Scottish Regional Championship
59 of the best bands north of Hadrian's Wall will be competing at Motherwell Civic
Centre on Saturday the 9th and Sunday the 10th of March, all hoping either to
get an invite for the finals in London or a very, very long bus trip to Torquay.
banding is strong and full of character and in the premier division they now have
three or four bands more than capable of matching and beating anything south of
the border. Whitburn and Kirkintilloch are now really strong contenders along
with CWS Glasgow in any National contest, whilst Dalmellington and Newtongrange
are rapidly improving outfits. 2001 was a good year for the top of the Scottish
banding tree, but below it things are not too rosy, and only one band found themselves
in the prize list at the Lower Section Nationals in Preston.
success of the top-flight bands will give the others below them the encouragement
to perform even better in 2002.
Sunday 10th March
Adjudicator: David Read
Commences: 2.00pm approx
Bands: Bo'ness and Carriden (T. Swainson): Bon Accord Silver (T. Swainson):
CWS (Glasgow) (D. King): Dalmellington (R. Evans): Johnstone Silver (R. Tennant):
Kingdom Brass (A. Morrison): Kirkintilloch (F. Renton): Newtongrange Silver (R.
Farr): Unison Kinneil (E. Dunlea): Whitburn (P. McCann)
A very interesting line up of good quality bands will take the stage in Motherwell
for the premier section. Only CWS Glasgow may have gone on to London to win the
National Championship itself, but in the last few years there has been something
of a renaissance in Scottish banding at this level. The same cannot be said of
Scottish top level conductors it appears as five non Scots will be directing affairs
- there is plenty of talent in the Kingdom but it seems the top bands place their
faith in a Sassenach or two.
CWS Glasgow should take the stage as favourites
once again, but they have shown especially in 2001 that they are far from the
near invincible force of old, and they were well beaten at both the Open and National
Finals by Whitburn, their traditional rivals. They are conducted this year by
the third new face in as many years, as David King is re united with the band
for the first time here since directing them to success in 1996. Lots of changes
of personnel and a much more committed approach could well see them make it a
hat trick of wins.
Whitburn had a great 2001 with fine performances at the
two major contests - including a top class show for 5th place at the Open. They
recently have welcomed some new faces to the ranks but the core of the band remains
and they are in fine form. It should be a straight fight between the two heavyweights
once again, and the way Whitburn have the voodoo sign on their rivals, it could
well be a first success at the contest since 1999.
Dalmellington came third
last year under the irrepressible Richard Evans, and so they have plumbed for
a repeat dose of his magic this year as well. They have been around the fringes
of the prize list this year with 4th places at Troon and Carnegie, but they are
more than capable of producing the goods and a repeat of last years result is
not beyond them.
Kingdom Brass came 4th last year under Thomas Wyss who
did so much good work with the band since the combined forces of Cowdenbeath and
Kelty and Blairadam came together in 2000. 13th at the Senior Cup was a disappointment,
but recent form has seen them come 3rd at Troon and Carnegie and a win at Fife.
Alan Morrison heads their challenge this time and he has the musical pedigree
to know how to do well at the top level. Could be up there come the results.
Kirkintilloch can't wait for the contest season to start again,
going by their form in 2001. Winners of the Grand Shield, winners
at Troon - West of Scotland competition, plus 16th at the Open and
5th at Spennymoor were fine achievements and only a 3rd place at
the Whitburn contest spoilt an amazing run of form. Frank Renton
returns for the sixth consecutive year to take the band here, and
they will be more than confident of repeating their 2nd place of
1999. They have good reason to be.
were 6th last year and they also had a fair time of it outside Scotland as well,
when they 5th at the Senior Cup and 4th at the November Mineworkers Championships.
They were also the winners of the Land O' Burns contest at Troon in late August
when they beat Kirkintilloch into second place and Johnstone into third. Ray Farr
heads their assault again and they could well make a mark and improve on last
Bon Accord have an amazing record at the contest since 1995,
with no less than 3 promotions and two relegations in seven years. That's more
ups and downs than Joan Collins knickers, but they seem more than capable this
time of an extended stay in the top section. Tony Swainson heads the assault,
and he has been instrumental in their recent success that has seen them climb
from the second section in 1999. Their recent form has included 4th at the Whitburn
contest so they should hold their own this time around and possibly imrove on
their 7th place last year.
Unison Kinneil came 8th last year, which represented
a decline from their amazing runners up spot in 2000. Eric Dunlea heads the band
this time around and they won the Whitburn contest to boost confidence after they
could only come 15th at the Grand Shield. Will be hoping for a repeat of 2000,
but a more likely carbon copy of 2001 is on the cards.
have had an amazing last two years, with promotion from the second section in
2000 and further promotion from the first section last year - both as champions.
6th place at the Nationals, a win at Whitburn and Carnegie and 2nd at Troon showed
that they can do the business, and they are more than capable of taking a few
scalps on their first outing in the top flight.
In 1995 Bo'ness and Carriden
were crowned top section champions and went on to perform well at the National
Finals where they came 13th. The intervening years have seen them lose their championship
status, but 2nd place in the first section last year has seen them return and
with 9th place at the National Finals and 2nd places at Whitburn and Carnegie
they will enter the contest hoping to repeat their 4th place of 1998.
Bo'ness and Carriden
4BR Ranking: None
Last Year: 2nd in 1st Section
Last Five Years: 7th 1997; 4th 1998; 8th 1999; 8th 2000; 2nd in 1st Section
a bad record over the years and they did win here in 1995, but it could be harder
this time around.
Tony Swainson heads the band and with plenty of young
talent sprinkled around the stands they should do more than enough to survive.
A mid field finish could be par for the course.
4BR Ranking: None
Last Year: 7th
Last Five Years: 5th 1st Section 1997; 10th 1st Section 1998; 1st 2nd Section
1999; 1st 1st Section 2000; 7th 2001
An impressive return to the top section
last year was accompanied by a well deserved 7th place and Tony Swainson again
heads the band (he'll be a busy man). He was also at the helm when they won the
second and first section titles with the band.
They have done enough during
the past 12 months to ensure they could well repeat last years result with comfort.
4BR Ranking: 12
Last Year: 1st
Last Five Years: 1st 1997; 1st 1998; 3rd 1999; 1st 2000; 1st 2001
amazing record of success here over the past few years with only the 3rd pace
of 1999 the only time since 1996 that they have not taken the top prize.
King leads the band this time around, and they will be hoping to put the disappointments
of 2001 behind them. They should be the band to beat.
4BR Ranking: 53
Last Year: 3rd
Last Five Years: 4th 1997; 8th 1998; 5th 1999; 6th 2000; 3rd 2001
fine record of consistency (they were even 5th and 6th in 1995 and 1996), but
they have yet to really give just enough to push themselves into the top two places.
Close though last year.
Richard Evans has a second go with the band and
with plenty of quality players and with "Dicky" on form all ready this
year with the stick they could well make that final push into the qualifying spots.
4BR Ranking: None
Last Year: 1st in 1st Section
Last Five Years: 6th 1st Section 1997; 6th 1st Section 1998; 10th 1st Section
1999; 1st 2nd Section 2000; 1st 1st Section
Two straight promotions through
the sections will ensure that this will be a band that travels with high hopes
and sky-high confidence. The gap between the first and top section however is
large and they could find themselves battling it out in midfield this time around.
Tennant leads the assault, and they could and should be comfortable contenders.
Not quite at the top, but don't be surprised if they take their fair share of
plaudits and scalps.
4BR Ranking: None
Last Year: 4th
Last Five Years: Did not compete as Kingdom Brass until 2000. 2nd 1st Section
2000; 4th 2001
The third year for the amalgamated band, and they will be
hoping to repeat the fine performance at the contest of 2001, when they came a
Thomas Wyss has been working hard with Williams Fairey,
so its Alan Morrison who heads their challenge. A band capable of doing really
well on their day, but they may have a battle on their hands to repeat last years
4BR Ranking: 16
Last Year: 5th
Last Five Years: 3rd 1997; 5th 1998; 2nd 1999; 4th 2000; 5th 2001
band with a very fine record here, but one that has not seen a winning performance
for over ten years.
Frank Renton heads the band again, but it has been
the ongoing work of Alan Ramsey that has propelled the band forward in the past
12 months or so. This could well be their best chance for many years to break
the duopoly at the top of the prize list.
4BR Ranking: 38
Last Year: 6th
Last Five Years: 5th 1997; 3rd 1998; 6th 1999; 5th 2000; 6th 2001
band that has performed well and has consistently come around the fringes of success
here since 1996 in fact.
Ray Farr takes the helm for the second year in
a row and hopes will be high that they can finally get the break and repeat their
runners up spot of 1995. With a bit of luck they could well feature.
4BR Ranking: 46
Last Year: 8th
Last Five Years: 8th 1997; 9th 1998; 1st 1st Section 1999; 2nd 2000; 8th
Unison will be hoping that Eric Dunlea will be able to inspire the
band to repeat the fine result of 2000, instead of the 8th place of last year
- but it could be a hard task.
Archie Htcherson was the Scot who inspired
them then, and they have returned to home grown talent to try and repeat the feat.
It may well be beyond them, but they have enough talent to improve on last year
4BR Ranking: 10
Last Year: 2nd
Last Five Years: 2nd 1997; 2nd 1998; 1st 1999; 3rd 2000; 2nd 2001
a fine record. Any band would be pleased with this series of results (and performances)
at the Regionals, but Whitburn have an appetite for success at the highest level
now and they will be disappointed if they can't repeat their triumph of 1999.
McCann directs again, and it could well be the year that they do it. The form
of 2001 suggests they will be there or thereabouts come the results, but will
it be 1st place?
1. CWS Glasgow
4. Kingdom Brass
1. CWS Glasgow
6. Unison Kinneil
Dark Horse: Johnstone Silver