2009 Spring Festival - Senior Trophy: Introduction and Predictions

7-May-2009

Potentially two steps away from Birmingham, but also just one away from oblivion too. The Senior Trophy has a keen edge of competition at both ends of the results table...


Test Piece: Spectrum – Gilbert Vinter
Spanish Hall

Draw: 10.00am
Commence: 11.00am



The Senior Trophy may well be the youngest of the three contesting elements that make up the Spring Festival at the Winter Gardens, but it is perhaps the most intriguing of the trio.

So near and yet so far

The road to the British Open is clearly set out before each band – on the horizon it must be said in fairness – but the competitors also know too well that if they don’t perform here they could find themselves back in banding limbo. So the bands here don’t look after their shoulders. Come in the bottom six and you are out – and there are plenty of other ambitious bands waiting to take your place.

It therefore lends the contest a keen edge – not just for the four promotion places, but also for the battle to avoid the longest relegation drop in the banding world – the one to oblivion.  

Good contest

Lots of the bands making the trip will fancy their chances, but first they will have to overcome an iconic work from the pen of Gilbert Vinter. There is a real threat of ‘Vinter fatigue’ in 2009, but it would take a real old curmudgeon to protest about hearing ‘Spectrum’ a few more times.

With its vibrant writing it remains his most enjoyably descriptive work – from that accelerating opening to its doom-laden end. It still takes a very good band to play it well too, and although there may be a few MDs and performers out there who may think it old hat, it will surely spank a few disrespectful backsides on the weekend too.

Potential winners and losers

A quick scan down the list of runners and riders shows a generous handful of potential winners and any number of bands that will be fancying themselves of being in the scrap for a qualification place. There are also quite a few bands that you may well think could struggle to make an impression and could be battling it out for survival too.
 
What odds?

Of those, Camborne look to be the band to beat, especially if they can build on the form they showed in winning the West of England Regional Championships in Torquay. No Garry Cutt at the helm on this occasion, but Kevin McKenzie should have enough quality at his disposal to ensure promotion at the very least.  

Nick Sheppard’s Blackburn and Darwen has enjoyed some pretty good form of late too, and they showed that at Blackpool a few months ago. They will be fancying their chances too.

The Welsh have a pretty decent record at the contest over the past few years and the quintet of London qualifiers Northop, Newbridge (Celynen), Wrexham, Beaumaris and Point of Ayr will pose a Celtic barrier that will take some breaking through by rivals. Of them, Northop could well be the pick of a strong bunch, whilst Point of Ayr come to the contest at short notice after replacing Timperley who had to drop out. 

Short odds

There may be short odds on United Norwest Co-op Milnrow too, fresh from their top six at Blackpool in the North West areas and a band making fine progress under the baton of John Ward. 

Besses O’ the Barn are of course a famous old banding name, but may be a little way off finding the type of form that propels them back towards their glory days just yet, whilst Friary Guildford is certainly moving in the right direction under Chris King, even if they haven’t quite had the results to go with it of late. Mossley are another band in need of a boost too after their poor showing at Blackpool. 
 
Johnstone Silver under the experienced Ray Tennant need a bit of a boost after the disappointment of the Scottish Regionals at Dundee, whilst it is always nice to see Laganvale make the trip over the Irish Sea to compete once again.

Fine day

Wantage Silver enjoyed a fine day out in Stevenage at the London Areas and will be keen to build on that as they head north, whilst Derwent Brass will want to improve on the form they showed in ending up a disappointing 9th at Bedworth.

The North East challengers of NUSUWT Riverside, RMT Easington and Felling will all be intent on ruffling a few feathers, and even though none of them did enough in Darlington to claim a place at the National Finals in London, each of them showed glimpses of the qualities required to at least push for a promotion place here. 

Yorkshire Co-op will represent the White Rose county with pride of course, and determination after their disappointing show at Bradford, whilst Glossop Old from Derbyshire come with confidence running high after a very solid performance at the Midlands area where they came 5th.  

Where’s your £1?

Whilst a few bands stand out, how the order will be from top-to-bottom is something that Paul McKenna would have fun predicting. We reckon there will be a real scrap at the top end of the results table, whilst it will be the brass band equivalent of six ferrets in a bag at the bottom end. 

For us though, Camborne should just have enough about them to clinch the title, with United Co-op Milnrow and Northop making up the podium places.

Blackburn & Darwen may just snatch the final promotion place ahead of Friary Guildford and Glossop Old. Out dark horse is Beaumaris.

4BR Prediction:

1. Camborne
2. United Co-op Milnrow
3. Northop
4. Blackburn & Darwen
5. Friary Guildford
6. Glossop Old

Dark Horse: Beaumaris

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