2004 Pontins Brass Band Championships - Harry and Margaret Mortimer Championship

28-Oct-2004

Harry and Margaret Mortimer Championship
Test Piece: Dances and Arias - Edward Gregson
Adjudicators: David Read and Malcolm Brownbill
Sunday 31st October
Commence: 10.00am


Pontins logoFirst Prize: 2,500
Second Prize: 1,300
Third Prize: 700
Fourth Prize: 450
Soloists Award: The Arthur Bedwell Memorial Trophy

24 good quality bands will have to get to grips with Gregson's work, which was initially written for the 1984 National Finals, and which features the use of two flugel horns. Nothing too revolutionary about the work (there is a direct musical lineage to early works such as "Connotations") but it remains a demanding enough work out for even the best bands around.

The Competing Bands:

Ashton under Lyne
Conductor:
Phil Chalk

Past Record at Pontins:
2003: 5th (D. Morris)
2002: 4th
2001: 6th
2000: Winners 1st Section
1999: Winners 2nd Section

2004 Form Guide:
A bit of an up and down year so far for the band, what with a non appearance at the Regionals to start with, but a fine recovery at first Tameside and then the Senior Cup where they came 4th under Phil Chalk and gained promotion to the Grand Shield for 2005.

If they repeat that form here then they should feature once more in the prize list - something they have done by coming in the top six here for the past few years. 


David HirstBedwas, Trethomas and Machen
Conductor:
David Hirst

Past Record at Pontins:
2003: 11th (D. Stowell)
2002: 18th
2001: 9th
2000: 17th
1999: 12th
1998: 8th 

2004 Form Guide:
Missed out on a trip to the Albert Hall at the  Welsh Regional Championships, but recovered well at the Senior Cup where they just missed out on promotion to the Grand Shield after coming 5th under David Stowell.

A fine record in the past here (including a couple of wins), but not so in the last few years and twelve months ago they came a disappointing 11th. On their day though they have more than enough talent to make a considerable mark.


BHK (UK) Horden Band
Conductor:
TBA

Past Record at Pontins:
2003: 6th in 1st Section (P. Parkes)
2002: DNE
2001: DNE
2000: DNE
 
2004 Form Guide:
Another band who just missed out on a trip to the Albert Hall at the North of England Regionals when they came 4th under the baton of Major Peter Parkes. They followed that up with a decent debut at the Senior Trophy where they came 14th, so they have shown that since gaining promotion from the First Section last year they have more than enough about them to do well at this level.

Last year they came 6th in the First Section, but they should be confident of repeating that here this time in the top tier. May depend though on who is in front of them.  


Michael FowlesBT
Conductor:
Michael Fowles

Past Record at Pontins:
2003: 10th (M. Fowles)
2002: DNC
2001: 3rd
2000: DNC
1999: DNC
 
2004 Form Guide:
An excellent 5th place at the North West Regional Championships and a fine 3rd place at the Senior Cup shows that BT could be a band to look out for here.

Not a bad record here as well, with them 3rd in 2001. 10th place last year was a disappointment, so they will be looking to improve on that for sure.


Keith LeonardDerwent Brass
Conductor:
Keith Leonard

Past Record at Pontins:
2003: 11th in 1st Section (K. Leonard)
2002: DNE
2001: DNE
2000: DNE
 
2004 Form Guide:
Derwent came 11th in the First Section here last year, but since making the move up to the top section in 2004 they have just about held their own. 10th place at the Midlands Regional Championships was a decent effort, but they will have to play to the top of their form to make a real mark here though. 


Dennis HadfieldDobcross Silver
Conductor:
Dennis Hadfield

Past Record at Pontins:
2003: 7th (D. Hadfield)
2002: Winners of 1st Section
2001: DNC
2000: 3rd in 1st Section
1999: DNC
 
2004 Form Guide:
7th place at the North West Regional Championships showed the promise and that was followed by a well earned runners up spot at the Senior Trophy in Blackpool.

Dennis Hadfield has the ability to bring the best out of his bands (as he has done in the past, so this could be the year when they make an impression in the top six here.


James CantGlossop Old
Conductor:
James Cant

Past Record at Pontins:
2003: 6th (J. Cant)
2002: DNC
2001: 18th
2000: DNC
 
2004 Form Guide:
A poor return at the Midlands Regional Championships saw Glossop come a very disappointing 13th and last, but they did show an improvement at the Grand Shield where they came 17th to safeguard their position there for 2005. Jim Cant deserves a bit of good fortune - he works damn hard with any band he fronts, so it would be nice to report a repeat of last years result.


Linda NicholsonHaydock
Conductor:
Linda Nicholson

Past Record at Pontins:
2003: DNE (Did Not Enter)
2002: 8th
2001: 3rd in 1st Section
2000: DNE
 
2004 Form Guide:
A pretty good start to the year with a well deserved 6th place at the North West Regional Championships was followed by a poor showing at the Senior Cup where they could only manage 17th place and lost their place for 2005. Lynda Nicholson is a fine motivator of young players and if they can repeat the form of a couple of years ago when they made an appearance at London and the National Finals they should do well. 


Mark BenthamHepworth (Persimmon Homes)
Conductor:
Mark Bentham

Past Record at Pontins:
2003: 2nd (M. Bentham)
2002: 12th
2001: 8th
2000: 18th
1999: 16th
1998: 7th in First Section
 
2004 Form Guide:
One of the real high achievers of 2003 have found 2004 a little bit tougher as they could only manage 9th place at the Yorkshire Regional Championships, when they had realistic hopes of a possible challenge for a trip to London. No Masters appearance, but a return to form and 6th place at the Grand Shield. They have the talent and the motivation and should be one of the favourites to better last years performance and possibly come away with a first Pontins title. 


Kevin WadsworthInnovate Skelmanthorpe
Conductor:
Kevin Wadsworth

Past Record at Pontins:
2003: Winners (K. Wadsworth)
2002: DNE
2001: DNE
2000: DNE
 
2004 Form Guide:
The reigning champions return again to defend their title, and after coming 10th at the Yorkshire Regional Championships (one behind rivals Hepworth) they headed for Blackpool where they came 8th (two behind Hepworth).

They have shown that they have what it takes to do very well here though and they should be confident of making it a double if they play to the type of form they showed here a twelve month ago.


Dave LeaJaguar Coventry
Conductor:
Dave Lea

Past Record at Pontins:
2003: DNE
2002: DNE
2001: DNE
2000: DNE
 
2004 Form Guide:
A bit of a slow start to the year picked up with a hard earned 6th place at the Midlands Regional Championships and another good solid result at the Grand Shield where they came 12th. Dave Lea works his charges well and they should be looking forward to making some sort of impression here this year.


John BerrymanKibworth
Conductor:
John Berryman

Past Record at Pontins:
2003: DNE
2002: DNE
2001: 12th
2000: 7th
 
2004 Form Guide:
A up and down year so far at the major contests for the Kibworth band under John Berryman. His interpretation of Tristan Encounters didn't find favour in the Midlands where they came 11th out of 13, but come the Grand Shield and Blackpool they put in a fine show to just miss out on a qualification place for the British Open itself. If they can reproduce that type of form they should feature highly here.


Neil JowettLindley
Conductor:
Neil Jowett

Past Record at Pontins:
2003: 9th (N. Jowett)
2002: 11th
2001: Winners of 1st Section
2000: 9th in First Section
1999: DNC

2004 Form Guide:
12th place at the Yorkshire Regional Championships was followed by a poor result at the Grand Shield where they came 21st and lost their place for 2005.

Neil Jowett though has the knack of bringing out quality shows from his charges and since they were promoted from the First Section they have continued to make solid improvements.  9th last year was a decent return, but they will be looking for a further move up the prize list this year. 


Duncan BeckleyNewstead Welfare
Conductor:
Duncan Beckley

Past Record at Pontins:
2003: DNE
2002: DNE
2001: DNE
2000: 16th in 1st Section
 
2004 Form Guide:
Newstead continue to make solid progress and they came 8th at the Midlands this year - a bit of a disappointment of truth be told. They also failed to impress the judges at the Grand Shield also where they came 20th and lost their place. They will therefore be hoping to make an impression here and with Duncan Beckley at the helm they should make the most of the usual hard working preparation.


Ian PorthousePennine Brass
Conductor:
Ian Porthouse

Past Record at Pontins:
2003: 8th (I. Porthouse)
2002: 6th
2001: 2nd in First Section
2000: DNE
 
2004 Form Guide:
Pennine continue to make fine progress under the baton of the new father of young Harry James, Ian Porthouse. 7th place at the difficult Yorkshire Regional Championships was followed by another fine result at the Grand Shield weekend where they came runners up in the Senior Cup and gained promotion to the Grand Shield. 8th last year here was a bit below par, so they will be determined to put that behind this time.


Graham O'ConnorRansome
Conductor:
Graham O'Connor

Past Record at Pontins:
2003: DNE
2002: DNE
2001: DNE
2000: DNE
 
2004 Form Guide:
A very poor Regional Championships where they could only gain 4th place was very quickly put behind them when they came to Blackpool and won the Senior Cup off the number 1 draw slot. Add that to the 5th place at the Masters and you should be hearing one of the favourites for the title. Graham O'Connor is at the helm, so they will be well prepared for sure. One to listen out for.


Stan LippeattRatby
Conductor:
Stan Lippeatt

Past Record at Pontins:
2003: DNE
2002: DNE
2001: DNE
2000: DNE
 
2004 Form Guide:
Mike Fowles took the band at the Regional Championships in the Midlands where they came a decent 5th place, but they fell away somewhat at the Senior Cup when all they could manage was 18th place under the direction of David Maplestone. 


St. Austell Town
Conductor:
David Loukes

Past Record at Pontins:
2003: 12th (M. White)
2002: 6th in 1st Section
2001: DNE
2000: DNE
 
2004 Form Guide:
One of the youngest bands in terms of the average age of the players, St. Austell came 5th under the direction of David Loukes at the West of England Regional Championships and they didn't make it into the Spring Festival in Blackpool.  Lots of talented players though and a fine record of achievement here in the past, so can those glory days be set to return once more?


Staffordshire
Conductor:
TBA

Past Record at Pontins:
2003: DNE
2002: 16th 
2001: 16th
2000: 13th
 
2004 Form Guide:
Staffordshire are fresh from their well received showing at the Royal Albert Hall where they produced a fine show under the baton of Steve Bastable to come 13th. That has been the highlight of the year so far, although they also came runners up at the Midlands Regional Championships and won the Senior Trophy under John Hinckley at Blackpool. They will be fancying their chances to add to the silverware here then. 


Derek RenshawStocksbridge
Conductor:
Derek Renshaw

Past Record at Pontins:
2003: DNE
2002: 7th
2001: 4th in 1st Section
2000: DNE
 
2004 Form Guide:
The year hasn't quite panned out as Stocksbridge would have hoped it seemed at the beginning of 2004. 11th place at the difficult Yorkshire Regional Championships was hard earned, but slightly disappointing for them and that was followed by a very disappointing 19th place at the Grand Shield that meant demotion for 2005. They have a good record here over the years and will want to make amends for what has been a bit of a downer so far in 2004.


Melvin WhiteSWT Woodfalls
Conductor:
Melvin White

Past Record at Pontins:
2003: DNE
2002: DNE
2001: 5th
2000: 13th
 
2004 Form Guide:
SWT Woodfalls will be looking to maintain the form that they showed at the Masters in Cambridge, rather than the form they showed at the Regional Championships. 4th at Cambrdige was a tremendous result for a tremendous performance, but the 4th in Torquay was a poor return for a band who can really shine if the mood takes them. If they are still riding the crest of that wave from the Corn Exchange in May then they could well feature highly here.


Tongwynlais Temperance
Conductor:
Bryn James

Past Record at Pontins:
2003: 17th (S. Sykes)
2002: DNE
2001: 8th in 1st Section
2000: DNE
 
2004 Form Guide:
Tongwynlais are a banding moving steadily in the right direction under the baton of Bryn James. The were slightly disappointing at the Welsh Regional Championships were they came 6th when they were hoping to get one of the qualification places on offer, and they once more didn't play to their potential at Blackpool where they came 13th at the Senior Trophy. Lots of talent there, but they will have to perform above themselves to make a real mark. 


Philip LawrenceWelwyn Garden City
Conductor
: Philip Lawrence

Past Record at Pontins:
2003: DNE
2002: 8th in 1st Section
2001: 7th in 1st Section
2000: DNE
 
2004 Form Guide:
Welwyn Garden City were 7th at the London and Southern Counties Regional Championships in Stevenage in March, but they have by all accounts been upping their form since then under the baton of the composer Phil Lawrence. It will be interesting to see how they get on then?


Westoe (STHCT)
Conductor:
TBA

Past Record at Pontins:
2003: DNE
2002: DNE
2001: DNE
2000: DNE
 
2004 Form Guide:
A bit of a mystery this one for us, as Westoe didn't take part in the North of England Regional Championships this year and have been fairly quite for a while on the contesting front (we apologise if we are way out on this though!). What form they bring to the contest then could be anyone's guess.


4BR Prediction:

This is going to be one heck of a fight for the title we think. Nearly all the 24 bands here will harbour hopes (realistic or otherwise) of coming away from Prestatyn as Pontins Champions, but there are a group of about six bands who should, if they play to form, take note of the messages coming from the adjudicators, and master the dead acoustic of the hall, put themselves ahead of the others in the top six at least.

Look out therefore for the likes of BTM, Hepworth, Skelmanthorpe, Pennine, Ransome, Staffordshire and SWT Woodfalls, with the likes of Dobcross, BT, Kibworth and Stocksbridge pushing them close.

It's a test piece that has more than enough about it to test the best bands, so there will a fair few causalities on display here as well, but if things go to the 4BR form book (and of course they never do) then we think the top six will be announced as follows:

1. Hepworth (Persimmon Homes)
2. Ransome
3. Pennine Brass
4. SWT Woodfalls
5. Innovate Skelmanthorpe
6. Dobcross Silver

Dark Horse: BTM

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