London and Southern Counties Regional Championships
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Stevenage Arts and Leisure Centre
Sunday March 17th
Adjudicator: Roy Sparkes
Bands: Alder Valley Brass (C. Reeves): Betteshanger Welfare (K. Dennison):
Brent Brass (P. Fensom): Capital Concert Brass (E. Campbell): Chichester City
(J. Williams): City of Cambridge (R. Hull): Denham Hendon Brass (P. Cox): Egham
(G. Green): Epping Forest (M. Easener): Fairlop Brass (K. Jordan): Friary Guildford
Brass (K. Maxwell): Ipswich Coop (S. Kenna): KM Gillingham (G. Wilson): Luton
(T. Brotherhood): Matthews Norfolk Brass (D. Stowell): Tilbury (R. Nunnery): Welwyn
Garden City (D. Stokes)
The bands that all want to play at the top level can sometimes
be a desperate bunch, and there is no denying that there will be
more than a few performances this weekend around the country where
the desire to win far outweighs the sensibilities of playing to
the strengths of the band on stage.
First Section can be a bit of a "Never Never Land" for bands as many
can perform quite comfortably at this level, but if they gain the promotion they
immediately find the rarefied atmosphere of the top section too much for them
and they almost immediately return back from whence they came. London is no exception
and five of the bands of show here have tasted and lost their status in the top
flight in the past five years alone.
Whether any of the 17 bands trying
this year could survive at the higher level is debatable - but it won't stop them
trying bloody hard to get there. It should be an interesting contest.
Valley will be hoping to gain one of the three qualification places on offer and
they come to the contest after coming 12th at the Folkestone contest and after
coming 9th here last year. On the face of it they appear to be prime examples
of the "YO -Yo" syndrome as they were 5th here in 1997 and won the title
in 1998, only to struggle in 11th place for two years in the top flight and return
back. What 2002 will hold we'll wait and see.
Betteshanger Welfare has been
consistent performers here over the past four years and has the experienced Kenneth
Dennison at the helm. They were 8th in '98 and followed this with 11th, 13th and
8th last year. They also came 12th at the Folkestone contest. Brent Brass meanwhile
were playing in the fourth section in 1997 and have made a remarkable rise through
the sections in the intervening years. That 1997 victory in the basement section
was followed by a repeat win in the third section in 1998 and a further 3rd spot
in 1999 won them a further rise to the second section. Two years of a 5th and
a 4th has seen them climb to this spot and they will approach the contest with
confidence in their ability to make a real mark. From 4th Section National Champions
in 1997 to the edge of competing against the likes of Black Dyke and YBS - some
We know very little about Capital Concert Brass other than they
came 9th at Reading. We apologise if we have missed something here - so can someone
tell us a little about this mystery band?
Chichester City are another band
that has come up through the sections in the past few years and they were performing
in the third section in 1998. That year saw them promoted on the back of a 2nd
place in 1997 and 7th that year, and they went on to secure a 5th and runners
up spot in the higher section to gain promotion here last year. They were 7th
at Folkestone in this section and 4th at Hove, so they will be hoping to improve
on the 14th place they got here last time out.
City of Cambridge came 11th
last year, their first in the section following their promotion as second section
champions. They came back to the section following their relegation in coming
12th in 1998, so they will hope to spend a longer time here on this occasion.
They come to the contest after gaining 2nd place at the East Anglia contest. Denham
Hendon are another of those bands that has tasted the rare delights of the championship
section in the past two years only to find it a little too hard and return back
down. In the period 1997 to 1999 they were placed 3rd, 4th and 8th at this level
and then when they were promoted they could only struggle to 10th and 11th places
and fell back through the trap door. What will 2002 hold then?
a band on the up and the past four years have seen them get a better result each
year. They were 5th in the second section in 1998 and followed that up with 2nd
in 1999 and promotion here. They came 9th at their first attempt and 6th last
year, whilst they came 9th at Folkestone in the top section and 10th in the first,
and also getting a 3rd place at the Milton Keynes contest.
have spent the last two years at this level and have a 14th place in 2000 and
10th last year under their belts. This followed three years in the second section
that saw them come 4th in 1997 and 1998 and then 6th in 1999 to gain promotion.
They came 8th at the Folkestone contest. Fairlop meanwhile come to the contest
after three years at this level when they have been a bit of a midfield challenger.
10th in 1999, 6th in 2000 and 12th last year are solid returns and they also came
15th at Folkestone. They were promoted here after two consecutive runners up spots
in 1997 and 1998 and the band were national Champions I the Third Section in 1995.
Guildford Brass are yet another band that has the experience of a spell in the
top flight and they fell from there in 1999 after three years in which they came
5th in '97, 9th in '98 and 10th in 1999. Back in the first section they have been
more comfortable and came 5th in 2000 and 13th last year. They were 6th at the
Folkestone contest. Ipswich Co-op have performed well here over the years and
came 2nd at the contest in 1997 and have followed this up with a run of 9th, 9th
again, 4th and 5th last year. They came 3rd at the Harrow contest and 8th at Folkestone
in the top flight last year.
KM Gillingham were third last year after not
competing in 2000. They too have been in the top flight in the last five years
and came 5th in 1998 and 8th in 1999. They were 3rd at Folkestone and 2nd at Milton
Keynes, but showed fine form in winning both at Hove and Harrow last year. Luton
meanwhile slumped to 15th place last year after three years in which they were
pushing for a podium place. They came 6th in 1998, 5th in 1999 and 7th in 2000,
so the result of 2001 was a major let down for the band.
Brass are back in the first section following a four year spell in the top flight
in which they performed well enough but couldn't quite make it to the podium places.
They were 8th in 1998, 9th in '99, 7th in 2000 and 10th last year, so they were
very nearly surviving. They return however back to the section they last played
in in 1997 when they came 4th. They come to the contest after winning the East
Anglia contest in this section last year.
Tilbury meanwhile last performed
at this level in 1998 and 1999 when they came 15th and 13th and lost their status.
They soon returned however and they came 4th in the lower section in 2000 and
won it last year in some style. They then went onto the National Finals in Preston
where they came 14th. Finally, Welwyn Garden City came 4th here last year after
coming 10th the year before and 3rd in 1999. They were second section champions
here in 1998 and came 5th at the Folkestone contest and 7th at Pontins last year.
1. Alliance Brass
2. Staines Brass
3. KM Gillingham
4. Welwyn Garden City
5. Ipswich Co-op
6. Hatfields of Colchester
1. KM Gillingham
2. Welwyn Garden City
3. Denham Hendon
5. Matthews Norfolk Brass
6. Capital Concert Brass
Dark Horse: Brent Brass