Kapitol Promotions has revealed that the 'hat-trick' bar, which has meant that any band winning the National title three years in a row has not been invited to play at the following year's contest, has been scrapped.
It could mean that if Cory wins at the Royal Albert Hall on the weekend then they will gain an automatic invitation to compete in 2018, alongside the three other pre-qualified bands.
No rule change
Oddly however, the decision has not been made with the need to change any of the current rules for the event, as according to Kaptiol Promotions director and contest promoter Philip Morris — the hat-trick bar seems to have been an unwritten precedent.
"We have looked into this extensively and have found nothing in previous editions of the rules, even under different promoters, for this to be imposed," he told 4BR.
"It seems to have been something of an anomaly of contesting history, a precedent which we think the time is right to officially change to reflect the modern age of brass banding."
It seems to have been something of an anomaly of contesting history, a precedent which we think the time is right to officially change to reflect the modern age of brass bandingPhilip Morris
History shows that the first band to claim a hat-trick at the National Championships was Foden's, following victories in 1932/33/34 — a feat they repeated in 1936/37/38 after their year in contesting exile in 1935.
No mention of the band's absence was made in the 1935 contest programme, although Foden's was invited to play in the massed band concert at Crystal Palace. Amazingly though, they were not allowed to return to the contest in 1945, despite a break of six years due to the Second World War.
Other bands that have been unable to return for a fourth time include Black Dyke after their hat-tricks of 1947-49 and 1975-77, as well as Cory (1982-1984) and Desford Colliery (1987-89).