The Mineworkers Championships 2002
4BR reviews the thrills and spills of the CISWO contest held in
Blackpool over the weekend as Grimethorpe retain their Miners crown
Grimethorpe Colliery UK Coal ensured there were to be no upsets
at the CISWO Mineworkers Finals this year when they took the title
for the 28th time in their history, and the for the 18th consecutive
year on Saturday 16th November.
The last time Grimey had tasted defeat here was in 1982, three
years prior to the National Union of Mineworkers itself being defeated
in the last great industrial dispute of the Thatcher Government,
so there was little hope of lesser mortals perhaps inflicting another
reversal of fortune a second time.
So it proved, as Grimethorpe, directed on this occasion by James
Gourlay off the number 2 spot and in front of the traditional open
adjudicator (this year it was David Read) secured the top prize
of £1000 and took home the Warwick Vase to it’s perennial
resting place in the bandroom trophy case. Even with odds blips
and blobs and touch of tuning problems in places, it was a worthy
victory for the band and gave James Gourlay his second successive
Unlike previous years though, 2002 saw a strong effort from the
other bands to knock Grimethorpe off their perch and second place
went to a very fine performance from Ever Ready directed by Ray
Farr who took the stage as the penultimate band and very nearly
did enough to win the title for the first time. There were plenty
of advocates in the audience for them come the results. However,
they just didn’t quite have the edge that the winners seem
to have about the technical aspects of the performance and so both
band and conductor will have to wait to see if they can break their
duck here. (Ray Farr only took Grimey the once, in 1981 when they
Third place went to a delighted Fishburn under the baton of Graham
O’Connor who secured a podium place and a cheque for £750
with a solid showing – one that could mark the start of a
return to form for the band after a disappointing 2001 season.
Fourth place was taken by Stan Lippeatt and Thorseby, who set the
standard off the number 1 draw with a solid and workmanlike performance
that many had to come a touch higher. Fourth place and a cheque
for £625 was their reward – but it showed that they
put behind them the disappointments of Pontins – this was
a good show indeed.
Below these four there were a group who were difficult to separate,
but David Read knew what he was looking for and plumbed for Dalmellington
in fifth, Gregg’s sixth and Newtongrange seventh. All had
their moments but lacked the overall quality of the bands above
them – Gregg’s in particular benefited from some lovely
direction from Major Ian McElligott.
Finally the bottom three weren’t too far behind the rest,
but struggled a little with the technical aspects and this highlighted
deficiencies that were rightly penalised.
The overall standard though was good, with the top four giving
fine accounts of a challenging test piece. Grimethorpe were the
winners for the umpteenth time, but there was not a quarrel about
the result and once more they can proudly hold aloft the banner
of being the CISWO Champions again. The 4BR predictions weren’t
too bad, as we picked the top two in our preview whilst our others
in order came 5th, 4th, 7th and 3rd. Not bad.
The First Section meanwhile saw victory go to Barnsley Building
Society conducted by Chris Hirst who won the title for the third
time since 1995 (the other victory came in 1999) when they overcame
the set work “Symphony of Marches” to win by a clear
two point margin from Welsh representatives, Pontardulais conducted
by Dennis Mahoney.
Playing off the number six draw, they gave a well shaped performance
that had excellent soloists and was never rushed or overblown and
well deserved to win the top prize of £875 and the CISWO Challenge
Trophy. Meanwhile Pontardulais who played before them also gave
a fine account of Vinter’s work and did just enough to pip
Riddings into third spot. They opened proceedings with a strong
performance off the number one draw, but it just had too many slips
to challenge the top two bands closer. Fourth place went to our
pre match favourites Shirland Miners Welfare, who never quite out
in the performance they would have hoped for, whilst fifth place
went to Kippax. Scottish representatives, Dunaskin Doon popped up
to come home 6th.
Below this it was the usual tale of counting the splits as too
many players spoiled the performances “going for broke”
when possibly a more restrained approach was needed. Still, nearly
all had their moments and the overall standard was pretty good.
Barnsley however were worthy winners and cold well have done a good
job in the higher section if they had the chance.
The 4BR predictions weren’t far off either, with our pre
match selections coming home 4th, 3rd, 2nd, 8th, 1st and 5th.
Section Two was won by Strata Brass, who prior to the contest we
knew nothing about. However, we were informed that the band from
Barnsley were previously known as Weaver Building Group, who had
come 8th at the Yorkshire Area Championships. Since July their sponsors
had changed their name - and so the band had to follow suit, so
that explains why we didn't quite know much about them! On this
form however they should be looking forward to the new contest season
as they won in some style – a clear two point margin from
Stanley Newmarket in second place, with Pride Valley a further two
points back in third.
Strata picked up £750 for their troubles as well as the British
Coal Corporation Challenge Trophy as they gave a very definitive
performance of the three movement “Music for Kantara”
by Kenneth Downie. The top two bands were informed were a class
above the rest on the day and so there were no quibbles with the
overall result. The 4BR predictions however were way out! We only
managed three of the top six, with our predictions coming home 4th,
7th, 9th, 11th, 3rd and 2nd – not too great eh – but
for Strata Brass, we bet they don’t care we didn’t give
them the kiss of death. Well done.
The Third Section saw victory go to Frickley South Elmshall Band
conducted by J. Wade, who put in a cracking performance of the set
work, “Music for a Festival” by Philip Sparke to pip
the youngsters of Shirland Welfare Training in second place, with
Buckhaven Methil Miners Band in third, a point further back.
We have been informed that all the band gave as good as they got
in this section and the overall standard was very good. The usual
mistakes at this level cost many of the bands, but overall there
was much to impress – especially from the winners and runners
up. Frickley took home with them the NUM Challenge Trophy plus the
tidy sum of £625.
Frickley knows what it takes to win here, as they did a double
in 1996 and 1997 but could only manage fifth last year. Shirland
meanwhile continue their rich progress (they competed here this
year after winning the Fourth Section for the past two years) and
will be a band to look out for in 2003 for sure. Third placed Buckhaven
made the long trip south from Scotland to deservedly take third
place, and improve greatly on last year’s 8th place.
The 4BR Predictions were awful though – sorry to put the
mockers on so many, and we could only manage joint 6th for out top
two tips, 2nd, 11th, 5th and 9th.
Lastly, a fine win in the Fourth Section for Lochgelly under the
baton of former CWS soprano star Gavin Lindsay. We tipped them before
the contest – and thankfully our usual curse didn’t
effect them as they played off the last band on draw to secure a
very impressive victory and take home with them £500 and the
NACODS Challenge Trophy. We heard the band in the Lower Section
Finals in Torquay earlier this year and were very impressed by the
band sound and the direction given by the MD. They were very unlucky
that day, but this time round the Gods (and in England too!) have
smiled upon them and they made the long journey home with a victory
Second place went to Hetton Silver, who we tipped to come 4th in
pour preview (so well done also), whilst the third place on the
rostrum was taken in fine style by Grange Moor.
As for out predictions – 1st, 5th, 10th, 2nd, 4th and 9th.