Nothing spectacular – just good solid non-nonsense banding: That’s the recipe at the Midlands of late.
Spark into life
The Area contest at Bedworth has yet to memorably catch fire –although there are signs that things may be about to spark into life after the smouldering form of late of bands here in all five sections.
There is undoubtedly passion and emotion running through the veins, but it only occasionally provides the fuel for a flashpoint of startling contesting brilliance.
Plenty of talking points over results, but not many over a performance that singed an indelible stamp of permanency in the memory banks.
Missing the grime and germs
Perhaps the players are missing the grime and germs of the old Burton on Trent experience – the old burger van certainly used to get those with pre contest nervous dispositions ‘going’…
2010 was a case in point – solid qualifiers produced decent returns at both London and Harrogate, but no winner and no podium finishers.
Three top six finishes and two other bands in the top 10. OK – nothing more, nothing less.
A bit more squeaky bum, edge of the seat stuff may do the Midlanders some good in preparation for the finals.
The talent is there – as seen by a host of strong performances at Butlins, but it’s a frustration that an area that boasts 76 bands making it to the starting blocks (down 4 this year) has only three National champions to boast about in the past five years – and only one since 2008.
Could that change this year we wonder?
Bedworth is a very well run event - with two cracking venues providing excellent facilities for the bands. The organisation is slick and professional and there is always a warm welcome to be enjoyed.
It is a pity that numbers are slightly down this year, with no Thoresby Colliery Youth, Chapel-en-le-Frith, Coleshill, Audley, Syston or Burbage Silver (and with Dronfield opting for Yorkshire), but there is good news in the return of Ifton and Skegness.
There is also the big field of contenders in the Fourth Section as always – a sure sign that the grass roots banding in the area is still in a pretty healthy state.
Meanwhile, there are also some interesting choices in the box too (a feature of this contest in recent years) with Philip Harper joined by Peter Bassano in the top section and Paul Norley, David Horsfield, Alan Hope and Steve Pritchard Jones making up an eclectic mix to decide the Cheltenham places.
Let’s hope there is something spectacular to get them all going then…