2007 Midlands Regional Championship - Second Section

6-Mar-2007

Twelve bands line up to tackle Helen Perkins’ Carnival. A soft option after last year? Well, maybe, but there is still plenty to test the bands and a good few of them will fancy their chances here.


Sunday 11th March
Adjudicator: Alan Morrison & Simone Rebello
Test Piece: Carnival - Helen Perkin
Commences: 10.00am
Split Draw:  9.00am


Bilton Silver (Rugby)
Conductor:
B.E. Clarke

Last 10 Years:
2006: 16th in First Section (B. Clarke) (rel)
2005: 14th (B. Clarke)
2004: 7th in Second Section (prom) (B. Clarke)
2003: 7th (B. Clarke)
2002: 4th
2001: 14th
2000: 20th in First Section (rel)
1999: 12th in First Section
1998: 12th in First Section
1997: 11th in First Section

Veteran cornet player Brian Clarke will be keen to guide his band back into the First Section after relegation last year. If the band performs as it can Bilton have every chance of getting themselves into contention for a prize but the competition will be fierce.  


CarltonCarlton Brass
Conductor:
W. Ritchie BEM

Last 10 Years:
2006: 3rd (T. Wilson)
2005: 3rd (T. Wilson)
2004: 13th (T. Wilson)
2003: 2nd in Third Section (prom) (T. Wilson)
2002: 2nd (T. Wilson)
2001: Winners of Fourth Section (prom) (T. Wilson)
2000: 5th in Fourth Section (N/K)
1999: 21st in Fourth Section
1998: DNC
1997: DNC

Three must be a number that is wearing rather thin for Carlton Brass. They have occupied the third Regional spot for the last two years and also managed a third place at Butlins in January. Walter Ritchie takes the baton this year and both he and his players will be determined to get ahead of the band's bogey number. The band is likely to be a serious contender for the title on the day.   


City of Coventry
Conductor:
Stephen Cooper

Last 10 Years:
2006: 17th in First Section (S. Cooper) (rel)
2005: 15th (S. Lippeatt)
2004: 12th Championship section (P. Bailey) (rel)
2003: 10th (P. Bailey)
2002: 2nd in First Section (prom)
2001: 5th in First Section
2000: 4th in First Section
1999: 17th in First Section
1998: 8th in First Section
1997: 6th in First Section

Like near neighbours Bilton, City of Coventry will be hoping for a speedy return to the First Section following relegation last year. Twelfth position at Butlins however will have proved that life in the Second Section should not be underestimated and the band will need to perform at its best if it is to make an impression on the top six. 


DaventryDaventry Brass
Conductor:
Nigel Howard

Last 10 Years:
2006: 12th (N. Howard)
2005: 3rd in Third Section (prom) (P. Northey)
2004: 10th (P. Northey)
2003: Winners of Third Section (P. Northey)
2002: 13th
2001: 13th
2000: 4th
1999: 17th in Second Section (rel)
1998: 18th in Second Section
1997: 12th in Second Section

Daventry had something of a baptism of fire into the Second Section last year with Howard Snell's Images of the Millennium. Helen Perkin's Carnival should give the band a better chance of making an impression although the first priority for Nigel Howard and his players will be to get out of the relegation zone. 


harbHarborough
Conductor:
Chris Groom

Last 10 Years:
2006: 10th (C. Groom)
2005: 7th (C. Groom)
2004: 5th (C. Groom)
2003: 12th (C. Groom)
2002: 8th (C.Groom)
2001: 3rd (C. Groom)
2000: 14th (N/K)
1999: 9th
1998: 11th
1997: 8th

Chris Groom and Harborough have seen a promising start to their contesting year with a very creditable fifth place at Butlins. If recent form holds they should be capable of improving on last year's tenth place at Burton and the band will be hoping to get back to the top six spots it achieved in 2004 and 2001.


Lon EatonLong Eaton Silver Prize
Conductor:
Sharon Stansfield

Last 10 Years:
2006: Winners of Third Section (S. Stansfield) (prom)
2005: 4th (S. Stansfield)
2004: 4th (S. Stansfield)
2003: 2nd in Fourth Section (prom) (S. Stansfield)
2002: 3rd
2001: 13th
2000: 17th
1999: 23rd
1998: 16th
1997: 17th

What a year 2006 was for Sharon Stansfield and the Long Eaton Silver Band. Regional victory in Burton was followed by the ultimate triumph of National Third Section Champions whilst the band have even become TV stars, recently appearing in a Midlands news programme that charted its journey to Harrogate. Confidence will be riding high then and the band will be determined to continue its progress up the ranks with a strong Second Section debut.      


PhoenixPhoenix West Midlands Brass
Conductor:
David Maplestone

Last 10 Years:
2006: 8th (D. Bishop-Rowe)
2005: Winners of Third Section (prom) (D. Bishop Rowe)
2004: 5th (D. Bishop Rowe)
2003: Winners of Fourth Section (prom) (D. Bishop Rowe)
2002: 4th
2001: DNC
2000: DNC

Phoenix West Midlands Brass was one of our favourites to do well last year although in the event ended up in a disappointing eighth place. This year sees David Maplestone at the helm and the band go into the contest on the back of an excellent runner up position from a number one draw at Pontins. With intelligent direction from the middle we reckon this year could see a much improved Regional position for the band.  


PORTYPorthywaen Silver
Conductor:
David Thomas

Last 10 Years:
2006: 5th (D. Thomas)
2005: 5th (D. Thomas)
2004: 10th (D. Thomas)
2003: 11th (D. Thomas)
2002: 9th (D. Thomas)
2001: 8th (D. Thomas)
2000: 2nd in Third Section (prom) (N/K)
1999: 4th in Fourth Section (prom)
1998: 2nd in Fourth Section
1997: Winners of Fourth Section

Porthywaen have made steady progress in recent years under their long serving MD David Thomas. They did well to achieve fifth for the second consecutive year in 2006 on a tough piece and will be hoping to push on up the placings this year. Carnival could give the band a good opportunity to do just that but with several strong bands fighting for the top places it won't be easy.  


Shirebrook MW Unison
Conductor:
M. Wilcockson

Last 10 Years:
2006: 9th (M. Wilcockson)
2005: 12th (M. Wilcockson)
2004: 8th (M. Wilcockson)
2003: 17th (M. Wilcockson)
2002: 16th (M. Battersby)
2001: 17th in First Section (rel) (N/K)
2000: 18th in First Section (N/K)
1999: 6th (prom)
1998: 5th
1997: 7th

Shirebrook have struggled to make a meaningful mark on the Midlands Second Section in recent years but an eighth place at Butlins amongst good competition could be the catalyst for a stronger performance at this year's contest. Squeezing into the top six would be a significant step forward in the band's area fortunes.  


stamfordStamford Brass
Conductor:
John Fletcher

Last 10 Years:
2006: 11th (D. Hirst)
2005: 10th (G. Wyatt)
2004: 2nd Third Section (G. Wyatt) (prom)
2003: 7th (R. Prew)
2002: 14th in Second Section (rel)
2001: 17th in Second Section
2000: 17th in Second Section
1999: 15th in First Section (rel)
1998: 17th in First Section
1997: 5th in Second Section (prom)

Since the band's 2004 promotion from the Third Section, Stamford Brass have only just managed to hold their own in the Second Section. John Fletcher is the man in the middle this year and will be gunning to improve the band's record. The first priority though must be to get the band away from the potential drop zone.


Unity Brass (FMUFS)
Conductor:
R. Boulter

Last 10 Years:
2006: 6th (R. Boulter)
2005: DNC
2004: 6th (P. Norbury)
2003: Withdrew
2002: 12th
2001: 4th
2000: 9th in Championship Section (rel)
1999: 12th in Championship Section
1998: 2nd in First Section (prom)
1997: 5th in First Section

After missing a year in 2005 it was good to see Rob Boulter and Unity Brass bounce back last year with a solid sixth place. Since then the band has been busy on the contest scene with a promising fifth at Pontins, subsequently slightly undermined by a disappointing eleventh at Butlins. Unity does have the ability to make a mark though and could be a good outside bet for a place in the prizes.    


West MerciaWest Mercia Constabulary
Conductor:
David Bishop-Rowe

Last 10 Years:
2006: 7th in Third Section (S. Pritchard-Jones) (prom)
2005: 5th (S. Pritchard Jones)
2004: 3rd (H. Gibbs)
2003: 12th (H. Gibbs)
2002: 4th
2001: 3rd in Fourth Section (prom)
2000: DNC
1999: DNC
1998: DNC
1997: DNC

Having previously guided Phoenix West Midlands Brass from the Fourth Section to the Second, David Bishop-Rowe takes up where he left off with Phoenix in directing West Midlands Constabulary as the band makes its Second Section debut. Certainly the MD's credentials are up there with the best at this level and if the band can respond on the stage we reckon a mid table finish could be a possibility for them.   


Past Qualifiers:
2006: Foresters Brass 2000, Hopkins Solicitors Blidworth
2005: Shirland Welfare Training, Wigston
2004: Hathern, Raunds Temperance, Stourport on Severn
2003: Shirley Band, Darley Dale, Stourport on Severn
2002: Langley, Shirley, Brackley
2001: Towcester, Tintwistle, Harborough
2000: Ibstock Building, Bedworth
1999: Moulton Brass '77, City of Stoke on Trent
1998: Bedworth, Derwent, Shirland Miners
1997: Newstead Welfare, Greasley Old Hall, Derwent Brass
1996: Riddings, Premier Brass (Stamford), Ibstock Building Products
1995: Glossop Old, Unity Brass, Harborough
1994: Darley Dale, Unity Brass, City of Stoke 


Midlands Bands at the Finals:
2006: 5th, 16th
2005: 11th, 13th
2004: 1st, 17th
2003: 16th, 17th, 18th
2002: 2nd, 3rd, 7th
2001: 3rd, 6th, 9th
2000: 3rd, 6th
1999: 7th, 11th
1998: 2nd, 6th  


4BR Prediction:

A close one for sure but there are a number of strong contenders that will be fancying their chances in a very open field. Carlton's recent consistency should mean a strong finish whilst Phoenix are likely to state their case with authority under David Maplestone.

Long Eaton, the reigning National Third Section champions, could well make a significant impression whilst Unity, Harborough and Porthywaen will be keen to improve their fortunes.
Shirebrook played confidently for a disappointing ninth last year but are due a result and could be the surprise package. 
    
1. Carlton
2. Phoenix West Midlands Brass
3. Long Eaton Silver Prize
4. Unity Brass
5. Harborough
6. Porthywaen

Dark Horse: Shirebrook MW Unison

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