2005 Regionals Retrospective - What happened where...

3-Apr-2005

Malcolm Wood looks back at the highs and lows of this years Regional Championships.


North of England – Saturday 26th and Sunday 27th February

A touch of winter arrived in Britain on the run up to the contest, but it didn't stop bands descending on Darlington's Dolphin Centre for the first Regional Contest.  Easington Colliery became the first victors of the weekend in the First Section, whilst Five Rivers Brass took the honours in the Fourth Section.

Half of the 4BR team became ecstatic at the news that the Welsh Rugby team were fighting back against the French and when news came through of a third consecutive victory in the Six Nations, life was truly wonderful.

Sunday was an interesting day too.  Adjudicator Derek Broadbent received praise from 4BR for his constructive comments to the bands at the conclusion of the Second Section.  Derek's insight and honest appraisal was first class and a real joy to listen too. 

Lockwood Brass and GT Peterlee were certainly happy with Derek's comments as he gave them a trip to Harrogate, whilst Alan Morrison agreed that 'Tam O'Shanter' was a tough ask for Third Section bands on Sunday morning where Dearham and Hetton got his vote.

An inverted or Conventional turn was the talking point (of course we mean ‘turning') for the bands in the Championship Section.  Reg Vardy drew number one and played the turns in ‘Rienzi' in a conventional manner, only to inform 4BR, British Beandsman and BBW, that they feared disqualification for doing so. 

A directive had been issued that bands would be penalised if they played the turns incorrectly, but whilst this presented plenty of debate, it never affected the overall result.  Reg Vardy took another North of England title with Chester-le-Street Riverside and BHK (Horden) UK making the journey South in October


Midlands and Yorkshire – Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th March

Prior to the Midlands contest it was all about would they or wouldn't they?  Ibstock Brick Brass competing that is, and having been given permission to play, acquitted themselves well in the presence of Robert Morgan in the First Section.

Raunds Temperance and Bedworth Brass booked their places in this section here, but many of the audience, 4BR included, assumed Roy Roe would send Kibworth to Harrogate, only to give them third place and no finals trip.

Third Section bands found it a tough Sunday morning with Phoenix West Midlands Brass coming out on top, and once again, Roy Roe caused a bit of a stir when pronouncing Woolley Pritchard Sovereign Brass and Desford as qualifiers when Ransome were for many cast iron certainties to qualify after a great performance of ‘Rienzi'.

Over in Yorkshire, a TV crew saw the best Championship Section contest of all the areas, with Grimethorpe and Richard Evans being crowned victors from the late draw of thirteen, whilst many fancied Black Dyke who had to content themselves with second place after an early draw.

The First Section victors came towards the end of the contest with Hatfield Main and Yorkshire Imps taking the honours.  It was tough going though in the Second Section, whereas Grange Moor stormed to victory on the Sunday morning in the Third.

Four new bands competed for the first time ever here bringing plenty of cheer to the Fourth Section.  Gawthorpe Brass and Garforth Community being chosen to make the short journey to Harrogate.


Midlands, Scotland, Wales, West of England – Saturday 12th and Sunday 13th March, North West, Sunday 13th March

An action packed weekend this one as the Regional heats took place in five different areas. 

The second weekend for the Midlands at Burton was a delight for Shirland Miners Training Band who found favour with Malcolm Brownbill, whilst the Sunday was a bit of a marathon with Matlock coming out on top of the twenty one competitors.

Scotland saw a number of fancied runners fall by the way side in the Championship Section.  Kirkintilloch and Scottish Co-op (playing from number one) both missed out here, whilst Whitburn put in another solid offering and will return to London with Newtongrange surprising more than a few people with a clean interpretation.

Johnstone Silver took the First Section by three clear points with KIrkintilloch Kelvin joining them at the Finals.  ‘Variations' proved to be another tough ask in the Second Section, but there's not much gets past David James who steered Granite City Brass to a two point victory over Lochgelly.

Shott's St Patrick's proved that you can win off number one in the Third Section whilst the Silver bands of Broxburn and Coalburn took the honours in the fourth.

The Welsh were more interested in discovering their Rugby team had beaten the Scots to continue dreaming of a Grand Slam, than who won the band contest.  Maybe they already knew what William Relton's decision was as BAYV romped to another victory with BTM and Cwmaman taking the other qualification spots meaning disappointment for Tredegar.

Parc & Dare and Wrexham Brass had the last laugh as ‘Comedy' took them to Harrogate whilst Deiniolen and RAF St Althan overcame the troubled test of 'Variations' in Section Two.  Newtown and Newbridge Celynen will fly the Welsh flag for the Third Section after being a class above the rest whilst the Fourth Section was three mini-contests rolled into one with Royal Oakeley and Steve Tighe who will be joined by Llwydcoed.

On the English Riviera, Torquay hosted the West of England Championships that certainly got 4BR readers tapping away at your keyboards, due to the comments (and opinions) of the adjudicators and the lack of our usual coverage.

Contesting wouldn't be what it is without the odd hint of controversy and Messrs Hurdley and Roe became the main contenders for your wrath as a result of their judgements in the contests and comments from the stage.

As with the Scots though. The form guide was turned upside down with Bournemouth Concert Brass and St Austell Town finishing in front of the likes of Flowers and Mount Charles. 

Melvin White had his first qualification guaranteed on ‘Comedy' with Aldbourne whilst St Keverne took the honours in the Second Section, Portishead Town the Third and Verwood Concert Brass were victors in the Fourth Section.

Finally on this marathon weekend, Blackpool's Winter Gardens saw the North West have its Regional contests all under the same roof and with the luxury of being completed on the same day.

One a day with temperatures reminiscent of January, British Open Champions, Fodens were the big name who missed out on a trip to the finals, finishing behind a rejuvenated Faireys under Peter Parkes (who for the third weekend in a row gained a qualification place for London on ‘Rienzi') and Leyland who had the talented Anne Britt Scherrer-Hermansen in the principal's chair to help them to victory.

Freckleton and Ashton played next to one another in the draw, and got John Berryman's nod of approval to go to Harrogate, with Wire Brass taking the honours in the Second Section, Trinity Girls taking the glory in the Third and Oldham (Lees) Band just couldn't believe they'd taken victory on 'Divertimento' after seventh months together.

Banding stalwart, Alan Lawton received a standing ovation as he was acknowledged by the North West Region for his services to banding.


London & SC 19th and 20th March

Spring finally arrived and descended on Stevenage for the final weekend of the Regionals.  The biggest turn out of the areas, saw seventy eight bands (only four withdrawals) compete and they loved every single minute of it.

The announcement of the results was always greeted with plenty of enthusiasm, and David Hobbs and his team ran a very efficient contest.

Jersey Premier Brass became the first victors in the Third Section courtesy of Gavin Saynor's interpretation of ‘Tam O'Shanter', whilst Staines Brass will return to Harrogate for the second successive year in September for what conductor Ian McElligott describes as ‘unfinished business' (they came third last year) where they will be joined by Clacton with the consistent Melvin White at the helm.

Sunday saw Sandhurst Silver and Roger Burke not feeling pressured by coming up from the Third Section to the Second and taking victory, guaranteeing a finals berth for the fifth year running.

Stan Lippeatt wondered whether it was still Sunday after a marathon stint in the box for twenty bands in the Fourth Section, giving victory to Norfolk Wherry Brass, and Redbridge continued their dominance in this area by taking victory for the fourth year in a row on ‘Rienzi'.

Malcolm Brownbill, Stan Lippeatt and David Read all gave the sort of critiques that are needed at the end of each contest.  All three really impressed with their post contest opinions and thoughts that were appreciated by the audience as they waited for the results. 

Before the Regionals, plenty of debate was given as to the suitability of the test pieces for the sections and that's what they became, a test.  Many tasted glory, and others will fight another day.

That's it, the 2005 Regionals over before you know it, and a year that every Welsh person will never forget.  In Australia its cricket, in England, football, but for the people of Wales, it's rugby.  Saturday 19th March is a day that will never be forgotten.  It's taken twenty-seven years to savour the emotion of a Grand Slam.  It's happy days at 4BR!

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