2007 British Open Championships - Runners and Riders

9-Sep-2007

4BR looks at the records and form guide of the 18 runners and riders hoping to win the famous Gold Trophy.


AveleyAveley and Newham
Conductor:
Nigel Taken
4BR Ranking: 27
2007 Winnings: £100 

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: Gavin Hall
Principal Euphonium: Derek Kane
Soprano Cornet: Andrew Bannister
Solo Trombone: Chris Gommersall
Solo horn: Keey-Ann Harrison
Flugel horn: Dave Lewis
Solo Baritone: Stephen Kane
Eb Bass: David Klein

Appearances: 5th time
Debut: 1989

Open Record:
3 Unplaced: 1989 (N/K), 1990 (N/K), 1991 (13th), 2006 (16th) 

Last 11 Years:
Conductors and draw
2006: 16th (Nigel Taken) (18)    

Open Record:
After 15 years away Aveley & Newham returned to the British Open stage last year after winning the Grand Shield. It was the first time they had been back to the contest since they played at the Free Trade Hall as Asphaltic Newham in 1991.

All those years ago it was still Nigel Taken who was at the helm and although they have yet to make a real mark at the contest on their four previous appearances, perhaps this will be the time to do it. 
 
2007 Form:
Regionals:  2nd (London and Southern Counties)
Grand Shield: N/A
European: N/A
Masters: 17th
English National: 10th
Yeovil: 6th

Signs of an upturn perhaps for the Londoners as they make the trip to Birmingham knowing that they will have to pull something out of the bag big time if they are to stave off the real threat of relegation back to the Grand Shield for 2008. 

They are already back at the Royal Albert Hall after coming runners up in the domestic battle at Stevenage to rivals Redbridge, and the disappointing performances at both Yeovil and Cambridge were put behind them somewhat with a solid and hard earned 10th place at the English Nationals.

It may be asking a bit too much of them to repeat that here and stop them from the drop but you never know.

Player to listen out for:
Derek Kane – Great to see and hear one of the finest exponents of euphonium playing of the past decade or more on the contest stage once more. 


DykeBlack Dyke
Conductor:
Dr. Nicholas Childs
4BR Ranking: 1
2007 Winnings: £4,175

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: Richard Marshall
Principal Euphonium: David Thornton
Soprano Cornet: Peter Roberts
Solo Trombone: Brett Baker
Solo horn: Arfon Owen
Flugel horn: John Doyle
Solo Baritone: Gareth Brindle
Eb Bass: Joseph Cook

Appearances: 104th time
Debut: 1856 

Open Record:
29 Wins: 1862, 1863, 1871, 1879, 1880, 1881, 1891, 1895, 1896, 1899, 1902, 1904, 1908, 1914, 1935, 1957, 1968, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1976, 1977, 1983, 1985, 1986, 1992, 1995, 2005, 2006
21 Seconds: 1877, 1887, 1888, 1900, 1903, 1905, 1907, 1909, 1917, 1922, 1934, 1938, 1971, 1978, 1984, 1988, 1993, 1994, 1999, 2000, 2001
11 Thirds: 1868, 1873, 1884, 1894, 1916, 1937, 1953, 1958, 1963, 2002, 2003
8 Fourths: 1890, 1912, 1919, 1921, 1936, 1970, 1979, 1989
5 Fifths: 1864, 1920, 1936, 1952, 1966
3 Sixths: 1947, 1962, 2004
25 times unplaced:
1 Disqualification: 1865 

Last 11 Years:
Conductor and draw
2006: Winners (Nicholas Childs) (11)
2005: Winners (Nicholas Childs) (13)
2004: 6th (Nicholas Childs) (6)
2003: 3rd (Nicholas Childs) (11)
2002: 3rd (Nicholas Childs) (3)
2001: 2nd (Nicholas Childs) (14)
2000: 2nd (Nicholas Childs) (15)
1999: 2nd (James Watson) (22)
1998: 8th (James Watson) (7)
1997: DNC
1996: 14th (James Watson) (1)

Open Record:
A record like no other band in the world. This will be the Queensbury bands 104th appearance at the contest and they can boast a record of 29 wins, 21 runners up and 11 third places.  They are also going for their third hat- trick of victories at the contest too. The first was way back in 1879/80/81, whilst the last time they did it was in 1972/73/74. They have also missed out on four occasions too, not quite making it three in a row in 1864, 1897, 1978 and 1987. 

Nicholas Childs would also create a bit of history for himself too if the band wins as both previous hat-tricks were not conducted by just the one MD. The first saw John Fawcett and Alex Owen share it out whilst the second time saw Geoffrey Brand and Roy Newsome. 

2007 Form:
Regionals: 3rd (Yorkshire)
Grand Shield: N/A
European: N/A
Masters: N/A
English Nationals:
Others: N/A 

One thing is for certain – Dyke haven’t been fatigued by preparing for contest performances this year have they now? Just the one appearance at Bradford where they were a touch unlucky not to have come higher than third.

They have been very busy on the concert platform though and their high profile appearances at the Proms and their recent tour to Holland will surely have kept their lips in tiptop condition.  Brass band immortality may just be one performance away, and the pressure will certainly be on, but given the standard of their playing here in the past two years it would be a brave man to bet against them doing it.  

Player to listen out for:
Arfon Owen – The solo horn player has been going about his business since taking up the post with a quiet authority and he is now a commanding presence in the middle of the band.   


BrighouseBrighouse & Rastrick
Conductor:
Alan Morrison
4BR Ranking: 5
2007 Winnings: £7,300

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: Stephen Wilkinson
Principal Euphonium: Michael Howley
Soprano Cornet: Nigel Fielding
Solo Trombone: David Robbins
Solo horn: Melvyn Bathgate
Flugel horn: David Moore
Solo Baritone: Leigh Baker
Eb Bass: David Hebb

Appearances: 67th time
Debut: 1890

Open Record:
6 Wins: 1929, 1932, 1933, 1934, 1936, 1978
3 Seconds: 1965, 1977, 1983
5 Thirds: 1939, 1940, 1973, 1976, 1998
7 Fourths: 1942, 1943, 1961, 1964, 1984, 1999, 2002
4 Fifths: 1960, 1971, 1987, 2003
5 Sixths: 1938,1944, 1959, 1986, 1995
36 times unplaced 

Last 11 Years:
Conductor and draw
2006: 12th (Ian McElligott) (16)
2005: 7th (James Gourlay) (6)
2004: 11th (James Gourlay) (5)
2003: 5th (Major Ian McElligott) (17)
2002: 4th (Major Ian McElligott) (12)
2001: 8th (Allan Withington) (8)
2000: 12th (Allan Withington) (8)
1999: 4th (Allan Withington) (14)
1998: 3rd (Allan Withington) (15)
1997: 10th (Allan Withington) (4)
1996: 20th (Allan Withington) (18)

Open Record:
It is now nearly twenty years since the lads from West Riding took the title and that was in 1978 when Geoffrey Brand took them to victory on "Benvenuto Cellini".  How that victory would have tasted so sweet given that it stopped their great rivals from across the way from competing an unprecedented double hat-trick at the contest. So can they do it again this year then?

They have been pretty consistent in the last few years, with five top 6 finishes since 1998, although they were some way off the pace last year when they were perhaps a touch fortunate to even come 12th after an error ridden performance.
 
The omens may be good though as they first stopped Dyke retaining their Open title in 1936 and then again in 1978. Can they make it a hat-trick of their own this year then and claim their seventh win in the process?  

2007 Form:
Regionals: Winners (Yorkshire)
Grand Shield: N/A
European: N/A
Masters: N/A
English National: 4th
Whit Friday: Saddleworth Champions 

If they can really perform with the sense of vibrant excitement that they showed at Bradford earlier in the year then even a victory will not be beyond the lads in purple. If however they produce the error strewn performance of Preston where they were a touch fortunate to come 4th then they can kiss their chances goodbye for another year.

Alan Morrison is bringing out the best in his band though and even at the English Nationals there were extended periods of playing when they really did set the hairs on the back of your neck on end.  They would like nothing better than to spoil Dyke’s day wouldn’t they now, so watch out.

Player to listen out for:
David Moore – The young flugel player has really fitted into Brighouse perfectly and has shone during each of their performances this year. He could be their key player at this contest.    


CoryCory Band
Conductor:
Dr. Robert Childs
4BR Ranking: 3
2007 Winnings: £2,240

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: Ian Williams
Principal Euphonium: David Childs
Soprano Cornet: Michelle Ibbotson
Solo Trombone: Chris Thomas
Solo horn: Owen Farr
Flugel horn: Joanne Deane
Solo Baritone: Susan Thomas
Eb Bass: Steve Sykes

Appearances: 45th time
Debut: 1922 

Open Record:
2 Wins: 2000, 2002
4 Seconds: 1950, 2004, 2005, 2006
2 Thirds: 1972, 2001
3 Fourths: 1951, 1975, 1976
1 Fifth: 1974
2 Sixths: 1999, 2003
30 times unplaced 

Last 11 Years:
Conductor and draw

2006: 2nd (Robert Childs) (17)
2005: 2nd (Robert Childs) (16)
2004: 2nd (Robert Childs) (2)
2003: 6th (Robert Childs) (13)
2002: Winners (Robert Childs) (16)
2001: 3rd (Robert Childs) (20)
2000: Winners (Robert Childs) (22)
1999: 6th (Jeremy Wise) (10)
1998: 13th (Jeremy Wise) (19)
1997: 7th (Jeremy Wise) (16)
1996: 19th (Melvin White) (6)
 
Open Record:
BAYV make their 45th appearance at the contest this year and after achieving their own somewhat unwanted hat-trick of runners up places last year, they will be determined to go one better and claim the famous Gold Trophy for a third time this century. 

The band returned to the Open in 1994 and since 1999 they haven’t been out of the top six – a fine achievement by anyone’s standards. That they haven’t won the title since 2002 has been down to inspired rivals more than anything else and given their luck with the draw (just the one single figure draw in the past 11 years) they will surely be there or thereabouts once more.  Fate cannot surely conspire against them again this year can it now? 

2007 Form:
Regionals: Winners (Wales)
Grand Shield: N/A
European: 3rd
Masters: N/A
English Nationals: N/A 

Won their domestic title with some ease at Swansea earlier in the year for a record sixth consecutive time, but they have now gone 16 major contests since 2002 without a victory to their name at the very top level – something they are determined to put right we are sure.

Unlucky once more at the Europeans when their own choice selection didn’t resonate in the box after a superb set work, they have all the quality players in the right positions to surely excel on this one again.  Perhaps they need a touch of luck, but if they are to be beaten again then the odds are that it will only be by the eventual winners once more.
 
Player to listen out for:
Steve Sykes – The daddy of them all on the Eb tuba has made a welcome return to top flight banding with Cory and is enjoying every minute of it. Still a quite amazing player to listen out for, even if it is just providing the foundation work.  


Carlton MainCarlton Main Frickley Colliery
Conductor:
Russell Gray
4BR Ranking: 14
2007 Winnings: £2,000

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: Kirsty Abbotts
Principal Euphonium: David Belshaw
Soprano Cornet: Claire Jenkins
Solo Trombone: Kevin Holdgate
Solo horn: Andrew Dickinson
Flugel horn: Janet Lewis
Solo Baritone: Robert Archer
Eb Bass: Ben Dixon 

Appearances: 60th time
Debut: 1921

Open Record:
2 Wins: 1922, 1958
5 Seconds: 1941, 1957, 1959, 1969, 1972
3 Thirds: 1948, 1950, 1956
3 Fourths: 1928, 1944, 1963
2 Fifths: 1927, 1946
2 Sixths: 1923, 2006
42 times unplaced

Last 11 Years:
Conductor and draw
2006: 6th (Russell Gray) (19)
2005: DNC
2004: 18th (Brian Grant) (7)
2003: 18th (William Rushworth) (14) 
2002: 19th (William Rushworth) (17) (rel)
2001: 17th (John Hinckley) (6)
2000: 9th (John Hinckley) (21)
1999: 14th (John Hinckley) (11)
1993-1998: DNC

Open Record:
After a bit of an up and down existence at the Open of late, Carlton Main produced their best result at the contest since 1972 when they came home in sixth place last year.

They have won the contest twice in their history before, first as South Elmshall and Frickley under Noel Thorpe back in 1922 and again under Jack Atherton in 1958 when they were really going through a purple patch at the contest. 

Exactly 50 years ago they were runners up when they were beaten to the title by Black Dyke, so what odds would they get for that result to be repeated here once more this time around?

2007 Form:
Regionals:  4th (Yorkshire)
Grand Shield: N/A
European: N/A
Masters: 2nd
English National: 8th

A year full of promise it would seem given the good set of results so far achieved by the band on the contest platform. Bradford in particular saw them produce a real quality show in just missing out on a trip to the National Finals, and they certainly continued in the same vein at Cambridge with a wonderfully musical performance on the day to take the runners spot.

Not so good at Preston mind you where a few frailties that otherwise had been well hidden resurfaced and spoilt their chances. The undoubted strengths lie in their ability to make music even from the most obscure of scores and this could well be a piece that suites them and their Scottish conductor. Another high finish may well be on the cards. 
 
Player to listen out for:
Kirsty Abbotts – You cannot help admire her playing – there are simply not too many better cornet players around at present.  


DesfordDesford Colliery
Conductor:
Frans Violet
4BR Ranking: 19
2007 Winnings: £6,100

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: David Smith
Principal Euphonium: Mike Kilroy
Soprano Cornet: Steve Bailey
Solo Trombone: Julian Turner
Solo horn: Murray Borthwick
Flugel horn: Brian Winter
Solo Baritone: Lloyd Shipp
Eb Bass: John Truscott

Appearances: 34th time
Debut: 1970

Open Record:
1 Second: 1979
2 Thirds: 1980, 2006
1 Fourth: 1982
2 Fifths: 1984, 1986
2 Sixths: 1983, 1987
26 Unplaced 

Last 11 Years:
Conductor and draw

2006: 3rd (Nigel Seaman) (12)
2005: 16th (Major Peter Parkes) (1)
2004: 7th (Major Peter Parkes) (17)
2003: DNC
2002: DNC
2001: 19th (Major Peter Parkes) (12) (rel)
2000: 20th (Major Peter Parkes) (19)
1999: 13th (Roy Newsome) (3)
1998: 16th (Frank Renton) (2)
1997: 15th (Frank Renton) (6)
1996: 15th (Frank Renton) (16)

Open Record:
In a way it seems inconceivable that Desford have never won the Open, for during the early 1980's they were head and shoulders above any band in the country. However they very nearly put that right last year with a fine performance under the baton of Nigel Seaman that gained them their first top six place for nearly 20 years. 

The Open hadn’t until then been a very happy ground for the band with a succession of high profile conductors finding it impossible to make any sort of impression with them. Much more settled now, and full of confidence, a return to the regular places in the top six may be on the cards. 

2007 Form:
Regionals: 2nd (Midlands)
Grand Shield: N/A
European: N/A
Masters: 7th
Mineworkers Championships: Winners

A band to look out for and not just because they have taken the imaginative step of engaging Frans Violet as their MD this year as regular conductor Nigel Seaman is away. 

They were top class at Butlins and worthy winners of the biggest cash prize of the year in banding, and they more than did enough in booking their place at the Royal Albert Hall too at Burton Upon Trent.  

The Masters saw them produce perhaps their best performance on a contest stage for many a year and they could count themselves more than a little unlucky that they did come higher (we had them to win). More of that type of form and they could be up in the prizes once more. Desford it seems are back.

Player to listen out for:
David Smith – One of the most artistic cornet players on the banding scene and one who is absolutely rock solid under pressure.   


FAIREY bANDFairey Band
Conductor:
Philip Chalk
4BR Ranking: 11
2007 Winnings: £2,900

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: Mike Eccles
Principal Euphonium: Steve Walsh
Soprano Cornet: Neal McNulty
Solo Trombone: Lisa Sarasini
Solo horn: Chris Pannell
Flugel horn: Lucy Murphy
Solo Baritone: Mike Wells
Eb Bass: Richard Evans

Appearances: 64th time
Debut: 1938

Open Record:
16 Wins: 1941, 1942, 1944, 1945, 1947, 1949, 1950, 1956, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1965, 1979, 1987, 1993, 1998
13 Seconds: 1943, 1946, 1948, 1953, 1960, 1967, 1975, 1982, 1986, 1988, 1991, 1995, 1997
5 Thirds: 1969, 1977, 1984, 1992, 1999
6 Fourths: 1959, 1971, 1996, 2000, 2003, 2005
2 Fifths: 1985, 2006
7 Sixths: 1951, 1957, 1970, 1978, 1990, 2001, 2002
14 times unplaced 

Last 11 Years:
Conductor and draw

2006: 5th (Simon Stonehouse) (8)
2005: 4th (Simon Stonehouse) (9)
2004: 12th (Allan Withington (11)
2003: 4th (Allan Withington) (9)
2002: 6th (Allan Withington) (19)
2001: 6th (Howard Snell) (2)
2000: 4th (James Gourlay) (17)
1999: 3rd (James Gourlay) (12)
1998: Winners (James Gourlay) (16)
1997: 2nd (James Gourlay) (10)
1996: 4th (James Gourlay) (10)

Open Record:
Only Black Dyke have more wins at the British Open than Fairey, and the band from Stockport can lay claim to winning at least one Open title in each decade since the 1940's, although as yet they haven't added to that so far this millennium. 

The band has an unequalled record of consistency here as well over the past decade or so too with just the blip of 2004 spoiling a quite remarkable record of achievement. Even with the withdrawal of sponsorship and the loss of many key players in the past couple of years they have still produced fine performances here and last year battled to a hard earned 5th place.

Nearly ten years have past since they last won, but they have notched up victories in 1947 and 1987, came runners-up in 1967 and 1997 and third in 1977. Omens for another podium place then this year? Wait and see.

2007 Form:
Regionals: 5th (North West)
Grand Shield: N/A
European: N/A
Masters: 8th
English Nationals: 9th
Whit Friday: Tameside runners up 

Fairey haven’t exactly set the pulses racing so far this year, although to be fair they were very good at Cambridge and more than a little unlucky not to have come higher than 8th. They were not so great at Blackpool though and that will mean no appearance at the Royal Albert Hall next month.

They have parted company with Major Peter Parkes for this one and enlisted the talented Phil Chalk, but they will have to up their form from Preston where they were OK but nothing more if they are to make it into the prizes once more here this year.  The potential is there for all to hear, but consistency could be the key. A repeat of Cambridge will do them just fine, but if not they could well be out of the top 10.

Player to listen out for:
Steve Walsh –  The gifted euphonium player made a real impression at the European Solo Championships this year and is a class act. This could be his chance to really shine here.  


FodensFodens Richardson
Conductor:
Garry Cutt
4BR Ranking: 4
2007 Winnings: £10,360

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: Mark Wilkinson
Principal Euphonium: Glyn Williams
Soprano Cornet: Alan Wycherley
Solo Trombone: John Barber
Solo horn: George Thackray
Flugel horn: Helen Fox
Solo Baritone: Natsumi Inaba
Eb Bass: Les Neish

Appearances: 68th time
Debut: 1909

Open Record:
10 Wins: 1909, 1910, 1912, 1913, 1915, 1926, 1927, 1928, 1964, 2004
6 Seconds: 1911, 1916, 1952, 1987, 1998, 2002
6 Thirds: 1914, 1925, 1957, 1970, 1981, 1985
4 Fourths: 1958, 1965, 1986, 1991
8 Fifths: 1918, 1953, 1968, 1972, 1988, 1996, 1999, 2000
4 Sixths: 1917, 1984, 1994, 2005
29 times unplaced.

Last 11 Years:
Conductor and draw

2006: 13th (Garry Cutt) (9)
2005: 6th (Garry Cutt) (18)
2004: Winners (Garry Cutt) (12)
2003: 7th (Thomas Wyss) (3)
2002: 2nd (Bramwell Tovey) (8)
2001: 7th (Bramwell Tovey) (3)
2000: 5th (Bramwell Tovey) (9)
1999: 5th (Nicholas Childs) (4)
1998: 2nd (Nicholas Childs) (18)
1997: 9th (Nicholas Childs) (13)
1996: 5th (Phillip McCann) (3)

Open Record:
The 2004 champions are another band with an amazing pedigree at the contest since they first took part in 1909, winning on their debut under the legendary William Rimmer. Since then they have notched up a further 9 victories, including that 2004 triumph after a 40 year hiatus. 

Consistency has been the name of the game although since that 2004 victory they have just fallen away a touch and last year came a very disappointing, if unlucky, 13th – the first time they had been outside the top 10 since 1993.

80 years ago they won in 1927, 20 years ago they were runners up and 50 years ago they were third, so what this time with the year ending in a seven? A second victory in three years would be nice. 

2007 Form:
Regionals: Winners (North West)
Grand Shield: N/A
European: 4th
Masters: Winners
English Nationals: 6th
Whit Friday: Tameside Champions

A very good year so far for the band from Sandbach with the real promise of more to come it seems.

The Blackpool win was measured and solid enough and they played very well indeed at the Europeans winning many admirers for their approach, especially on the brave choice of own choice work where their cornet section in particular excelled. The Masters saw a previous injustice overturned in superb style and even though they weren’t quite at their best at Preston they were still well deserving of their high placing.

If they can show the form of Cambridge once more then they will surely be right up in the mix come the results and with a number of their best players on the top of their form this year (as well as the MD) Fodens will be one of the short odd bands to push for victory on Saturday night.

Player to listen out for:
Helen Fox – A sublime performer who rarely if ever puts a foot wrong. A key player for Fodens on the weekend. 


GrimethorpeGrimethorpe Colliery
Conductor:
Allan Withington
4BR Ranking: 2
2007 Winnings: £5,000

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: Roger Webster
Principal Euphonium: Michael Dodd
Soprano Cornet: Kevin Crockford
Solo Trombone: Richard Brown
Solo horn: Martin Armstrong
Flugel horn: Andrew Holmes
Solo Baritone: Bob Blackburn
Eb Bass: Shaun Crowther 

Appearances: 61st time
Debut: 1935

Open Record:
4 Wins: 1967, 1969, 1984, 1991
3 Seconds: 1945, 1963, 1973
10 Thirds: 1960, 1961, 1968, 1971, 1979, 1983, 1987, 1990, 1994, 2000
3 Fourths: 1972, 1998, 2001
6 Fifths: 1976, 1981, 1989, 1992, 1995, 1997
3 Sixths: 1946, 1980, 1985
31 Unplaced.

Last 11 Years:
Conductor and draw

2006: 9th (Allan Withington) (4)
2005: 12th (Allan Withington) (4)
2004: 9th (Frank Renton) (9)
2003: DNC
2002: 14th (James Gourlay) (10)
2001: 4th (Garry Cutt) (13)
2000: 3rd (Garry Cutt) (20)
1999: 18th (Andreas Sporri) (7)
1998: 4th (Major Peter Parkes) (17)
1997: 5th (Major Peter Parkes) (7)
1996: 7th (Major Peter Parkes) (20)
1995: 5th (Major Peter Parkes) (19)
1994: 3rd (Garry Cutt) (14)
1993: 9th (Frank Renton) (18)

Open Record:
Just the four wins so far for Grimethorpe at the British Open – but four memorable wins at that. Their first came in 1967 under the great George Thompson, whilst they did it again in 1969. Geoffrey Brand emulated that 1967 win in 1984 before Frank Renton led them to their last triumph on "Paganini Variations" 16 years ago.

If Fodens could go 40 years before winning the contest again then surely Grimethorpe can repeat that triumph of 1967 and make it a nap hand of titles. The record of late is OK but nothing more though, although last year they were unbelievably overlooked by the judges after producing a wonderful performance off the number 4 draw.

The draw in fact hasn’t been too kind to them recently, so a decent number out of the hat may be what’s needed to give them a victory and also provide the MD with his first win too. 

2007 Form:
Regionals: 8th (Yorkshire)
Grand Shield: N/A
European: N/A
Masters: N/A
English Nationals: Winners

Awful at Bradford earlier in the year when just about anything that could go wrong did go wrong in their pursuit of a hat-trick of Regional wins. However, they were sublime at Preston where they were nigh on unbeatable and won by a margin and a half.

If they click under the MD here (and for some unknown reason the Open hasn’t been a happy hunting ground for Allan Withington in the past) then the bookies will be giving short priced of odds on victory.  With the talent they have at their disposal in front and behind the music stands, 16 years of hurt may well come to an end here on Saturday night. 

Player to listen out for:
Kevin Crockford – On inspired form all year. The bigger the stage the better he plays – and they don’t come much bigger than this.  


Hepworth (Cookson Homes)
Conductor:
Mark Bentham
4BR Ranking: 12
2007 Winnings: £7,700

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: Robert Westacott
Principal Euphonium: James Fieldhouse
Soprano Cornet: Mark Smedley
Solo Trombone: Yvonne Embury
Solo horn: Rebecca Landon
Flugel horn: Maria Beazer
Solo Baritone: Nicholas Young
Eb Bass: John Pullin

Appearances: 3rd time
Debut: 2005

Open Record:
No wins
2 times unplaced: 2005 (8th), 2006 (11th)

Last 11 Years:
Conductor and draw
2006: 11th (Mark Bentham) (6)
2005: 8th (Mark Bentham) (2)

Given that the band only qualified for the British Open in 2005 their two appearances have given them decent enough returns so far. 8th place on their debut off the dreaded number 2 draw was followed last year by a secure 11th place also from an early draw number. 

Third time lucky then for a band who are determined to make their mark at this contest as they have just about everywhere else in the last couple of years.

2007 Form:
Regionals: 2nd (Yorkshire)
Grand Shield: N/A
European: N/A
Masters: 16th
English Nationals: 2nd
Whit Friday: Saddleworth runners-up

Hard to believe that just a couple of years ago many people (4BR included it must be said) felt that Hepworth were perhaps playing well above their true station at the major contests – not now they are not.

2007 has seen them perform wonderfully well at Bradford and Preston and next month they will make their debut at the Royal Albert Hall. They are no longer a dark horse band but true contenders for top honours. That said they were absolutely awful at Cambridge where they got it wrong big time and came home in 16th place. 

Can’t see that happening again somehow, especially given the desire, talent and hard work that goes into their preparations. A top six place is well within their capabilities if they play once more to their obvious strengths and don’t try to copy others in the blowing stakes.  

Player to listen out for:
Robert Westacott – If he produces the good (as he did at Preston) then Hepworth will be in the mix. The talisman of a very good band. 


KirkintillochKirkintilloch
Conductor:
Nigel Boddice MBE
4BR Ranking: 18
2007 Winnings: £1,200

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: David Prentice
Principal Euphonium: Neil Philip
Soprano Cornet: Steve Stewart
Solo Trombone: Marion Brackpool
Solo horn: Allan Wardrope
Flugel horn: Martyn Ramsay
Solo Baritone: James Corrigan
Eb Bass: Andy McKreel 

Appearances: 7th time
Debut: 2001

Open Record:
No Wins:
No Seconds:
No Thirds:
1 Fourth: 2004
No Fifths:
No Sixths:
5 times unplaced 

Last 11 Years
Conductor and draw

2006: 7th (Steve Bastable) (2)
2005: 13th (Steve Bastable) (8)
2004: 4th (Steve Bastable) (16)
2003: 11th (Frank Renton) (16)
2002: 12th (Frank Renton) (6)
2001: 16th (Allan Ramsey) (19)
1996 - 2000: DNC

Open Record:
Kirkintilloch return under the baton of Nigel Boddice this year to make their seventh appearance at the contest.  It’s been a pretty solid record of achievement so far since making their debut after winning the 2001 Grand Shield with the two stand out results in 2004 when they were 4th and last year when they produced a fine account off the awful number 2 draw to eventual come a high commendable 7th.

Lots of talented players around the stands, the British Open seems to bring the best out of the band and the current Scottish Champion will want to well again this year for sure. 

2007 Form:
Regionals:  Winners (Scotland)
Grand Shield: N/A
European: N/A
Masters: 11th
West Lothian: 2nd
Land O’ Burns: 3rd

Started the year brilliantly by winning the Scottish Championship under Nigel Boddice, but since then they have gone off the boil a little it seems.

11th place at the Masters was about par for the course despite an elegant reading, whilst the last two domestic outings have seen them beaten by both their rivals here, Scottish Co-op and Whitburn. Can they turn it around and return back across Hadrian’s Wall as the best of the Scots?   Lots of talented players in the ranks and they seem to like it here, they may well spring a surprise or two once more. 

Player to listen out for:
Steve Stewart – Heard him in New Zealand a couple of months ago and he was nothing short of sensational. More of that and he could lead the band to a very high placing indeed.  


PoySteelPolySteel
Conductor:
Philip Harper
4BR Ranking: 10
2007 Winnings: £5,750

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: Chris Howley
Principal Euphonium: Andy Hicks
Soprano Cornet: Spencer O’Leary
Solo Trombone: Nathan Jenkins
Solo horn: Vicki Reynolds
Flugel horn: Danny Winder
Solo Baritone: Carolyn Chandler
Eb Bass: Robin Norman

Appearances: 4th time
Debut: 1998

Open Record:  
No wins:
4 unplaced: 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001

Last 11 Years:
Conductor and draw

2002 - 2006: DNC
2001: 21st (Philip Harper) (15) (rel)
2000: 18th (Richard Evans) (1)
1999: 19th (Bryan Hurdley) (19)
1998: 14th (Bryan Hurdley) (12) 

Open record:
A welcome return to the British Open for one of the fast emerging bands in the UK in the last couple of years. First played under their old Flowers name in 1998 and held on by their fingertips until falling through the trap door in 2001.

They could have been back here before now but for a combination of bad luck, poor draws and the odd inspired performance from some rivals at the Grand Shield, but they were good value for their win (one of a select group of bands to win the Grand shield twice) and they seem better prepared for a longer stay this time around. 

2007 Form:
Regionals: Winners (West of England)
Grand Shield: Winners
European: N/A
Masters: 13th
English Nationals: 3rd
Yeovil: Winners
Mineworkers Championship: 4th

The Grand Shield champion are on excellent form this year and should come to this contest confident of making a mark if they play as well as they know they can and get a bit of luck with the draw.

Fine winners at Torquay earlier in the year they also showed their entertainment skills off too in winning Yeovil once again. Unlucky with their defence at Butlins when they tried to second guess the judges instead of playing to their strengths, but that was more than made up by the time of the Grand Shield.

That was a hard earned victory and well deserved although by the time of Cambridge they sounded understandably shattered and were well below par at a contest they usually do so well at. A well earned rest saw them return once more to show off their qualities at Preston and with a nice bit of time to prepare for this one they could well be many people’s dark horse’s for a top 10 place at least.

Player to listen out for:
Danny Winder – The flugel horn player has made the position his own in the last couple of years and is a very talented soloist and ensemble player. Not lacking in confidence either he could inspire his fellow players on the day. 


Reg VardyReg Vardy
Conductor:
Ray Farr
4BR Ranking: 20
2007 Winnings: £200

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: Bryan Tait
Principal Euphonium: Jeremy Belton
Soprano Cornet: Tom Glendinning
Solo Trombone: Chris Bentham
Solo horn: Andrew Hall
Flugel horn: Joanne Winspear
Solo Baritone: Laura Boyle
Eb Bass: Steve Malcolm

Appearances: 32nd time
Debut: 1966

Open Record:
No Wins:
No Seconds:
No Thirds:
1 Fourth: 1987
2 Fifths: 1977, 1982
No Sixths:
28 times unplaced 

Last 11 Years:
Conductor and draw

2006: 17th (Ray Farr) (7)
2005: 9th (Ray Farr) (17)
2004: 8th (Ray Farr) (19)
2003: 8th (Ray Farr) (4)
2002: 15th (Ray Farr) (11)
2001: 12th (Ray Farr) (11)
1996 - 2000: DNC
 
Open Record:
The band made its first appearance at the Open in 1966 after they had won the Grand Shield contest that year as Craghead Colliery conducted by the late Eric Cunningham and they changed their name to Ever Ready by the time of the 1969 contest. 

Three times the band has come in the prizes, and the good omens for them is that on two of those occasions it was when the year ended in a 7! They have shown good quality form here in the immediate past but last year was a very poor return and 17th place puts them under real threat of relegation of they don’t pick up quite a few scalps on the day.

2007 Form:
Regionals: Winners (North of England)
Grand Shield: N/A
European: N/A
Masters: 19th
English National: 11th

On paper and given the two appearances the band has made against top class quality competition this year it is hard to see Reg Vardy escaping the dreaded drop back to the Grand Shield.

Difficult to understand why given that they have plenty of talented players within the ranks and one of the most intuitive MDs at the helm, but in the last two years something hasn’t quite clicked for them on the major contest stages.  The regional win was as expected although they were pushed harder than people may think, whilst at Cambridge they were pretty dire and at Preston they sounded fragile and short of confidence.

They have got it in them to do well here, but it will all have to fall into place for them to be able to book B&B for 2008. 

Player to listen out for:
Bryan Tait – One of the most experienced top men around and still a very classy player on his day. If he can deliver and others follow suit then things may be looking rosier for Reg Vardy come Saturday night.  


RothwellRothwell Temperance
Conductor:
David Roberts
4BR Ranking: 15
2007 Winnings: £2,400

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: James McCabe
Principal Euphonium: Andy Marsh
Soprano Cornet: Paul Argyle
Solo Trombone: Nick Walker
Solo horn: Catherine Roberts
Flugel horn: John Ward
Solo Baritone: Andy Padgett
Eb Bass: Edward Hodkin

Appearances: 13th time
Debut: 1927

Open Record:
No Wins:
No Seconds:
No Thirds:
No Fourths:
1 Fifth: 2005
1 Sixth: 1928
10 times unplaced

Last 11 Years:
Conductor and draw

2006: 14th (David Roberts) (10)
2005: 5th (David Roberts) (12)
2004: 15th (David Roberts) (14)
1996 - 2003: DNC

Open Record:
A thirteenth appearance at the British Open for Rothwell, with their first as long ago as 1927.  The best they had done up until last year was when they came 6th a year after their debut, but subsequent efforts did not lead to another mention from the stage. Their last appearance under the Rothwell name was in 1947. 

Since their return in 2004 it’s been a bit up and down with a high of 5th in 2005 and two midfield finishes in 2004 and last year. They will have to be careful this time around as the way the results pan out means that there is a distinct possibility that the threat of relegation looms large if they don’t at least beat Aveley and Reg Vardy. 

2007 Form:
Regionals: 7th (Yorkshire)
Grand Shield: N/A
European: N/A
Masters:  3rd
English Nationals: 14th

If they play like they did at Cambridge in defence of their Masters title then there should be no problems for Rothwell at all and a top 10 or even top 6 finish could well be on the cards.

If they also produce a solid account of themselves as they did at Bradford they should be OK too, although they will need a bit more about themselves to push for a top 10 finish. If they play like they did at Preston though they could be in trouble, as there they seemed strangely muted and non descript and paid the penalty.  A good solid, hard working and unpretentious band with quality players and a MD who knows the ropes well. It may not be enough for a top six finish perhaps this time around but it should be more than enough to secure their place back here for next year.

Player to listen out for:
Andy Padgett – The very experienced solo baritone player may be sporting a grey quiff nowadays but he remains one of the very best baritone players around.      


SellersSellers International
Conductor:
Phillip McCann
4BR Ranking: 13
2007 Winnings: £600

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: Stephanie Barratt
Principal Euphonium: Mark Bousie
Soprano Cornet: Gary Bates
Solo Trombone: Rebecca Lundberg
Solo horn: Leah Williams
Flugel horn: Sian Carradus
Solo Baritone: Katie Smallwood
Eb Bass: Ryan Breen

Appearances: 16th time
Debut: 1988 

Open Record:
No Wins:
No Seconds:
No Thirds:
No Fourths:
2 Fifths: 1991, 2004
No Sixths:
13 times unplaced

Last 11 Years:
Conductor and draw

2006: 15th (Phillip McCann) (5) (rel)
2005: 14th (Phillip McCann) (7)
2004: 5th (Phillip McCann) (13)
2003: DNC
2002: DNC
2001: DNC
2000: DNC
1999: 17th (Peter Parkes) (21) (rel)
1998: 18th (A. Morrison) (14)
1997: 12th (A. Morrison) (9)
1996: 11th (A. Morrison) (2)

Open Record:
Sellers return for a second time in four years and a third time in total to the British Open since they made their debut back in 1988. 

The last three appearances were not too bad, one excellent 5th place and two midfield places, but such is the standard here that last year’s 15th place was enough to sink them. Other bands should take note. Phillip McCann will be looking to ensure a longer stay this year and the two year rule will help, but Sellers return of two top six places in 15 attempts isn’t as good as it should be here for a band of their quality. 

2007 Form:
Regionals: 9th (Yorkshire)
Grand Shield: 2nd
European: N/A
Masters: N/A
English Nationals: 13th
 
Sellers have flattered to deceive somewhat so far this year, although they could count themselves a touch unlucky at the Yorkshire Areas when they came home in 9th place.

Phillip McCann has the ability to bring something interesting out of any score (sometimes not always in his favour) and that was evident at the English Nationals where the reading kept the listener rapt but the mistakes flowed from just about every corner. If they can display the discipline and verve of the Grand Shield performance then they could well make a significant mark, but much will depend on their ability to cancel out expensive errors.

Player to listen out for:
Mark Bousie – The personable euphonium star is a Sellers stalwart and showed at the Grand Shield that on his day he is one heck of a top quality player. 


Scottish Co-opScottish Co-op
Conductor:
Allan Ramsay
4BR Ranking: 7
2007 Winnings: £2,025

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: Jim Hayes
Principal Euphonium: Allison Bonner
Soprano Cornet: Caroline Munroe
Solo Trombone: Paul Kiernan
Solo horn: Leslie Howie
Flugel horn: Andrea Casey
Solo Baritone: Graham Dow
Eb Bass: Willie Young

Appearances: 20th time
Debut: 1956

Open Record:
No Wins:
No Seconds:
3 Thirds: 1993, 1997, 2004
1 Fourth: 2006
No Fifths:
No Sixths:
15 times unplaced 

Last 11 Years:
Conductor and draw

2006: 4th (Allan Ramsay) (15)
2005: 10th (Frank Renton) (15)
2004: 3rd (Ian McElligott) (13)
2003: 13th (James Scott) (12)
2002: 16th (John Hinckley) (4) (rel)
2001: 12th (James Gourlay) (4)
2000: 11th (Kazuyoshi Uemura) (16)
1999: 9th (Howard Snell) (9)
1998: 12th (Howard Snell) (20)
1997: 3rd (Howard Snell) (5)
1996: 8th (Howard Snell) (15)

Open Record:
Scottish Co-op returned to the Open in 2003 after three years when they tried a mix and match approach with their MDs that never quite worked. 

Since then though they have certainly found their feet here and last year in particular they showed a great deal of character and no little verve in coming 4th under the detailed direction of Allan Ramsay.  He is the latest of an impressive list of conductors to have tried their luck with the band, but he started well with them last year and will be keen to repeat the feat once more.  

2007 Form:
Regionals: 3rd (Scotland)
Grand Shield: N/A
European: 6th
Masters: 4th
West Lothian: Winners 

Rumours abound that Scottish Co-op are finding it tough, but they don’t seem to be doing too bad do they now?  Coming third at the Scottish Championship was a major disappointment, but was perhaps a touch understandable given that the bass trombone had to play the opening.

The recovery though has been impressive and much credit must go to the players and MD, especially at the Masters where they were cornet players short and still produced a fine performance to come home in 4th place. The European showed plenty of quality too and the win at the West Lothian Contest underlined their determination and ability to make the most of their resources. 

How good they will be if the rumours are wrong and they are at full strength then? Perhaps still the best priced Scottish challenger come the results, although another top 6 place may be asking a bit too much this time.
 
Player to listen out for:
Leslie Howie – One of the best horn players in the country and a player who can enhance the performance of any band she plays with. 


WhitburnWhitburn
Conductor:
Andrew Duncan
4BR Ranking: 16
2007 Winnings: £4,250

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: Chris Bradley
Principal Euphonium: Richard Kidd
Soprano Cornet: Scott Forest
Solo Trombone: Alex Phillip
Solo horn: Iain Fleming
Flugel horn: Jim Chamberlain
Solo Baritone: Anne Crookston
Eb Bass: Graham Frazer

Appearances: 16th time
Debut: 1971

Open Record:
No Wins:
1 Second: 2003
No Thirds:
No Fourths:
1 Fifth: 2001
No Sixths:
13 times unplaced

Last 11 Years:
Conductor and draw

2006: 10th (Andrew Duncan) (13)
2005: 11th (Andrew Duncan) (3)
2004: 13th (Andrew Duncan) (10)
2003: 2nd (Andrew Duncan) (8)
2002: 10th (Philip McCann) (7)
2001: 5th (Philip McCann) (9)
2000: 17th (Philip McCann) (4)
1999: 11th (Philip McCann) (18)
1998: 20th (Archie Hutchison) (3)
1997: 13th (Richard Adams) (8)
1996: 17th (Chris Houlding) (7) 

Open Record:
Whitburn made their first appearance at the British Open back in 1971 and appeared sporadically thereafter, returning a second time after winning the Grand Shield in 1991 - although they only lasted a year at the contest after that.
 
1995 saw them regain their place at the Open and since that time they have performed solidly under four different MD's.  Andrew Duncan makes his fifth appearance with the band and they will be hoping to repeat their performance of 2003 when they came runners up. Since then it has been safe midfield finishes – good returns for a band that can always perform solidly against high class opposition.

2007 Form:
Regionals: 2nd (Scotland)
Grand Shield: N/A
European: N/A
Masters: N/A
Land O' Burns: Winners
West Lothian: Semi Final
Brass in the Park: Winners

Could be an interesting band to listen out for this year, as the rumours suggested that Andy Duncan was certainly not first choice to take the band here. They can also flatter to deceive.

Another runners up place at the Scottish Championship was a case in point – favourites before hand but beaten once more as they couldn’t quite close out the contest under Philip McCann. They gained revenge on Kirkintilloch who beat them there at the Land O’ Burns Contest but they also lost out to them at the West Lothian event.    Brass in the Park was a doddle and brought in a nice wedge of cash, but Whitburn need to set the bar a bit higher for themselves if they are to really make more of a mark here. A bit more self belief could work wonders.
 
Player to listen out for:
Scott Forrest – A young soprano player with a great future ahead of himself.  


YBSYBS Band
Conductor:
Richard Evans
4BR Ranking: 8
2007 Winnings: £2,000

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: Alex Kerwin
Principal Euphonium: Morgan Griffiths
Soprano Cornet: Claire Taylor
Solo Trombone: Danny Brookes
Solo horn: Kate Eggleshaw
Flugel horn: Sian Linney
Solo Baritone: Rob Richardson
Eb Bass: Ken Ferguson

Appearances: 32nd time
Debut: 1970

Open Record:
4 Wins: 1997, 1999, 2001, 2003
1 Second: 1989
2 Thirds: 1995, 2005
3 Fourths: 1977, 1981, 1990
1 Fifth: 1973
2 Sixths: 1996, 2000
18 times unplaced

Last 11 Years:
Conductor and draw

2006: 8th (David King) (3)
2005: 3rd (David King) (14)
2004: 14th (David King) (8)
2003: Winners (David King) (10)
2002: 9th (David King) (9)
2001: Winners (David King) (10)
2000: 6th (David King) (3)
1999: Winners (David King) (16)
1998: 10th (David King) (8)
1997: Winners (David King) (11)
1996: 6th (David King) (19)

Open Record:
Many people may only think of this band under the YBS title, but under the old name of Hammonds Sauce they made its debut at the contest as far back as 1970 under the direction of Geoffrey Whitham and had a decent record of achievement.
 
The last hurrah for Hammonds was in 1989 but after that things went downhill somewhat and they lost their place at the Open, coming 14th under their new name of Yorkshire Building Society in 1993. 

They returned after winning the Grand Shield in 1995 and under David King became the undoubted kings of Symphony Hall winning four titles in seven years. Now a new, and hopefully fruitful chapter starts again. 

2007 Form:
Regionals: 11th (Yorkshire)
Grand Shield: N/A
European: N/A
Masters: N/A
English Nationals: 12th

Not the band they once were of course, but still more than capable of making a big impression here if they really hit top form. Richard Evans will bring his usual combination of flair and musicality to proceedings, but they need much more than that if they are to improve on last year’s 8th place.

Not good at Bradford where they seemed a band of talented individuals rather than a cohesive musical unit but they were a little unlucky at Preston where the late loss of their soprano player meant a replacement who wasn’t up to the mark cost them a bagful of points. No glory one suspects this year but if things come together they should more than hold their own.  It could be a question of confidence.  

Player to listen out for:
Alex Kerwin – A quite lovely player to listen to on whatever instrument she plays, and should provide the band with a rock solid cornerstone.

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