North of England Championship
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The Dolphin Centre
Saturday 16th March
Commences: Approx 1.00pm
Bands: Aunt Bessie's EYB (M. Davison): BAE Systems Marine (D. Broadbent):
Barnard Castle (G. Hutchinson): Boldon Colliery (C. Bentham): Easington Colliery
(D. Dye): Flookburgh (J. Iveson): Gateshead Brass (tba): Harrogate (D. Lancaster):
Horden Colliery (J. Beddell): Kirbymoorside Town (J. Woodward): Spennymoor Town
(P. Cutler): Westoe STHCT (J. Smith)
There are 12 bands in the hunt
for the two places up for grabs for Torquay and it should make for a very interesting
contest. There doesn't seem to be any clear cut favourite for the title this year
and it could be a scrap between four or five bands to decide who the winners will
Aunt Bessie's EYB came down to this section last year after two years
in the Championship section where to be fair they struggled a little to make a
mark. Two consecutive 9th places in 1999 and 2000 were enough to send them through
the trap door and last year they came a creditable 3rd pace. They seem to be on
past history a band good enough to beat the rivals at this level but not quite
strong enough to hold their own in the level above. Could be in with a positive
shout come the results this time around.
BAE Systems Marine were 8th here
last year and could well improve on that showing given the chance. We believe
they won the Hove contest last year (although we are not too sure about it). They
were relegated from the top flight last year after three years (where they were
called Vickers Barrow) where they came 6th in 1998, 10th in 1999 and 7th in 2000,
so they will be keen to return back.
Barnard Castle have a solid record here and they were 6th last
year and 8th the year before. This wasn't as good as they hoped
for we suspect as they have come 3rd here in 1997, and so will be
hoping for a repeat performance of that result. Boldon Colliery
meanwhile have a record of near misses for the title here, in that
they came 2nd in both 1998 and 2000, although last year they fell
away somewhat to come 7th and could only muster 18th at Pontins.
They will be hoping hat good luck comes in even years and a repeat
of the millennium is on the cards.
Easington Colliery are a band
that has now had a couple of years in the First section following their relegation
from the top flight in 2000. The two previous years had seen them come 8th in
1998 and 7th in 1999 and they repeated that result in the lower section 2000.
Last year they fell away again a little so they will be keen for a return to better
form. Flookburgh meanwhile are a band of mystery to us a bit, as they had a fine
record up to 1999 and then just disappeared somewhat for a couple of years. 3rd
and 4th in 1998 and '99 seemed to be the start of something, but then they didn't
compete at the contest and only this year make a return. They came 2nd at the
Fleetwood contest in the second section, so we don't really know what to expect.
is now the name given to the band formally known as Northumbria Police and they
lost their championship status for this year after a series of results in the
top section that saw them drop from 4th place in 1998 to 8th in 1999, 10th in
2000 and 6th last year. Relegation seems a bit harsh, but it is based over two
years. They should do well though as the core of the band has remained the same
and they could be line for a rapid promotion.
Harrogate are a band that
has had an amazing run of success over the past few years and they come here as
reigning champions of the section and after coming 16th at the Nationals in Preston
and 5th at York and Humberside in the top section. A band that has plenty of quality,
they should be the ones to beat and further enhance a record that contains two
consecutive top prizes in the last two years.
Horden come up a section this
year following a run of three consecutive 4th places in the second section Whether
they can make an impression at the higher level is a question we won't find out
until Saturday, but they should be confident of taking at least a few scalps.
Kirbymoorside are another band that has performed well at this level over the
past few years and their record reads 3rd in 1999, 5th in 2000 and 5th again last
year. They also came 6th at the Yorkshire and Humberside contest and they should
be confident enough to know that they can push for a place on the podium.
Town recently won the County Durham contest and so confidence will be high. They
came 10th last year and 6th the year before, so they will be gunning for better
things this time around. Could well spring a surprise or two. Westoe STHCT meanwhile
are a band really on the up and in the past four years they have won the fourth
section in 1998, come 3rd in the third the following year, come 2nd in the second
section in 2000 and win it last time out. They were also 11th at the National
Finals so they have some form to go on. Could well be up there.
2. Broughton's Brass
3. Aunt Bessie's EYB
4. Nestle Rowntree
6. Barnard Castle
2. Boldon Colliery
4. Aunt Bessie's EYB
6. Westoe STHCT
Dark Horse: BAE Systems Marine.