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Report & Results: 2018 North West Regional Championships: Second Section

Middleton, Bollington and Flixton head to Cheltenham after a cracking contst shone a bright musical light in the Pavilion Theatre

  Celebrations for Middleton Band as they took the honours in the Seond Section

The Middleton Band secured an impressive victory in the Second Section in a cracking contest that saw a host of well-matched bands shine on Jonathan Bates' engaging set-work, 'Ex Terra Lucem'.

None though was a bright as Middleton in the opinion of judges Derek Southcott and Tom Davoren, as MD Kevin Gibbs inspired his band to a clearly defined and long overdue victory, sending them back to the National Finals for the first time since 2013.

Fulfilled promise

In fact the last time they had tasted any contest success was back in 2009 at the Marsden March & Hymn Tune event, although since the appointment of the talented Welshman last year, a near miss at the Rochdale contest and a solid showing at Butlins earlier this year held rich promise — something that was fulfilled in fine fashion against a strong field of rivals.

They will be joined in Cheltenham by a brace of impressive qualifiers, with Bollington Brass and Flixton led by and benefiting from the vast experience of conductors Peter Christian and Ian Brownbill in claiming the podium spots ahead of solidly portrayed accounts from Old Hall Brass, Besses o'th' Barn and Marple.

Played with confidence

Both judges praised the efforts of all the bands on a test-piece that enabled them to play with confidence in the compact acoustic of the Pavilion Theatre — which for the vast majority of the day was packed with supporters and players all eager to hear their favourites and rivals perform.

Little wonder it was also full to the brim for the results, as a number would have been feeling confident of their qualification chances, although it soon became clear what both Tom and Derek had been looking for in giving excellent addresses that touched upon the elements that caused problems as well as those that allowed both ensembles and soloists to shine.

The vast majority brought out the dance-like feel of the opening 'Brigantes' section, whilst contrasting it with ensemble warmth and solo security in the central 'St Elyn's Church'. The final 'From the Ground, Light', which gives rise to the work's Latin title, was invariably delivered with brio and energy, despite some bands losing focus with overblowing.

Special mention

And whilst the prizes for 'Best Trombones' and 'Best Percussion' were claimed by Bollington and Besses Boys, Bollington's principal cornet Robbie Richardson would have surely won a 'Best Soloist' award if it had been presented, such was the fine impression his playing made on the men in the box.

However, it was Middleton's all round excellence that won the day, with both judges confirming that theirs was the one performance "that stood out" amid some fine efforts.

Those came from the early marker from a confident Besses o'th' Barn, before Bollington raised the bar just before the mid-point comfort break. A little while later it was Middleton who edged it almost out of reach with their compact, cohesive approach of controlled dynamics and tempi that couldn't be matched despite the fine efforts of the late draw challengers of Marple, Flixton and Old Hall Brass.

None though was a bright as Middleton in the opinion of judges Derek Southcott and Tom Davoren, as MD Kevin Gibbs inspired his band to a clearly defined and long overdue victory, sending them back to the National Finals for the first time since 20134BR


Second Section:

Adjudicators: Tom Davoren and Derek Southcott

1. Middleton (Kevin Gibbs)*
2. Bollington Brass (Peter Christian)*
3. Flixton (Ian Brownbill)*
4. Old Hall Brass (John North)
5. Besses o'th'Barn (Trevor Halliwell)
6. Marple (Stephen Curtis)
7. Haydock (Mark Quinn)
8. Greenfield (Tom Haslam)
9. Pemberton Old Wigan DW 'B' (Mike Golding)
10. Blackpool Brass (John Pearson)
11. Eagley (Chris Wormald)
12. Formby (Louise Hough MBE)
13. Hazel Grove (Nigel Beasley)
14. Farnworth & Walkden (Luke Pallister)
15. Besses Boys (James Holt)
16. Whitworth Vale & Healey (Chris Binns)
17. Horwich RMI (Matt Ryan)
18. Valley Brass (Haydock) (David Chadwick)
19. Delph (Phil Goodwin)
20. Darwen Brass (Gordon Clough)
21. Trinity Girls (David Ashworth)

*Qualify for National Final at Cheltenham

Best Trombones: Bollington
Best Percussion: Besses Boys


Result: London & Southern Counties Regional Championship: Third Section

March 18 • LGB Brass leads the way back to another National Final appearance alongside St Sebastian Wokingham and Milton Keynes Brass.


Result: 2018 North of England Regional Championship: Third Section

March 18 • Barton Community heads to Cheltenham with Knaresborough Silver at their side after a cracking Third Section battle in Durham.

Upper Rhondda

Result: 2018 Welsh Regional Championship: Fourth Section

March 18 • Upper Rhondda beat the snow and the opposition to head to Cheltenham with the youngsters of Cwmtawe Youth

Ian Williams

Williams memory at Brangwyn Hall

March 18 • There may be a keen battle for glory today in Swansea, but people will take time to remember one of the finest players to grace the Brangwyn Hall stage.

Black Dyke Band - The Hawth, Crawley

Sunday 18 March • The Hawth, Hawth Ave, Crawley RH10 6YZ

Contest: Welsh Regional Championships

Sunday 18 March • Brangwyn Hall, The Guildhall, Swansea SA1 4PE

Contest: London & SC REgional Championships

Sunday 18 March • Stevenage Arts & Leisure Centre, Lytton Way, Stevenage SG1 1LZ

Contest: North of England Regional Championships

Sunday 18 March • The Gala Theatre, 1 Millennium Place, Durham DH1 1WA

Black Dyke Band - Mirfield Parish Church

Thursday 22 March • Mirfield Parish Church, 38 Church Lane, Mirfield WF14 9HX

Clifton and Lightcliffe Band

March 18 • Our third section B Band are looking for Cornet and Trombone players. Rehearsals Friday's 7.00 - 8.15pm and Sunday mornings 10.00 - 12.15pm Based at Bailiff Bridge Brighouse. Our Saturday morning training band is also looking for players. All abilities.

Clifton and Lightcliffe Band

March 18 • Second Section band we are looking for a 2nd Trombone and back row cornet. We have a busy concert calendar and a trip to Italy planned for August 2018.. Based at Bailiff Bridge Brighouse.

Wakefield Metropolitan Brass Band

March 17 • Musical Director due to work commitments, the Wakefield Metropolitan Band seeks applications for this position. 1st section band with a 5th place at the areas. We require someone with the drive and ambition to take us to the next level is this you ?

Duncan A. Beckley

Conductor, adjudicator, band trainer and teacher