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4BarsRest World Rankings Review 2002
by the 4BR Rankings Guru - Mr. J Casey

In spite of the 2 major titles narrowly eluding them once again, Fodens Richardson’s remarkable consistency has enabled them to finish 2002 as the best band in the World. Victories at the North West Area and the All England Masters, backed up by runners-up places at the British Open and Brass in Concert and 4th prize at the National Championships ensured that their current total of 1413.02 points, an increase of 148.32 during 2002, is enough to put them ahead of Buy as you View Cory by the relatively small margin of 67.34 points. BayV Cory have themselves had a fantastic year, during which they picked up more points than any other band, their score increasing by 280.46 points by virtue of their victories at the Welsh Area and the British Open and their runners-up spot at the Royal Albert Hall.

Another band that can reflect on this year with great satisfaction is Williams Fairey. 2nd to Fodens at both the Area and the Masters and 6th at the Open was pretty standard stuff for Fairey’s in recent years, but their well-deserved return to winning ways at London served us with notice that the band who so dominated the 1990’s under Peter Parkes and James Gourlay are now equipped for more of the same under Allan Withington.

The prize for dark horse of the year undoubtedly goes to Cwmaman Institute. Having started the year in 41st position in the table, not too many would have tipped them to be on the fringes of the top 10 by mid September. Not satisfied with winning the Grand Shield in May they went on to snatch a place in the frame at Symphony Hall which catapulted them into 11th Place and accounts for their more than 600% increase in points during 2002.

The overseas band of the year title goes to Willebroek. As well as retaining the Belgian Championships, their 2nd place at the European Championships ensured that they climbed from 52nd to 23rd place in the World Rankings.

2002 was a good year for…………

2001

2002

Band

Total

+/-

4

2

Buy as you View Cory

1345.68

280.46

5

4

Williams Fairey

1187.02

234.01

41

11

Cwmaman Institute

257.91

222.45

3

1

Fodens Richardson

1413.02

148.32

25

16

Yorkshire Imperial Urquhart Travel

159.31

78.88

52

23

Willebroek

98.95

75.06

36

20

Besses O' Th' Barn

107.54

67.62

34

24

JAG Mount Charles

88.22

47.93

48

30

Seindorf Beaumaris

56.68

28.14

19

19

Sellers International

137.29

25.12

24

22

Desford Colliery

102.31

21.87

15

13

Kirkintilloch

185.56

19.52

17

17

Ever Ready

155.32

16.98

54

35

Redbridge Brass

37.49

16.78

-

65

Newstead Welfare

14.12

14.12

100

58

Provinciale Brassband Groningen

17.52

14.06

49

32

Bazuin-Oenkerk

41.54

13.79

65

50

Hepworth

26.80

13.43

-

67

Wakefield Metropolitan

13.23

13.23

97

61

Pemberton Old Wigan

16.66

12.99

The table above shows the 20 bands who have enjoyed the greatest increase in points during 2002 and contains a mixture of familiar names returning to form after some lean years, established bands making steady progress during the year and bands with slightly less illustrious histories making their first real mark on the contesting stage.

The one below shows the bands who may put 2002 down as an ‘annus horribilis’ and comprises exclusively established bands who have failed to live up to their contest form of previous years.

And a bad year for...

2001

2002

Band

Total

+/-

1

5

Yorkshire Building Society

1057.03

-504.86

12

15

CWS (Glasgow)

168.97

-139.81

9

9

Leyland

336.28

-131.18

11

14

Ransome

182.84

-130.04

7

7

Grimethorpe Colliery UK Coal

626.51

-119.86

14

21

Carlton Main

103.97

-91.55

8

8

Tredegar

490.69

-68.92

10

10

Whitburn

280.13

-64.71

6

6

Brighouse & Rastrick

794.11

-56.99

21

31

Point of Ayr

53.94

-55.75

22

29

Marple

59.30

-48.12

13

12

Travelsphere Holidays

201.57

-34.69

33

56

ASDA Stocksbridge

18.32

-24.58

20

25

Aveley & Newham

87.06

-24.01

28

40

BT

34.42

-20.96

31

41

Bodmin Town

31.83

-19.16

35

51

Wingates

22.26

-17.74

27

34

Fishburn

40.82

-16.90

29

36

Rothwell Temperance

37.71

-16.43

44

57

First City Brass

17.63

-15.69

There can be few better indicators of a band’s greatness than when a bad year includes a European Championship victory. However, although Yorkshire Building Society Band started the year with a real chance of exceeding Fairey’s 1998 score of over 2000 points, we should have known that the dreaded ‘even numbered year curse’ would hit them again. They will look back with great disappointment on 2002 that saw them finish 4th at their Area, 6th at the Masters, 9th at the Open and 6th at the National. Fortunately for them, YBS are in possession of the little known ‘odd numbered year curse’ which they have been inflicting regularly on every other top band since 1997 and it would be a fool who would dare to suggest that next year will be anything but glorious for them.

Whilst YBS had their European success to relieve the pain of 2002, one band used to success at the very highest level that had no contesting highlights this year is CWS (Glasgow). It started badly with a quite incredible 7th place at the Scottish Championships, got slightly worse with 4th at the Land O’ Burns contest and deteriorated further with 16th at the British Open and a return to the Grand Shield next year. Had 4BarsRest World Rankings been in existence in 1998, CWS would have been ranked 3rd at one point during that year and although they are a long way from that kind of form at the moment, their recent announcement of Nick Childs’ return must be considered as a step in the right direction and a better year in 2003 seems most likely.

As usual, Tredegar won loads of contests but their ranking points suffered as a result of falling at the first hurdle in the regionals at Swansea. In spite of having a lean year, Leyland managed to maintain their 9th position. This is mainly because the bands within touching distance of them at the start of the year had a fairly difficult time too. Whitburn started and finished in 10th place and were pretty consistent with 10th in both the Open and National, but they never quite reached the heights of 2001.

Meanwhile Ransome appear to be in freefall after their 2nd successive year in the top 5 fallers. It should of course be remembered that to be amongst the biggest fallers in any year, you have to have been pretty good in the first place.

The contests, with winners, featuring in this year’s rankings are:

South Somerset Entertainment JAG Mount Charles
Friesland Festival Groningen
Brass at the Guildhall Hepworth
Durham County Grading Contest Ever Ready
Cornwall Brass Band Association Contest JAG Mount Charles
Silkeblaes Lingby Taarbaek
Tameside Open Ashton Under Lyme
Carnegie Kirkintilloch
Ebbw Vale Contest Tredegar
Senior Cup EYMS
Grand Shield Cwmaman Institute
Senior Trophy Pemberton Old Wigan
Buxton Festival Glossop Old
West Lothian Jubilee Challenge Whitburn
West of Scotland Championships Kirkintilloch
Bugle Camborne Town
Eurobrass Kronhengen
Welsh National Eisteddfod Burry Port Town
Land O Burns UNISON Kinneil
Fife Charities Kingdom Brass
National 1st Section Staffordshire
Porthcawl Open Flowers
Wychavon Festival Flowers
Dronfield Entertainment Thoresby Colliery RJB
West Wales BBA Tredegar
European Open Burgermuzik Luzern
NWCBBA Contest Freckleton
Harry Mortimer Memorial Championships Tredegar
Whitburn Invitation UNISON Kinneil
SIDDIS Stavanger Brass
SWBBA Contest JAG Mount Charles
CISWO Finals Grimethorpe Colliery UK Coal
Treorchy Contest Tredegar
Wilkinson Northern Open Pennine Brass
North Wales Championship Northop
West of England Area SWT Woodfalls
London & Southern Counties Area Redbridge Brass
Midlands Area Desford Colliery
Welsh Area Buy as you View Cory
North West Area Fodens
Yorkshire Area Black Dyke
North of England Area Ever Ready
Scottish Championships Kirkintilloch
All England Masters Fodens
British Open Buy as you View Cory
National Championships Williams Fairey
Brass in Concert Grimethorpe Colliery UK Coal
Belgian Championships Willebroek
Swedish Championships Gothenburg
Dutch Championships Groningen
Swiss Championships BB Fribourg
Danish Championships Lyngby Taarbaek
North American Championships Brass Band Columbus & Illinois Brass Band
Northern Ireland Championships First Old Boys
New Zealand Championships Woolston Brass
Norweigian Championships Manger Musiklag

What’s ahead in 2003?
First of all the 4BarsRest World Rankings will now publish the top 100 of the 180 bands currently scoring points. In addition, from January 2003 any contest featuring a current top 100 band in the line up will be an official ranking contest and award points to at least the winners. Furthermore, our recent re-evaluation of the importance of overseas contest results will continue to take effect and provide greater opportunities for non-UK bands to progress up the table.

The possibility of introducing lower section rankings for each area (and nation) is currently being investigated and whilst it must be viewed as an arduous task at this stage, it may be possible to produce a meaningful system by January 2004 that could work under the same principle as the current one.

With these changes and the constant monitoring that takes place throughout the year, often in response to reader’s comments, to maintain the quality and credibility of the 4BRWR, we can guarantee that our rankings will continue to be not only the biggest but also the truest overall reflection of brass band contest results throughout the World.

Wishing you all a very successful 2003.

© J. Casey - 4BarsRest

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