Report & Result: 2019 Dr Martin Wainstones Cup

Reg Vardy once again boosts the bank account balance with a commanding victory under the baton of John Roberts.

Reg Vardy
  Just what the Doctor ordered for Reg Vardy...

Cory may have won the most prestigious title in the banding world at Symphony Hall in Birmingham, but it was Reg Vardy who secured the most lucrative of the weekend as they claimed the Dr Martin Wainstone Cup for the sixth time in its ten year history.

The £4000 first prize has meant that they have now bagged close on £30,000 in prize money from the event since their first win in 2010.

The latest deposit in the band's bank account was secured under the baton of the experienced John Roberts, as the London National finalist won by a commanding eight point margin from rivals Vernon Building Society Poynton with Elland Silver three points further back in third.

Devilish sounds

Opening with the devilish sounds of the classic march 'Mephistopheles', it led into Philip Sparke's 'Pantomime', played with judicious artistry by euphonium soloist Andrew Hedley, who took the Len Usher Cup and £250 soloist prize.

And on a weekend when Peter Graham's latest work was being premiered at the British Open, they also utilised the Scotsman's test-piece expertise with a fine account of 'Montage', which featured excellent solo lines throughout to add to the commanding ensemble security.

Band spokesperson Gillian Dixon told 4BR: "This is a great boost as we've now got a lot of new, young players in our ranks. The experience is still there, but they really stood up today brilliantly to help us reclaim a title that means a lot to us."

Classy effort

With the excellent facilities at Yarm School and the Princess Alexandra auditorium offering plenty for the performers as well as the listeners to relax and enjoy performing in, it was a great pity that three bands withdrew from the contest at late notice.

Still, there was plenty of well chosen music on show, with adjudicator Sandy Smith full of praise for hard working efforts, although he was clear in his assessment of the winners. "It was a classy effort; one that, despite some clips, shone above the rest."

More good form from Poynton

The Spring Festival Senior Trophy champion VBS Poynton carried on its good 2019 form as they claimed second place and £2000, as well as picking up and extra £250 for their 'Best March' 'The Cossack' which won the David Wilson Cup.

The players and MD Stig Maersk were certainly in jubilant mood as their runner-up place was announced by compere Django Zazou. "They've worked hard for this,"Stig said, adding: "They gave everything possible and it shows just how well the band is now developing."

In addition to the famous Foden's signature tune march the band featured the former Sandbach band player Natsumi McDonald in a superb rendition of the timeless air-varie solo, 'Rule Britannia'.
They closed with an impressive interpretation of 'Music of the Spheres', full of cohesiveness although not blemish-free.


Their triptych programme proved good enough to repel the challenge of Yorkshire rivals Elland Silver.

Daniel Brooks led a confident band — none more so than 14 year old principal cornet James Barton. His rendition of 'Jubilance', mature beyond his years, enthralled the appreciative audience.
The band closed with another Peter Graham work, 'On the Shoulders of Giants', marked by some exceptional percussion work.
Behind them came Newtongrange, who gave a cheeky rendition of the 'March from the Jazz Suite' by Shostakovich as part of their well prepared set, whilst City of Bradford provided plenty of fire breathing excitement with a rousing rendition of 'The Year of the Dragon' as their own-choice test-piece under Lee Skipsey.

There was also a welcome outing for Peter Meechan's 'Fragile Oasis' from Fishburn which shimmered with atmosphere.

It's a fabulous contest and venue that deserves greater support from bands. These contests are essential to the well being of the banding movementAdjudicator, Sandy Smith

Deserves support

Once again the organisers from Cockerton Silver Band deserved the plaudits for putting on an excellent event – one that with its substantial prize fund (each competitor also receiving £400 towards travel expenses), excellent facilities and warm welcome deserves to gain a much better response from bands.

One could only support Sandy Smith's strong opinion that an ingrained apathy and lack of communication is not helping excellent events such as this.

"When feedback is asked, it's like trying to get blood from a stone, so reply to them,"he said. "It's a fabulous contest and venue that deserves greater support from bands. These contests are essential to the well being of the banding movement."

Certainly on the banks of the Tees, in the middle of the countryside and with sun beating down, the audience fully appreciates the lengths Cockerton have gone to make this a contest to be proud of. More bands should do the same.

Steve Jack


Adjudicator: Sandy Smith
March/Solo/Test = Total

1. Reg Vardy (John Roberts): 45/48/95 = 188
2. VBS Poynton (Stig Maersk): 46/44/90 = 180
3. Elland Silver (Daniel Brooks): 43/42/92 = 177
4. Newtongrange (Andrew Duncan): 44/40/88 = 172
5. City of Bradford (Lee Skipsey): 42/38/89 = 169
6. Fishburn (Lewis Wilkinson): 41/39/87 = 167

Best Soloist: Andrew Hedley (Reg Vardy)
Best March: VBS Poynton

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