Community Brass (Paul Fisher)
3. Bletchington Silver (Sheldon Barwick)
4. Bradwell Silver (Brian Keech)
5. City of Oxford (Dexter Brown)
6. Cottenham Brass (Peter Mackley)
7. Great Yarmouth Brass (Colin Swaep)
8. Hadstock Silver (Diane Pannell)
9. Hemel Hempstead (David Edmonds)
10. Letchworth Garden City (Tim Welch)
11. Marsh Gibbon Silver (Chris Johnston)
12. Pangbourne and District Silver (Stewart Lewins)
13. Regent Community Brass (Chris Bearman)
14. Royston Town (Steve Earley)
15. Wantage Academy (Nikki Jones)
16. Watford (Ian Graves)
17. Witney Town (Steve Sizeland)
18. Woodbridge Excelsior (Chris Lewis-Garnham)

Although the years of 25 bands or more taking to the stage here are long gone, it’s heartening to note that competitive numbers have remained pretty stable in recent times. 

It’s also equally encouraging for the region that the standard has undoubtedly been improving too; with the one National winner (Norfolk Wherry in 2012) and four consecutive top-six finishers at Cheltenham since 2014.  Last year’s representatives came 2nd, 9th and 16th, so hopes will be high for the three qualifiers to perhaps do even better.

Early season form has been hard to find, although Great Yarmouth came 4th at Butlins, Pangbourne enjoyed a decent run out at Crawley and Bradwell (2nd), Abbey Brass (Abingdon) (6th) and Witney Town (7th) all competed at the recent Oxford contest.

Last year’s winner Regent Community Brass returns to defend its title, as does Cheltenham qualifier Watford, so perhaps these could be the bands to watch out for, whilst relegated Hemel Hempstead and the consistent Letchworth Garden City may be in and around the top-six come the results.

Our dark horse is the debutant Amersham Community Brass. 

4BR Prediction:
1. Regent Community Brass
2. Bradwell Silver
3. Hemel Hempstead
4. Great Yarmouth Brass
5. Watford
6. Letchworth Garden City

Dark Horse: Amersham Community Brass


North of England: Fourth Section
Saturday 17th March
Draw: 9.30am
Commences: 11.00am
Adjudicators: Michael Fowles & John Roberts

1. Burneside Brass (Dave Higson)
2. Craghead Colliery (Alan Fernie)
3. Lanchester (Tom Yates)
4. Marske (Nigel Barnes)
5. Penrith Town (Chris Torn)
6. Spennymoor Town (Fiona Casewell)
7. Tewit Silver (Martin Hall)
8. Trimdon Concert Brass (David Kinross)

It all kicks off in Durham on Saturday morning with what promises to be a keenly fought ‘World Tour’ battle between eight contenders.

The piece has caused a few problems around the country (the ‘Pacific Paradise’ in particular), so whoever is able to capture the different styles – from the bold Rimmer march and suavely paced Joplin ragtime to the languid Hawaiian relaxation and larrikin Aussie swagger to close will have deservedly booked their place at Cheltenham, where last year’s qualifiers came 4th and 20th.

Spennymoor Town, Marske Silver, Lanchester and Craghead all had an early season run out in Durham which will certainly have been of benefit. A lot of interest will surround the welcome debut of Tewit Silver, whilst last year’s runner-up Trimdon Concert Brass will be looking to make an immediate Cheltenham return.  

4BR Prediction:
1. Spennymoor Town
2. Trimdon Concert Brass
3. Marske Silver
4. Lanchester

Dark Horse: Tewit Silver


Wales: Fourth Section:
Sunday 18th March
Draw: 9.00am
Commences 10.00am
Adjudicators: Mark Wilkinson & John Winterflood

1. Buckley Brass (Steve Pugh-Jones)
2. Crosskeys Silver (Mike Davies)
3. Cwmtawe Youth (Wayne Pedrick)
4. Gwaen-cae-Gurwen (Jeff Hutcherson)
5. Oakdale Silver (Kerry Bowden)
6. Upper Rhondda (Jayne Thomas)

Sunday morning in Swansea sees just six bands compete in the Fourth Section (the second time in three years).

It’s a bit of a worry for Wales as there were hopes that grass root banding in the nation was starting to flourish on the back of the spectacular successes at Cheltenham where five titles were won in six year period up to 2016, with last year’s qualifiers coming 3rd and 13th.

Two of those past winners are not even here this weekend, so a few questions need to be asked to what is going wrong.  

There is still plenty of talent on show though, with Welsh League champion Oakdale Silver and runner-up Gwaen-cae-Gurwen perhaps the two battling it out for the silverware, whilst Upper Rhondda and Cwmtawe Youth could also be in the mix. Our dark horse is debutant Buckley Brass.

4BR Prediction:
1. Gwaen-cae-Gurwen
2. Oakdale Silver
3. Upper Rhondda
4. Cwmtawe Youth

Dark Horse: Buckley Brass



Enderby Band - Enderby Band Christmas Concert

Monday 17 December • Enderby Church. Corner of Leicester Lane/Blaby Road. Enderby. Leicestershire LE19 4AR


Foden's Band - Little Lever High School

Tuesday 18 December • Little Lever High School ,Church Street, Little Lever, Bolton, BL3 1BT


The Wigston Band - The Wigston Band Christmas Concert

Thursday 20 December • St Thomas Church, South Wigston LE18 4TA


Regent Hall Concerts - Royal Greenwich Brass Band

Thursday 20 December • St Alfege Church. 3 Greenwich Church Street SE10 9BJ


The Wigston Band -

Thursday 20 December • St Thomas Church, South Wigston LE18 4TA


Haslingden & Helmshore Brass Band

December 18 • Haslingden & Helmshore, North West 1st Section Brass Band. . MD Mr. Simon Cowen (Principal Trombone with RLPO) . Require 2 front row Cornet players & Percussionist to complete the band. . A very sensible mix of engagements with rehearsals every Tuesday 8pm


Meltham and Meltham Mills Brass Band

December 18 • We have a vacancy for a Soprano and BBb Bass to complete the line up for the areas. Nice Schilke Sop sat waiting for the right person! The band currently competes in the 2nd Section and has a full program of concerts and contests.


The Corsham Band

December 18 • The band are currently looking for an experienced Back Row Cornet Player to join our friendly and enthusiastic team. Second or Third Cornet position available.


Stuart Black

BA (Hons) Music
Conductor, Teacher, Flugel soloist