2004 Spring Festival - Grand Shield - Band by band analysis


We cast our eye over the 22 bands on show this Saturday in Blackpool. Plenty of talented players, determined MDs and lots and lots of pure unbridled ambition to get to Birmingham.

Nigel TakenAveley & Newham
Conductor: Nigel Taken
4BR Ranking: 34

Principal Cornet: Cliff Pask
Solo Euphonium: Russell Davies
Solo Horn: Trevor Foster
Soprano: Andrew Bannister
Flugel: Dave Thomas
Solo Trombone: Paul Yarrow

The Last 10 years
2003: 16th (N. Taken)
2002: 4th (N. Taken)
2001: 5th (N. Taken)
2000: DNC
1999: DNC
1998: DNC
1997: DNC
1996: DNC
1995: DNC
1994: 13th (as Aveley) (M. White)
1993: DNC

Form Guide:

The Londoners come to Blackpool desperate to salvage something from a disappointing 2004 so far. The Regional Championships saw them miss out on the Royal Albert Hall for the second year in a row when they were beaten by Redbridge and Alliance Brass and for a band that can on its day play exceptionally well another miss from the top tier of contesting will be a difficult pill to swallow.

Last year was also a major let down as well as they could only manage 16th place and just missed relegation so where has the form of 2001 and 2002 gone? Then they were close to gaining a spot at the Open, so can they regroup and finally deliver on their undoubted promise.

Morten E HansenBeaumaris
Conductor: Morten E Hansen
4BR Ranking: 32

Principal Cornet: Paul Hughes
Solo Euphonium: Aled Williams
Solo Horn: Nia Wyn
Soprano: Arwel Williams
Flugel: Gwyn Evans
Solo Trombone: Peter Jones

The Last 10 years
2003: 6th (G. Evans)
2002: 12th (G. Evans)
2001: 2nd Senior Cup (prom) (G. Evans)
Did not compete in the contests before 2001

Form Guide:

The North Wales band will make the short trip across the Mersey and up to Blackpool confident of doing well under the inspiring baton of Norwegian Morten E Hansen. After a quiet year in 2003 they hit top form in Swansea at the Welsh Regional Championships where they were a little unlucky to come 4th overall – although that did mean a trip to the Royal Albert Hall in London later this year.

Since entering the Grand Shield Festival they have improved on each outing and with Morten E Hansen at the helm, don’t be surprised if they feature highly again here this year. 2004 has been pretty good so far – it may well continue in Blackpool.

Steven SykesBesses o’ th' Barn
Conductor: Steven Sykes
4BR Ranking: 24

Principal Cornet: Merete Vollan
Principal Euphonium: Kim Thorpe
Soprano Cornet: Chris Deacon
Solo Trombone: Paul Coupe
Solo horn: Lucy Pankhurst
Flugel horn: Michael Ashcroft

Last 10 Years:
2003: 12th in British Open (rel) (S. Sykes)
2002: 2nd Grand Shield (prom); 13th British Open (Lynda Nicholson)
2001: 11th Grand Shield (Gareth Pritchard)
2000: 3rd Grand Shield (Gareth Pritchard)
1999: 21st British Open (rel) (Gareth Pritchard)
1998: 17th (Derek Broadbent)
1997: 16th (Derek Broadbent)
1996: 13th (Derek Broadbent)
1995: 9th (Anthony Briggs)
1994: 20th (Paul Andrews)
1993: 19th (Trevor Halliwell)

Form Guide:

Besses can count themselves rather unlucky to have been relegated to the Grand Shield after they put in a very decent show at the 2003 British Open where they came 12th and beat six quality bands in the process. Such was the vagrancies of the relegation plot though that they fell through the trap door.

They have had some problems of late, losing players to other bands etc, but there is a fine spirit here and a lot of talent. 8th at the North West Regional Championships was a decent enough start to the year but there may be more left in the tank.

Peter ParkesDesford Colliery
Conductor: Peter Parkes
4BR Ranking: 25

Principal Cornet: David Smith
Solo Euphonium: Paul Walton
Solo Horn: Murray Borthwick
Soprano: Martin Britt
Flugel: Brian Winter
Solo Trombone: Neil Haddon

The Last 10 years
2003: 17th (P. Parkes)
2002: DNC
2001: 19th British Open (rel) (P. Parkes)
2000: 20th British Open (P. Parkes)
1999: 13th British Open (R. Newsome)
1998: 16th British Open (F. Renton)
1997: 15th British Open (F. Renton)
1996: 15th British Open (B. Tovey)
1995: 18th British Open (R. Farr)
1994: 10th British Open (J. Clarke)
1993: 13th British Open (S. Roberts)

Form Guide:

Crunch time for Desford came in 2001 when they found their long run at the British Open come to an end (although it was under threat for some time). In 2002 they didn’t compete so the 17th place here and no relegation was a bit fortuitous. That said, on their day they can still be a thrilling band to hear play as they confirmed in winning the Mineworkers Championships.

2004 though didn’t start well when they came 7th at the Midlands Regional Championships, so a return to the British Open will be a major aim for the year to come. If they do not do it, they could disappear into the ether until November and Butlins once more. If they do make it, then look out.

Gareth PritchardEast Yorkshire Motor Services
Conductor: Gareth Pritchard
4BR Ranking: 39

Principal Cornet: Craig Gaskell
Solo Euphonium: Melanie Ornsby
Solo Horn: Miles Davison
Soprano: Graham Drury
Flugel: Joanna Peacham
Solo Trombone: Mark Unsworth

The Last 10 years
2003: 9th (G. Pritchard)
2002: Winners Senior Cup (prom) (G. Pritchard)
2001: DNC
2000: 14th (G. O’Connor)
1999: DNC
1998: N/K (J. Roberts)
1997: 6th (A. Snell)
Did not compete in these contests before 1997.

Form Guide:

The admirable band from Hull continue to improve slowly but surely under the baton of Gareth Pritchard and 2004 once more saw them book a ticket at the Royal Albert Hall when they came runners up at the North of England Regional Championships.

Last year they were 9th after coming up as Senior Cup winners in 2002, so another leap up the prize list may not be beyond them. Plenty of talent around the stands and a experienced hand on the tiller – they could be in with a decent shout come results time.

Ian McElligottFishburn
Conductor: Ian McElligott
4BR Ranking: 28

Principal Cornet: John Gill
Solo Euphonium: Jeff Bell
Solo Horn: Steve Harding
Soprano: Malcolm Usher
Flugel: Patrick Garner
Solo Trombone: Malcolm Gill

The Last 10 years
2003: 4th (G. O’Connor)
2002: 6th (G. O’Connor)
2001: 10th (I. Robinson)
2000: DNC
1999: 14th (I. Robinson)
1998: DNC
1997: 19th (I. Robinson)
1996: 10th (I. Robinson)
1995: DNC
1994: DNC
1993: DNC

Form Guide:

If things go to the form book here, then Fishburn could well be joining the rivals Reg Vardy Ever Ready at the British Open in September. Since 2001 they have improved each year – the last two under the direction of the experienced Graham O’Connor.

The band just missed out again for London at the North of England Championships where they came 3rd once more, and since then they have parted from Graham O’Connor. Ian McElligott comes in and should provide a steady hand, but can they just make that final step up and gain both a rostrum and British Open place into the bargain?

Philip HarperFlowers
Conductor: Philip Harper
4BR Ranking: 17

Principal Cornet: Kevin Robbins
Solo Euphonium: Mark Hadlington
Solo Horn: Richard Knight
Soprano: Chris Howley
Flugel: Julia Telling
Solo Trombone: Andrew Norman

The Last 10 years
2003: 7th (P. Harper)
2002: 3rd (P. Harper)
2001: 21st British Open (rel)
2000: 19th British Open (R. Evans)
1999: 19th British Open (B. Hurdley)
1998: Winners (prom); 14th British Open (B. Hurdley)
1997: 10th (B. Hurdley)
1996: 9th (P. Bailey)
1995: DNC
1994: 17th (D. Williams)
1993: DNC

Form Guide:

In any other year Flowers would come to the Grand Shield as one of the favourites to gain a place back at the British Open, but after a fine win at Yeovil in February, things just fell apart big time at the West of England Championships.

That 6th place – due in part to some horrendous player departures will take a lot to recover from, and the band will surely be hoping that their superb flugel player Julia Telling is fit and well. If she is then she will be a real ace in their playing pack (she was the Solo Award Winner last year here), but the replacements will also have to play to top form. They may need some of the luck that was patently missing last year to book a place at the Open.

James CantGlossop Old
Conductor: James Cant
4BR Ranking: 50

Principal Cornet: Janet Lewis
Solo Euphonium: Pete Bowd
Solo Horn: Stuart Wilkinson
Soprano: Mandy Crowther
Flugel: Steve Roberts
Solo Trombone: Gary Burgess

The Last 10 years
2003: 8th (J. Cant)
2002: 18th British Open (rel) (J. Cant)
2001: 20th British Open (G. Pritchard)
2000: 2nd (prom) 14th British Open (J. Berryman)
1999: 5th (J. Cant)
1998: DNC
The band didn’t compete at the contests before 1999

Form Guide:

Glossop Old returned to the Grand Shield last year after finding life in the British Open a bit tough in 2001 and 2002. The fine Jim Cant does excellent work with the band year in year out and this was reflected in the 8th place here twelve months ago. If they can play to the form of 2000 then a return back to Birmingham may be on the cards.

2004 though has not started well for the band and they found themselves propping up the Midlands Regional Championship table in March when they came 13th and last. It will be interesting to see if that result is a one off or an indication of a more permanent malaise.

Mark BenthamHepworth
Conductor: Mark Bentham
4BR Ranking: 22

Principal Cornet: Robert Westacott
Soprano Cornet: Mark Smedley
Flugel: Catherine Booth
Solo Horn: Chris Parnell
Solo Euphonium: Emma Farrow
Solo Trombone: Yvonne Embury

The Last 10 years
2003: 3rd in Senior Cup (prom) (M. Bentham)
2002: 7th in Senior Cup (M. Bentham)
2001: 19th (K. Bolton)
2000: DNC
1999: 17th Grand Shield (rel) (N. Law)
1998: DNC
1997: DNC
1996: DNC
1995: DNC
1994: 20th Grand Shield (N. Law)
1993: DNC

Form Guide:

2003 was a brilliant year for Hepworth, but just like any newcomer who tests the best bands, the second year is always harder. They found that out in Bradford at the Yorkshire Regional Championships, where they would have hoped to have pushed for at least a top six place – 9th was the result.

With that in mind then they will be keen to show that they have not lost any of that verve and vibrancy that was their hall mark for so much of last year. With a talented group of players around the stand and a fine MD they should feature – although they are up against a real strong field.

Kevin WadsworthInnovate Skelmanthorpe
Conductor: Kevin Wadsworth
4BR Ranking: 48

Principal Cornet: Ralph Little
Solo Euphonium: Fiona Casewell
Solo Horn: Phil Garlick
Soprano: Robert Jagger
Flugel: Clare Lewis
Solo Trombone: N/K

The Last 10 years
2003: 13th (K. Wadsworth)
2002: 10th (K. Wadsworth)
2001: 4th Senior Cup (prom) (K. Wadsworth)
The band didn’t compete at the contest before 2001.

Form Guide:

The Pontins Champions are another band who will be looking to make that step up in class to the British Open this year, and although they could only manage 13th place here twelve months ago, they rounded off the year in fine style in Prestatyn.

2004 started OK but no better as they came 10th in the admittedly very strong Yorkshire Regional Championships in Bradford, but three of their rivals here beat them on that day, as well as one band from the Senior Cup, so they will have to play to form to make a mark.

Bryan HurdleyJAG Mount Charles
Conductor: Bryan Hurdley
4BR Ranking: 17

Principal Cornet: Ian Thomas
Solo Euphonium: N/K
Solo Horn: Sarah Robins
Soprano: Jon Small
Flugel: Tim Whitehead
Solo Trombone: Helen Thomas

The Last 10 years
2003: 3rd (B. Hurdley)
2002: 9th (B. Hurdley)
2001: 14th (B. Hurdley)
2000: 8th (R. Evans)
The band didn’t compete at the contest before 2000.

Form Guide:

The newly crowned West of England Champions will surely head for Blackpool with confidence sky high of doing well. That win at Torquay under the baton of Dr Nicholas Childs was well deserved and finally put pay to the rumours that they were a band that tended to freeze when the real pressure was on.

All that after a disappointing start to the year at Yeovil means they should be up there again come results time. Bryan Hurdley is the man once more charged with bringing them the success and promotion they narrowly missed out on twelve months ago and it is a partnership that works well. A Cornish Band at the British Open at last? We will wait and see.

David LeaJaguar (Coventry)
Conductor: David Lea
4BR Ranking: 65

Principal Cornet: Bob Baggott
Solo Euphonium: Rob Hunt
Solo Horn: Lynette Wild
Soprano: Darren Lea
Flugel: Andrew Bates
Solo Trombone: Kevin Lea

The Last 10 years
2003: 2nd in Senior Cup (prom) (D. Lea)
2002: 10th
2001: 16th Grand Shield (rel)
2000: 16th British Open (rel)
1999: 2nd Grand Shield (prom) 22nd British Open
1998: N/K
1997: DNC
1996: 18th Grand Shield

Form Guide:

The admirable Dave Lea and his band are certainly an outfit on the up, although they did start the year off in slightly disappointing fashion at Yeovil and could only manage 6th place at the Midlands Regional Championships in March.

They seem to like it in Blackpool though as after being relegated twice from the Open and the Grand Shield in 2000 and 2001 they have bounced back impressively since. That shows character aplenty and a bit more should set them up nicely this weekend.

John BerrymanKibworth
Conductor: John Berryman
4BR Ranking: 95

Principal Cornet: Carol Smith
Solo Euphonium: Simon Rotchell
Solo Horn: Nathan Waterman
Soprano: Bob Stradling
Flugel: Guido Damore
Solo Trombone: John Hopkins

The Last 10 years
2003: 11th (J. Berryman)
2002: 8th (J. Berryman)
2001: 6th Senior Cup (prom) (J. Berryman)
2000: 17th (J. Berryman)
The band didn’t compete at the contest before 2000.

Form Guide:

4BR are big fans of John Berryman – he is a conductor who never sacrifices the music in the vain hope of just creating effect in whatever test piece he directs and Les Preludes should suit him down to the ground. Whether it suits his lightweight but balanced sound of the band is another matter though.

They found life a little tough at the Midlands Regional Championships this year when they could only manage 11th place, but they have more than held their own here over the past few years (even when they were a First Section band), so another decent showing should be on the cards.

Garry CuttLeyland
Conductor: Garry Cutt
4BR Ranking: 9

Principal Cornet: Andrew Lord
Principal Euphonium: Bill Miller
Soprano Cornet: Ian Twiss
Solo Trombone: Richard Brown
Solo horn: Rosie Pearce
Flugel horn: Lucy Murphy

Last 10 Years
2003: 14th in British Open (rel) (P. Bassano)
2002: 11th (Garry Cutt)
2001: 9th (Brian Grant)
2000: 10th (Howard Snell)
1999: 8th (Richard Evans)
1998: 6th (Richard Evans)
1997: 8th (Richard Evans)
1996: 3rd (Richard Evans)
1995: 19th (Richard Evans)
1994: Winners (Richard Evans)
1993: 5th (Richard Evans)

Form Guide:

The undoubted favourites for a return to the British Open and short priced odds as well for them gaining a third Grand Shield victory – they were winners back in 1952 and 1981. Leyland are a band back to the their best of late, and of late has meant a Masters Championship win and a superbly crafted victory at the North West Regional Championships.

They may have been relegated from the Open after coming 14th last year, but it seems to have done the band the power of good. With one of the best MD’s around at the helm, it will take some effort from their rivals to deny them a place back in the Premiership contest in Birmingham.

Neil JowettLindley
Conductor: Neil Jowett
4BR Ranking: 102

Principal Cornet: Glyn Nash
Principal Euphonium: James Fieldhouse
Soprano Cornet: Denise Dransfield
Solo Trombone: John Heap
Solo horn: David Clegg
Flugel horn: Derrick Ruffel

Last 10 Years
2003: 6th in Senior Cup (prom) (N. Jowett)
2002: 16th Grand Shield (rel) (N. Jowett)
2001: Winners Senior Cup (prom) (N. Jowett)
2000: DNC
1999: DNC
1998: N/K (N. Jowett)
1997: DNC
1996: DNC
1995: 21st Grand Shield (D. Horsfield)
1994: DNC
1993: 18th (N. Jowett)

Form Guide:

The hardworking Lindley band will certainly be looking to improver on the result of 2002 – the last time they were in the Grand Shield. Then they came 16th and were relegated after being promoted the year before as Senior Cup winners, so fingers crossed.

There is plenty of talent around the stand, including ex YBS horn player Dave Clegg and two ex Black Dyke stars, Glyn Nash and the ex soprano player turned flugel this year, Derek Ruffel . 12th place at the Yorkshire Regional Championships was a bit of a let down, but it was a very strong contest. Things should be better here though.

Duncan BeckleyNewstead Welfare
Conductor: Duncan Beckley
4BR Ranking: 64

Principal Cornet: Mark Young
Soprano Cornet: Phil White
Flugel: Michael Cordon
Solo Horn: Sandra Kowalenko
Solo Euphonium: Lynden Cooper
Solo Trom: Andrew Bannister

Last 10 Years
2003: 5th Senior Cup (prom) (D. Beckley)
2002: 2nd Senior Trophy (prom) (D. Beckley)
Didn’t compete at the contests before 2002.

Form Guide:

Newstead and Duncan Beckley continue to move in the right direction and after coming 5th at the Senior Cup last year they gained a second successive promotion. If that form continues a place at the British Open could beckon?

That may just be beyond them this time, and they fell away a little at the Midlands Regional Championships when they came 8th. Plenty of quality around the stands and the enthusiasm and talent of Mr Beckley should hold them in good stead.

Melvin WhiteRedbridge
Conductor: Melvin White
4BR Ranking: 41

Principal Cornet: Ralph Brill
Soprano Cornet: Graham Lewis
Flugel: Alan Roberts
Solo Horn: Ruth Miller
Solo Euphonium: Lisa James

Last 10 Years
2003: 4th in Senior Cup (prom) (M. White)
2002: 5th Senior Trophy (prom) (M. White)
2001: DNC
2000: DNC
1999: DNC
1998: DNC
1997: DNC
1996: DNC
1995: 18th Grand Shield (J. Clark)
1994: 7th Grand Shield (J. Clark)
1993: 15th Grand Shield (J. Clark)

Form Guide:

The Londoners of Redbridge will head to Blackpool full of confidence and with real hopes of booking a place at the British Open. Triple winners of the London and Southern Counties Regional Championships this year, they are in the best form of their recent lives and with the experienced and very streetwise Melvin White at the helm, they are a band that cannot be discounted.

It’s a long time since a London based band was at the Open, but 2004 could well be the year when that changes. If they play to the form they showed at Stevenage and not Yeovil when they came 11th they could well do it.

David RobertsRothwell Temperance
Conductor: David Roberts
4BR Ranking: 29

Principal Cornet: Thomas Hutchinson
Soprano Cornet: Paul Argyle
Flugel: John Ward
Solo Horn: Catherine Roberts
Solo Euphonium: Jamie Ogden
Solo Trombone: Will Porter

Last 10 Years
2003: Winners of Senior Cup (prom) (D. Roberts)
2002: 15th Grand Shield (rel) (D. Roberts)
2001: 8th Grand Shield (D. Roberts)
2000: 7th Grand Shield (D. Roberts)
Didn’t compete here before 2000.

Form Guide:

Rothwell are a band that goes about its business in a very quiet but effective way, and the early part of 2004 once more showed that they are a very high-class band. They came 6th in Bradford at the Yorkshire Regional Championships – a fine result and if they can perform liked that again they should feature highly.

Lots of talent around the stands, and with an understated but talented MD in the form of David Roberts, they won the Senior Cup in style twelve months ago. On their day they could book a place in the Open. Will it be this Saturday though?

Philip McCannSellers International
Conductor: Philip McCann
4BR Ranking: 12

Principal Cornet: Nick Payne
Solo Euphonium: Mark Bousie
Solo Horn: Leah Williams
Soprano: Kay Mackenzie
Flugel: Natalie Beer
Solo Trombone: Rebecca Lundberg

The Last 10 years
2003: 10th (P. McCann)
2002: 7th (P. McCann)
2001: 4th (A. Exley)
2000: 13th (A. Exley)
1999: 17th British Open (rel) (P. Parkes)
1998: 18th British Open (A. Morrison)
1997: 12th British Open (A. Morrison)
1996: 11th British Open (A. Morrison)
1995: 7th British Open (P. McCann)
1994: 14th British Open (P. McCann)
1993: 16th British Open (P. McCann)

Form Guide:

On their day Sellers are as good a band around as any, and in recent months they have shown that they are returning to the form that saw them as regular contenders for the top prizes at both the Royal Albert Hall and the British Open.

2004 started well with the band just missing out on the London trip when they came 4th at Bradford, and although their MD has now resurrected his playing commitments his sensible approach with the baton should see Sellers do well hear. Plenty of talent in the seats, all they need now is a touch of luck and Birmingham will beckon.

Derek RenshawStocksbridge
Conductor: Derek Renshaw
4BR Ranking: 30

Principal Cornet: Matthew Knowles
Solo Euphonium: Simon Willis
Solo Horn: Adele Fullelove
Soprano: Giles Rimmer
Flugel: Daniel Ruby
Solo Trombone: Jamie Ashton

The Last 10 years
2003: 12th (D. Renshaw)
2002: 5th Senior Cup (prom) (D. Renshaw)
2001: DNC
2000: DNC
1999: DNC
1998: DNC
1997: DNC
1996: 10th British Open (R. Newsome)
1995: 15th British Open (G. O’Connor)
1994: 8th British Open (G. O’Connor)
1993: 7th British Open (K. Bolton)

Form Guide:

Stocksbridge had a fantastic 2003 when they qualified for the National Finals, but they found 2004 to be a bit tougher in Bradford when they could only manage 11th place. Derek Renshaw is a fine MD who has the knack of bringing out sensible readings from complex scores, and he and his band will have to play to the top of their form here if they are to feature highly.

12th last year was OK, especially after they had gained promotion from the Senior Cup the year before, but they will be looking for much more this time around.

David StowellTravelsphere Holidays
Conductor: David Stowell
4BR Ranking: 18

Principal Cornet: Matt Baker
Principal Euphonium: Robert Woods
Soprano Cornet: Gary Fountain
Solo Trombone: Mike Wallbridge
Solo horn: Simon Smith
Flugel horn: Claire Tomalin

Last 10 Years:
2003: 15th in British Open (rel) (1) (P. Parkes)
2002: 17th (Brian Grant) (15)
2001: 10th (Frank Renton) (1)
2000: 7th (Melvin White) (6)
1999: 10th (Melvin White) (23)
1998: 21st (Melvin White) (1)
1997: 17th (John Berryman) (12)
1996: 16th (John Berryman) (5)
1995: 4th (John Berryman) (8)
1994: 15th (John Berryman) (12)
1993: 8th (John Berryman) (N/K)

Form Guide:

Travelsphere Holidays may have found the right man for the job of gaining a place back at the British Open when they appointed David Stowell to take them to the Midlands Regional Championships in March. They have had their fair share of number 1 draws and they had another one there. This time though they played to their true potential and took the title. More of the same could well be on the cards here.

With plenty of talented players and with a possible new found confidence Travelsphere should feature highly, although there are strong rivals and the possibility of yet another number 1 draw (just as they got when the test piece was used at the Open in 2001). They will be hoping lightening doesn’t strike twice.

John RobertsUnited Co-operatives Yorkshire Brass
Conductor - John Roberts
4BR Ranking: 66

Principal Cornet: Tabby Clegg
Solo Euphonium: Owain Roberts
Solo Horn: Jamie Clegg
Soprano: Jason Varley
Flugel: Carolyn Ramsbottom
Solo Trombone: Marc Nethercot

The Last 10 years
2003: 5th (John Roberts)
2002: 6th Senior Cup (prom)
2001: 11th Senior Cup
The band didn’t compete at the contest before 2001.

Form Guide:

John Roberts and his hard working band come to the contest after missing out for a second year at the Regional Championships in Bradford in the First Section. That 4th place was a disappointment for a band that has shown that it can compete at the highest level, so they will be looking for a decent return here in Blackpool.

In the two years they have competed here they have shown improvement and the band gained promotion from the Senior Cup two years ago. This is a big step up though and they are against a strong field of competitors, but they have shown they can more than hold their own.


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