2009 Spring Festival - Senior Cup: Introduction & Predictions

7-May-2009

20 budding Grand Shield aspirants line up to try and claim on of the four places up for grabs on Saturday. Pageantry awaits.


Test Piece: Pageantry - Herbert Howells

Pavilion Theatre
Draw: 9.00am
Commence: 10.00am
 


It’s very easy to think that the weekend sojourn to Blackpool in May is all about the Grand Shield contest, but try telling that to the 20 contenders who are battling it out in the Senior Cup. 

There may not be the same amount of kudos attached to winning this contest, but if you were one of the lucky quartet to claim a qualification place, then you wouldn’t care too much about that. Get through from here and you are just one more step away form the British Open itself.

Even field

This year there is a pretty evenly matched field of bands with a number of Championship Section heavyweights hoping to put some idealistic Fist Section rivals in their place.

Herbert Howells’ 'Pageantry' is a true classic of the medium but just like Gilbert Vinter’s ‘Salute to Youth’, age has not wearied it or taken off it sedge as a fearsome test of musical character. Any band that underestimates it and believes it’s an easy nut to crack will have been in for a costly ride.

Three bands perhaps stand out as pre-contest favourites to lay claim to the qualification places on offer, although none really can call themselves out and out favourites to pick up the Senior Cup itself.

Contenders

Chief amongst them must surely be Skelmanthorpe who have adapted to life in the Championship Section extremely well and put in a very impressive performance at Bradford a couple of months ago. Their confidence should be high.

Meanwhile, SWT Woodfalls and Nicholas Childs will also be determined to show that theirs is a combination that can mix it with the best after a couple of disappointing outings so far. They will click at some time for certain – and it could well be here on the weekend.

Glyn Williams has played under the finest MD’s in the business and now he is moulding Marsden into a very capable outfit too – something they also showed in the Bradford cauldron earlier in the season.

Confidence

Others too will make the journey to the Winter Gardens with a fair degree of well placed confidence.  Fishburn and Powerfuel Hatfield Colliery in particular have enough quality in the ranks to make a persuasive case and are led by two of the most experienced MD’s in the field, and Stocksbridge and United Co-op Crewe could also be well worth a flutter at the bookies if they hit top form too.

The Scots of Kingdom Brass though could well be the dark horse who pips the lot, especially after their very impressive outing at Dundee. The fellow travellers down from behind Hadrian’s Wall, Unison Kinneil are also another band to keep an eye on too.

Outsiders

It is hard to see a victory coming from any other bands on the day given recent form, but the likes of Ashton under Lyne, Bournemouth, Cwmaman and Staffordshire have plenty about them to cause a bit of a stir.

Outsiders they may be on paper, but Aldbourne, Bo’ness and Carriden, Burry Port, Dalmellington, Knottingley, Lindley and Ratby are not to be under estimated either, although it would be a surprise if they could push their way into those priceless qualification spots.

Quality

Quality should reign though on this piece, and the experience of the MD’s in trying to balance the need for a modern approach to a classic work will be fascinating. Those who really do know the work inside out should carry the day – Pageantry is a piece that rewards respect.

The three that stand out for us are Skelmanthorpe, SWT Woodfalls and Marsden with Fishburn, Kingdom Brass and Ashton as our podium finishers. Ratby are our darkest of dark horses.

4BR Prediction:

1. Skelmanthorpe
2. SWT Woodfalls
3. Marsden
4. Fishburn
5. Kingdom Brass
6. Ashton under Lyne

Dark Horse: Ratby Co-operative

Malcolm Wood

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