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2004 Regional Championships - Prediction retrospective

John James takes a light hearted look at how 4BR did in the 2004 Regional Championship prediction stakes - the biggest brass band handicap race in the world.

We put our money where our big mouths were, but did we come away a few bob in our pockets or did the bookies clean up as usual?

This how we did in the Championship Sections.


You may be reluctant (and so are we) to call 4BR the complete brass band ‘Prediction Machine', but what we do though, purely for a slice of fun, is attempt to bring everything we know about predicting contest results together into one clear and precise list for each contest – Section by Section for this year’s Regional Championships.

Our entertaining forecasting of who we think will be the most likely prizewinners continues to be one of 4BarsRest most popular features. We never profess to knowing that we will get them all right, but at least we are prepared each year to put our necks on the line.

Well that says it - 4BR has become and will continue to be the brass band FDPO (Fundamental Dodgy Prediction Outfit) and whilst we have always felt our predictions have generally been very solid we have never fully analyzed them before.

For the first time here is an overall view of the 4BR predictions for the Regionals 2004. So have we been any good?

We have long been aware that there has been a wariness to accept that a mention by the FDPO is a positive plus point – more like a kiss of death for many, so we apologise in advance if a mere mention from 4BR come contest time sends a shiver up the collective bandroom spine.

We were always confident that the predicted results for the Regionals 2004 would achieve a pretty reasonable return and so it proved. This year’s FDPO represented a most convincing forecast indeed! (We can hear the cheers the length and breadth of country as we speak)

Final Analysis

We named 280 bands in the complete Regionals inclusive of the ‘dark horses’ and of those we named 178 actually went on to achieve a place in the top 6 - a tremendous return of 63.6%. This was only a start because as the stakes got higher our results got better.

If we take only the top 4 places in the eight Regions our band predictions covered 126 bands (for a possible 160 places up for grabs) giving a 78.7% return.

We topped this though with a 81% return in naming qualifying bands going on to take part in the National Finals.

When were asked ‘think about it” - we think our predictions speak for themselves and we hope that you for one were one of our “lucky numbers” on this occasion.

It does get harder to get the predictions in the higher percentages in the lower sections there is no denying that. As Caroline Irwin makes the point in the comments page a little while ago, bands can fold or dramatically change in a year.

We have contributors to this site with a wealth of experience all across the sections from Championship to Fourth Section so we know full well the problems with losing players, moves with higher education, transfers to higher sections, band politics and the like (we’ve been there and worn the tee-shirt!) so we would like to conclude by saying good luck to all the qualifying bands and our best wishes for the Finals later in the year.

Trusting that you have enjoyed this round up for the Regional Championships 2004 and that if you get a call in our predictions for the Finals you view it as a lucky black cat and not a ‘kiss of death’ !!!!!

FDPO (Fundamental Dodgy Prediction Outfit)


To begin we look back at the Championship Section this year.

We named 56 bands in the Championship Sections around the country inclusive of ‘dark horses’ that were likely to finish in the frame, and of the 56 we named, 41 actually went on to achieve a place in the top 6 - a decent enough return of 73.2%.

If we take only the top 4 places in the eight Regions our band predictions covered 31 bands (of a possible 32 bands) giving a staggering 96.9% return!

Our FDPO represents a light-hearted feature and was started to add a bit of zest to the usual contest scene. The fact that the 4BR team have years of experience in brass bands has probably got something to do with their often-frequent accuracy - a fact we perhaps sometimes understate.

It must be said though that the predictions have never been meant to be taken too seriously, enough to foster rivalries and the like, more viewed as friends discussing the outcome of a football match prior to kick off.

So, on to the results.

Our best results must be the 13 places we nailed absolutely by position and prediction, the 13 where we were within one place either side and the Scotland Championship Section were we placed in absolutely correct order those bands finishing 1st to 5th.

If we look at the Regions individually the Midlands was our weakest with only 3 of our predictions coming good and this was just bettered in the North were 4 of our bands figured. That was it though for any slips in our prediction skills.

In the North West and Yorkshire we had 5 in the frame, whilst in Wales, Scotland, London/S.C. and in the West of England we named every band that finished in the top 6 frame in our predictions.

Of the bands we thought might make a trip to the Albert Hall (rather than return a place in the frame) Flowers and Desford didn’t return the results we had faith that they would.

That said, let’s line up the bands in this year’s predictions with their actual place and our prediction to follow.

The Winners

BAYV Cory - 4BR predicted 1st
(Reg Vardy) Ever Ready - 4BR predicted 1st
Scottish Co-op - 4BR predicted 1st
Yorkshire Building Society - 4BR predicted 1st
JAG Mount Charles - 4BR predicted 2nd
Redbridge Brass - 4BR predicted 2nd
Leyland - 4BR predicted 3rd
Travelsphere Holidays - 4BR predicted 3rd

The Runners-Up

Black Dyke - 4BR predicted 2nd
Tredegar -4BR predicted 2nd
Whitburn - 4BR predicted 2nd
Fairey FP (Music) - 4BR predicted 1st
Alliance - 4BR predicted 3rd
Camborne - 4BR predicted 3rd
EYMS - 4BR predicted 3rd
Staffordshire - 4BR predicted 5th


3rd Place

Kirkintilloch -4BR predicted 3rd
Aveley and Newham - 4BR predicted 1st
Fishburn - 4BR predicted 2nd
Brighouse and Rastrick - 4BR predicted 4th
Wingates - 4BR predicted 6th
Yeovil - 4BR predicted 6th
Cwmaman Institute Tower Colliery - 4BR predicted Dark Horse
Woolley Pritchard Sovereign Brass- 4BR predicted no placing


4th Place

BHK (UK) Ltd Horden - 4BR predicted 4th
Unison Kinneil - 4BR predicted 4th
SWT Woodfalls - 4BR predicted 4th
Fodens Richardson - 4BR predicted 2nd
Ransome - 4BR predicted 2nd
Beaumaris - 4BR predicted 3rd
Sellers International - 4BR predicted 5th
Friary Guildford - 4BR predicted as Dark Horse


5th Place

Kingdom Brass - 4BR predicted 5th
Grimethorpe Colliery - 4BR predicted 3rd
BTM - 4BR predicted 4th
Kidlington - 4BR predicted 6th
St. Austell - 4BR predicted Dark Horse
British Telecom - 4BR predicted no place
Chester le Street Riverside - 4BR predicted no place
Ratby Cooperative - 4BR predicted no place


6th Place

Tongwynlais Temperance - 4BR predicted 6th
Flowers - 4BR predicted 1st
Soham Comrades - 4BR predicted 5th
Bon Accord - 4BR predicted Dark Horse
Haydock - 4BR predicted Dark Horse
Harrogate - 4BR predicted no place
Jaguar (Coventry) - 4BR predicted 6th
Rothwell Temperance - 4BR predicted 6th


Outside the Top 6

Desford Colliery - Came 7th - 4BR predicted 1st
Dobcross – Came 7th - 4BR predicted 5th
Nestle Rowntree - Came 7th - 4BR predicted 6th
Besses o’ th’ Barn - Came 8th - 4BR predicted 4th
Burry Port - Came 8th - 4BR predicted 5th
Cottingham - Came 8th - 4BR predicted 5th
Bo'ness & Carriden - Came 8th - 4BR predicted 6th
Newstead Welfare - Came 8th - 4BR predicted Dark Horse
Thorseby Colliery – Came 9th - 4BR predicted 4th
Hepworth – Came 9th - 4BR – predicted 6th
Broughton’s Brass – Came 9th - 4BR predicted Dark Horse
Bodmin – Came 11th - 4BR predicted 5th
City of Oxford - Came 12th - 4BR predicted 4th
Glossop Old – Came 13th - 4BR predicted 6th

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