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Miners Strike for Glory in Blackpool

Full details and predictions for the weekends Mineworkers Championships.


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START TIME — 11.45 am

The annual pilgrimage to Blackpool that is the Mineworkers Brass Band Championships occurs again this weekend, with a spirited field of bands taking part in a contest that even in its very abridged form holds a special significance to the banding world as a whole.

The mining industry may be a fraction of the size that it once was and today is no longer the pride of the Nationalised World as it once was when brought into being under the Labour Government of Clement Attlee in 1947, but it is still a significant cultural as well as musical event.

Bands from around the country—including those today not only from the traditional heartlands of the industry but also areas not readily identified with mining are represented. 47 band on show (although we hear there may be one or two who have dropped out) all out to show the adjudicators that they are the best of the best in the mining community.
Championship Section: Test Piece—Isaiah 40 by Robert Redhead.

1 Fishburn Band����������
2 Newtongrange Band�����
3 The Riddings Band�����
4 Ever Ready Band�����
5 Cwmaman Institute Silver Band (Tower Colliery)�����
6 Thoresby (UK Coal) Band
7 Greggs Bakery Band�����
8 Dalmellington Band�����
9 Kingdom Brass Band�����
10 Grimethorpe Colliery (UK Coal) Band����������
11 Newstead Welfare Band����������
The Top Section has become something of one horse race over the years, especially as it has seen Grimethorpe just about win the title every year bar none. We know it’s open adjudication and we know they are the traditional darlings of the crowd, but overall there hasn’t really been too many performances over the years that could possibly have knocked them off their perch. Sometimes it’s been close, but mostly it hasn’t.

We can’t see that changing this year either, as Grimethorpe are on the size of a roll normally only found on Venessa Feltz’s stomach and are playing very well indeed. Robert Redhead’s “Isaiah 40” is a very difficult set test and many bands won’t know the piece very well either as it hasn’t seen much light of day since it was used at the National Championships in 1996. Second cornet players will sweating a little more than usual when they get the change blast out the odd fanfare or two, but overall it’s a very stern test of all sections of the band and it will take some playing. Grimey on form and with James Gourlay no less at the helm should be good enough to win it with a bit to spare.

Ever Ready should put up a good fight of it and should be second favourites for us what with a fine group of corner men ready to take the pressures and Ray Farr directing operations from the middle. Thorseby and Stan Lippeatt will be going all out for a bit of glory as well and should be relied upon to put in a good bold showing, whilst Dalmellington are a band that works very hard in the shadows of more illustrious company north of the border and never disgraces themselves at whatever contest they appear at. This could be a good opportunity to show off and take some notable scalps. Newtongrange are also on a bit of a roll of late and will enter the fray hoping to do well. They are another band that never disgraces themselves on the contest stage and recent good form could be a pointer to them coming in the prizes.

Fishburn have had a bit of a dip in form of late, but certainly didn’t disgrace themselves at the National Finals although Pontins seemed to be a contest too far and too soon after that hard work and they didn’t perform anywhere near as good as we know they could. Gregg’s will be hoping to take a few scalps off their north eastern rivals and ridings, Newstead and Kingdom Brass could well feature if they have a bit of luck on their side to go with their usual solid performances. Cwmaman we believe have withdrawn.

No real fuss for us in the prediction stakes this time with a top six for us of:

Ever Ready


1 Easington Colliery Band
2 Treherbert and District Band
3 Ireland Colliery Chesterfield Band�����
4 Betteshanger Welfare Band
5 G T Group Peterlee Band
6 Spennymoor Town Band�����
7 Broughtons Brass Band�����
8 Gresley Old Hall Band�����
9 Shirland Miners’ Welfare Band����������
10 The Bathgate Band�����
11 Barnsley Building Society Band����������
12 Kippax Band����������
13 AMI Laser Restoration Sharlston Band����������

The First Section should be a closer run thing with 13 bands all about the same standard competing however on a set test that really is very difficult indeed—Sounds by John Golland. Make no mistake, this is a hard piece of music and many bands found it tough going at the Europeans a few years back and the in top section at the Regionals about five years ago. It is hard. Solo cornets will have a lot of work to do and the sop part is a bit of a bugger as is the euphonium part as well. Of the bands on show, none really stand out as being the ones to beat and we think all of them will find the music more than a little difficult. This is not belittling then in anyway because there wouldn’t be many top section band who could put up a real fine show on it.
We think that the Welsh (hooray!) cold well do the business on this one and so we’ve plumbed for the boys and girls from Treherbert to come home to the valleys with a bit of silverware tucked under their jackets (and not from stealing the cutlery either). Easington should be in with a shout as should Broughtons and we also like the look of Sharlston and Bathgate with Betteshanger making up the top six.


1 Felling Brass Band�����
2 Pride Valley Brass Band
3 Harworth Brass Band�����
4 Lewis Merthyr Band�����
5 Stanley Newmarket Colliery Band����������
6 Weaver Group Band�����
7 Old Silkstone Band�����
8 Hatfield Wilfreda Beehive Band����������
9 Horden Colliery Band�����
10 Snibston and Desford Colliery Band����������

SPANISH HALL — 12.30 pm

1 Crofton Silver Band�����
2 Crosskeys Silver Band�����
3 Houghton Brass Band�����
4 Wansbeck’s Ashington Colliery Band����������
5 Hetton Silver Band�����
6 Murton Colliery Brass Band
7 Ynyshir Welfare (Stacks of Tiles) Band����������
8 Shotts St Patricks Brass Band����������
9 Armthorpe Elmfield Band
10 Ellington Colliery Band
11 Buckhaven Methil Miners Band����������
12 Ferryhill Town Band�����
13 Frickley South Elmsall Band����������

SPANISH HALL — 9.00 am

1 Lochgelly Brass Band�����
2 Llay Welfare Band�����
3 Leicestershire Co-op Snibston Charnwood Brass Band
4 Trimdon Concert Brass Band
5 Dearham Band����������
6 Five Rivers Brass Band
7 Dinnington Colliery Band
8 Shirland Welfare Training Band����������
9 Standish Band����������
10 Kirkby Colliery Welfare Band����������
11 Thurcroft Welfare Band����������


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