2004 All England Masters Championships - Band by Band Analysis


4BR casts its eye over the 19 contenders for the Masters Crown. Who will travel in hope and who will travel with real expectations.

Nigel TakenAveley and Newham
4BR Ranking: 38
Conductor: Nigel Taken

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

Appearances: 12th time this year
Debut: 1989
Best Result: 9th in 2000 and 2002
Worst Result: 20th in 1997

Overall Record:

2003 - 10th   (8th, 16th, 11th)   
2002 - 9th     (5th, 10th, 16th)
2001 - 19th    (20th, 16th, 20th)
2000 - 9th     (11th, 3rd, 13th)
1999 - 17th   (16th, 16th, 18th)
1998 - 10th   (4th, 13th, 14th)
1997 - 20th
1993 - 1996 Did not compete
1992 - 19th
1991 - 17th
1990 - 13th
1989 - 14th

Last Year: 10th   (8th, 16th, 11th) off number 18 draw

Conductors: The Aveley part of Aveley and Newham didn't join forces until the band competed here in 1997, so as the Asphaltic Newham Band they were directed by Nigel Taken from 1989 to 1991. Stephen Shimwell had the baton in 1992 and Melvin White took them in 1997. Nigel Taken returned in 1998 has been the man in charge ever since here. 

Masters Facts: From 1989 to 1992 the band competed under the single name of Newham. The best they have done is 9th place in 2000 and 2003, but they have also come last in 1991 and 1997 and last but one in 1992. Since the new system of judging came into being they have been placed as high as 3rd in 2000 by William Relton but only the once have two of the judges on the day thought them good enough for a top ten place and that was in 2002. 2003 saw them score 35 points, four worse than 2003 and 25 behind the winners. 

Current Form: Varied to say the least. Yeovil was great, the Regionals poor and Blackpool OK. They are a band that thrives on confidence, and that confidence is at a bit of a low ebb at present we feel. No London and no Open, so this could be the one chance to make a mark against high class contenders for the year and remind everyone how good a band they really are.  Another top 10 place may be the best they can hope for though on current form, although they did produce a very fine effort in coming 7th on this test piece when it was used at the National Finals in 2000.

Jonathan CorryBesses o' th' Barn
4BR Ranking: 25
Conductor: Jonathan Corry

Principal Cornet: Merete Vollan
Principal Euphonium: Kim Thorpe
Soprano: N/K
Solo Horn: Lucy Pankhurst
Flugel: Michael Ashcroft
Solo Trombone: Paul Coupe

Appearances: 13th time
Debut: 1989
Best Result: 7th 1999
Worst Result: 19th 1993

Overall Record:

2003 - 11th   (5th, 19th, 12th) 
2002 - 11th    (13th, 3rd, 19th)
2001 - 10th   (9th, 8th, 15th)
2000 - 11th   (12th, 9th, 11th)
1999 - 7th     (10th, 13th, 3rd)
1998 - 17th   (14th, 14th, 16th)
1997 - 15th
1996 - 12th
1994 & 1995 DNC
1993 - 19th
1992 - DNC
1991 - 16th
1990 - 11th
1989 - 10th 

Last Year: 11th   (5th, 19th, 12th) off number 20 draw

Conductors: Roy Newsome took the band at the first Masters back in 1989 before Alex Evans took over the following year. Paul Hindmarsh then took them in 1991 and 1993. On their return back to the contest in 1996 Derek Broadbent took the band for three years to 1998 before Gareth Pritchard headed their challenge from 1999 to 2001. Lynda Nicholson became the first woman to conduct here when she took the band in 2002 and Steve Sykes took the helm in 2003. Jonathan Corry makes his debut with the band this time around.
Masters Facts: Best position of 7th came under Gareth Pritchard in 1999, when James Scott placed them 3rd and the other judges 10th and 13th. In 2002 David Read gave them a podium place but the others had them as low as 13th and 19th and they ended up with 35 points, 31 behind the winners. Since 1999 at least one judge has put them in the top ten although they only have the one overall top ten finish to their credit in their eleven attempts so far.  They have hovered in and around the top ten for the past five years and John Berryman had them as high as 5th twelve months ago. 

Current Form: Getting better. 8th at the North West Regional Championships was followed by a steady 14th place at Blackpool where Steve Sykes produced a fine reading that was undone by too many errors around the stand.  There is plenty of talent here, although we think they may need to bring in a sop player like they did at Blackpool. That can prove expensive, but it will be worth it if they can reproduce the form of 1999 when they came 7th. Jonathan Corry makes his debut at the contest and he certainly is a man with a big future. Can the recovery keep pace here?   

James GourlayBrighouse and Rastrick
4BR Ranking: 6
Conductor: James Gourlay

Principal Cornet: Alan Morrison
Principal Euphonium: Steven Miles
Soprano: Alan Hobbins
Solo Horn: Melvyn Bathgate
Flugel: Stephen Rogers
Solo Trombone: James Stockdale

Appearances: 13th time
Debut: 1992
Best Result: Winners in 1993, 1998 and 2001.
Worst Result: 11th 1992

Overall Record:

2003 - 4th    (6th, 2nd, 6th)
2002 - 8th    (14th, 7th, 9th)
2001 - 1st     (3rd, 3rd, 2nd)
2000 - 3rd    (6th, 6th, 4th)
1999 - 2nd    (1st, 3rd, 2nd)
1998 - 1st    (3rd, 2nd, 2nd)
1997 - 5th
1996 - 5th
1995 - 3rd
1994 - 4th
1993 - 1st
1992 - 11th
1989 - 1991 DNC

Last Year: 4th  (6th, 2nd, 6th) off number 14 draw

Conductors: Allan Withington was the man who headed the Brighouse challenge from 1992 to 2001, and a fine record he had here too with three wins to his credit. The slightly academic Peter Bassano had one attempt in 2002 before handing over the baton to Ian McElligott for 2003. James Gourlay, who has twice directed winning performances here is the man charged with trying to give Brighouse a fourth title.

Masters Facts: The bands three wins have come on "English Heritage" in 1993, "Dances and Arias" in 1998 and "Contest Music" in 2001. Since the new system of adjudication has come in they have only been placed 1st by one judge (David Read) when they came 2nd overall in 1999. Although they have won the contest twice since 1998, come runners up and third, no other individual judge has put them top. Last year they appeared under Ian McElligott and came 4th (the band had a habit of coming there or thereabouts under him) and so they have since parted company and opted for the proven winner in James Gourlay. It could be a very interesting combination.

Current Form: Decent enough it seems what with them picking up 3rd place at Bradford and qualifying for London once again. That performance was the debut of the new combination with James Gourlay and many in St. George's Hall that day had them tipped for winners. They were full of excitement and bravura, hallmarks of the great years of B&R and it seemed the Scotsman had restored some of the old vim and vigour that had been tempered and subdued a bit in the McElligott era. Ones to watch out for this weekend and they came 4th on this piece in 2000 when it was used at the National Finals.

Camborne Town
4BR Ranking: 35
Conductor: Lt. Col. Chris Davis

Principal Cornet: Chris Leonard
Principal Euphonium: Robert Jose
Soprano: Jeremy Squibb
Solo Horn: Graham Barker
Flugel: Andrew Mitchell
Solo Trombone: Nick Abbott

Appearances: 5th time
Debut: 1989
Best Result: 10th in 1990 and 1991
Worst Result: 20th in 1999

Overall Record:

2000 - 2003 - Did not compete
1999 - 20th (21st, 15th, 21st)
1992 - 1998 - Did not compete
1991 - 10th
1990 - 10th
1989 - 13th

Last Year: Did not compete

Conductors: Steve Sykes took the band on their first three attempts, whilst Leonard Adams directed the band in 1999.

Masters Facts: 13th at the inaugural contest under Steve Sykes was followed by two consecutive 10th places before a big break form the contest from 1992 to 1998. A one year return in 1999 saw them come last but one when they came 20th under Leonard Adams, so they return this year hoping to make their fifth appearance a better one. 
Current Form: Decent enough it seems after the band gained qualification to the Royal Alert Hall after coming second at the West of England Championships in Torquay. We are a bit mystified why they didn't appear at any of the contest at the Grand Shield weekend though so what form they bring with them here will be interesting. Chris Davis though is someone to look out for on the conductors stand - not a military style of conducting for sure, but one that is both exciting and successful after he directed Otterbourne Brass to top place in the Second Section at Torquay.

Brian GrantCarlton Main Frickley Colliery
4BR Ranking: 22
Conductor: Brian Grant

Principal Cornet: Kirsty Abbotts
Principal Euphonium: Ian Wright
Soprano: Gary Bates
Solo Horn: Kate Eggleshaw
Flugel: Bridget Scott
Solo Trombone: Neil Samuel

Appearances: 3rd time
Debut: 2000
Best Result: 3rd in 2001
Worst Result: 16 in 2003

Overall Record:

2003 - 16th   (14th, 20th, 13th)
2002 - DNC
2001 - 3rd    (2nd, 4th, 10th)
2000 - 5th    (8th, 8th, 5th) 
1989 - 1999 - DNC

Last Year: 16th   (14th, 20th, 13th) off number 4 draw

Conductors: John Hinckley took the band in both 2000 and 2001 before handing over the responsibility in 2003 year to William Rushworth. 2004 sees Brian Grant take over the helm at fairly short notice.

Masters Facts: Only a short record of achievement at Cambridge so far for the famous old band that has gone through the mill more than a few times in recent years. The record though is pretty good with a best of 3rd place in 2001 when they were given a 2nd and a 4th place by two of the three judges on the day. That showed that they could handle the pressure here and followed on from a great debut when under John Hinckley they came 5th in 2000. No appearance in 2002 and a bit of a hard baptism back last year when they rather overblew in coming 16th. 

Current Form: Questionable. What with the recent departure of William Rushworth from the band just a fortnight before the contest, it seems the rather Big Dipper history of Carlton Main has once again found itself on the downward slope. We hope not, as one their day this is a very good band which has plenty of classy performers around the stands.   8th place at Bradford was a bit of a disappointment perhaps but they do have the British Open to look forward to in September. If they can put behind them their most recent troubles then they should be capable of holding their own.  If not, then who knows?

Gareth PritchardEast Yorkshire Motor Services
4BR Ranking: 43
Conductor: Gareth Pritchard

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

Appearances: 5th time
Debut: 1997
Best Result: 13th in 1998
Worst Result: 21st in 2000
Overall Record:

2001 - 2003 - Did not compete
2000 - 21st  (21st, 19th, 21st)
1999 - 15th  (13, 14th, 15th)
1998 - 13th  (18th, 11th, 11th)
1997 - 17th 
1989 - 1996 - Did not compete

Last Year: Did not compete

Conductors: Andrew Snell directed the bands first performance here in 1997, whilst John Roberts took over for both 1998 and 1999. Graham O'Connor conducted the band in 2000 and Gareth Pritchard takes over for 2004.

Masters Facts: Just the four appearances and a best of 13th in 1998 when the three judges placed the band 18th, 11th and 11th.  That was followed by a drop of two places the following year when they had a close grouping (something that doesn't happen very often under the old system) of 13th, 14th and 15th to come 15th overall. The last appearance though was a major disappointment as they came last in a 21 band field with a three judge verdict of 21st, 19th and 21st. They will be hoping that the new system is a bit kinder to them this time then.
Current Form: A bit up and own it seems. The up was certainly the North East Regional Championships where for the third year in a row they qualified for the National Finals behind Ever Ready. That means another long trip south to London in October but they won't worry about that. Blackpool though was a different kettle of fish altogether and they came a lowly 18th, just missing the drop to the Senior Cup on Les Preludes. They will hope to have put that behind them and will be able to draw on the experience of the MD who directed Bodmin to 15th place at London in 2000 when this test was last used. 

Ray FarrEver Ready (Reg Vardy)
4BR Ranking: 15
Conductor: Ray Farr

Principal Cornet: Brian Tait
Principal Euphonium: Paul Robinson
Soprano: Tom Glendinning
Solo Horn: Andrew Hall
Flugel: Joanne Winspear
Solo Trombone: Chris Bentham

Appearances: 14th time
Debut: 1989
Best Result: 7th 2001
Worst Result: 20th 1995

Overall Record:

2003 - 15th   (20th, 15th, 9th)
2002 - 13th   (10th, 14th, 14th)
2001 - 7th     (8th, 9th, 6th)
2000 - 16th    (15th, 10th, 20th)
1999 - 18th   (17th, 20th, 17th)
1998 - 8th     (15th, 6th, 8th)
1996 & 1997 DNC
1995 - 20th
1994 - 13th
1993 - 17th
1992 - 18th
1991 - 9th
1990 - 12th
1989 - 9th

Last Year: 15th  (20th, 15th, 9th) off number 2 draw

Conductors: R. Payne directed Ever Ready here in 1989 and Denzil Stephens took the band in 1990 and Stephen Tighe taking over in 1991. Hugh Megarrell took over in 1992 before Stan Lippeat had a go in 1993 and Mark Bentham tried in 1994 and 1995. On their return in 1998 Stephen Roberts took the helm for two years before Bryan Hurdley directed their show in 2000. Bryan Grant tried with the band in 2001 before Ray Farr took over in 2002. Thankfully he remains otherwise they would have had more conductors than the number 23 bus to Gateshead.
Masters Facts: Not the greatest record here for Ever Ready, but solid enough. They have a best of 7th in 2001 on "Pageantry" when all three judges put them in the top ten, but they also have a few poor results as well - including last place in 1995 on "Paganini Variations". Solid enough in the past couple of years under Ray Farr with 15th last year secured off the dreaded number 2 draw.

Current Form: Very good. There seems to be a sense of a new era at Ever Ready under Ray Farr and in recent months they have certainly showed fine form. Winners of the North East Regional Championships (again) that started the year just as they left off 2003 they come here looking to improve certainly on last year's result and possibly bettering their best of 7th in 2001.  They could be on to do it as well, although they will like to put up a better show on this work than they did in 2000 at London where they came 13th.  

Philip HarperFlowers
4BR Ranking: 18
Conductor: Philip Harper

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

Appearances: 11th time
Debut: 1994
Best Result: 5th 2001, 2002 and 2003
Worst Result: 20th 1998
Overall Record:

2003 - 5th   (10th, 4th, 3rd)
2002 - 5th   (7th, 5th, 6th)
2001 - 5th    (13th, 2nd, 4th)
2000 - 8th   (3rd, 13th, 19th)
1999 - 8th   (9th, 5th, 12th)
1998 - 20th  (19th, 19th, 20th)
1997 - 8th
1996 - 18th
1995 - 19th
1994 - 16th
1989 - 1993 - DNC

Last Year: 5th   (10th, 4th, 3rd) off number 5 draw

Conductors: David Williams took the band on their 1994 debut, before David Stowell took over in 1995. David Williams returned for 1996, before Philip Bailey took over for 1997. Yet another change in 1998 saw Nigel Seaman have a go and then Bryan Hurdley took over in 1999. David Barringer was the sixth MD in 2000 before Philip Harper became the first man to do a "double" by taking the band in consecutive years in 2001 and 2002. He has remained ever since, and so has the impressive run of results here.

Masters Facts: A tale of two halves as the football pundits may say. Up to 1998 they had just the one top ten place to show for their efforts here, but since they came last but one then they have put in a real series of fine performances that have caught the ears of the judges here. Two 8th places have been followed by three consecutive 5th places in the last three years when they have been places as high as 2nd but as low as 13th. 2003 saw them repeat the form of the previous two years when two of the judges thought them as good as 3rd and 4th and one put them down for 10th, which just cost them a higher overall place.

Current Form: Disappointing. The last few months have seen more misery heaped upon a fine band than could be found in an Ingmar Bergman film. Confidence has taken a bit of a battering and personnel changes have taken time to settle, and as a result they have certainly not played to the form that they have shown so brilliantly here over the past few years. Kevin Robbins took over on the flugel bench for the Grand Shield with Chris Howley on top man and although they played well, they were the right men on the wrong instruments - both are very high class cornet and soprano players respectively.  If things playerwise have got back to normal then look out as they can really make a mark, but if not, a repeat of London 2000 and a lowly 16th place could very well beckon.

Fodens Richardson
4BR Ranking: 5
Conductor: Stephen Bell

Principal Cornet: Mark Wilkinson
Principal Euphonium: Glyn Williams
Soprano: Alan Wycherley
Solo Horn: Martin Armstrong
Flugel: Helen Fox
Solo Trombone: John Barber

Appearances: 15th time
Debut: 1990
Best Result: Winners in 1990, 1991, 1994, 1995 and 2002
Worst Result: 12th 2000

Overall Record:

2003 - 2nd    (1st, 8th, 2nd)
2002 - 1st    (2nd, 1st, 1st)
2001 - 4th    (5th, 6th, 5th)
2000 - 12th  (9th, 12th, 14th)
1999 - 5th    (4th, 7th, 9th)
1998 - 6th    (9th, 5th, 5th)
1997 - 6th
1996 - 2nd
1995 - 1st
1994 - 1st
1993 - 3rd
1992 - 5th
1991 - 1st
1990 - 1st
1989 - DNC
Last Year: 2nd   (1st, 8th, 2nd) off number 21 draw

Conductors: Howard Snell was the man at the helm from 1990 to 1996 before Philip McCann had a one year fling in 1997. Nicholas Childs oversaw the attempts of 1998, 1999 and 2000, before Richard Evans directed their effort in 2001. Russell Gray made a winning debut with the band in 2002 and claimed the runners up spot in 2003, but it is the French Horn player, Steve Bell from the  BBC Concert Orchestra who takes over this year.

Masters Facts: The five wins have come on "Blitz", "Harmony Music", "Montage", "Paganini Variations" and in 2002 on "Atlantic". It is a superb record and the "Paganini" win was gained with an unprecedented 199 points - the highest ever at the contest. Steve Bell is only the sixth MD after Messr's Snell, McCann, Childs, Evans and Gray to take Fodens here and he will hope to emulate both Snell and Gray in winning with the band on his debut.  2000 saw the only time the band has come out of the top six here when they fell to their worse placing of 12th, but 2001 saw them recover to 4th and then there was the win and runners up place last year. In the last two years, 50% of the judges have thought them to be the best band on the day, so they certainly know how to impress here.

Current Form: Uncertain. For a band with such obvious talents, the last few months have been a little uncomfortable for the Sandbach outfit. The partnership with Thomas Wyss never really worked and although they carry the title of US Open Champions, it is small beer compared to what they could and should have been capable of achieving in the past 12 months or so. Blackpool was a real low point and missing out on a trip to London was crushing blow that led to a general reassessment of the musical direction. Steve Bell is the new man, and some fine reports have filtered out from the bandroom concerning his approach and relationship with the band. If it gells (and he comes with a ringing endorsement from Bram Tovery no less) then a possible winning start could well be on the cards. Fodens have something to prove and this could well be the time to do it.  

Ian McElligottJAG Mount Charles
4BR Ranking: 20
Conductor: Ian McElligott

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

Appearances: 4th time
Debut: 2001
Best Result: 14th 2002
Worst Result: 17th in 2001
Overall Record:

2003 - 14th    (21st, 7th, 15th)
2002 - 14th     (12th, 19th, 10th)
2001 - 17th    (16th, 19th, 13th)
1989 - 2000 - DNC

Last Year: 14th  (21st, 7th, 15th) off number 16 draw

Conductors: Bryan Hurdley headed the first two attempts in 2001 and 2002, before handing over the baton to John Hinckley in 2003 and Ian McElligott this year. 

Masters Facts: The third appearance here for the band from deepest Cornwall and they will be hoping to continue the trend of the last three years when they have more than held their own. 17th first time out was OK but they improved that to 14th in 2002 and repeated again last year when they suffered a little by getting a lowly 21st place off one of the judges.  They also got a 7th place off Eric Crees, it was a performance that certainly made a mark on at least one man in the box. This year they will have to impress all three if they are to continue on their upward climb here.

Current Form: Very good. West of England Champions for the first time, and a damn good show it was too under Dr Nicholas Childs that took the title. They changed MD's for the Grand Shield attempt though and although under Bryan Hurdley they played well, it was never enough to really challenge for a British Open place and they came a respectful 7th.  Another change on the conductor's podium sees the controversial figure (in Australia at least) of Ian Elligott take over and it will be interesting to her his approach to the music after a slightly different Les Preludes from the rest in Blackpool. It didn't quite work there on that day with Fishburn, but it could make a bit of a splash here if it comes off. We will wait and see with interest.

Russell GrayRansome
4BR Ranking: 17
Conductor: Russell Gray

Principal Cornet: Tony Wyatt
Principal Euphonium: Dave Belshaw
Soprano: David Bird
Solo Horn: George Thackrey
Flugel: Della Pearce
Solo Trombone: Chris Jeans

Appearances: 7th time
Debut: 1998
Best Result: 8th 2001
Worst Result: 17th 2000 and 2003

Overall Record:

2003 - 17th    (17th, 11th, 19th)
2002 - 10th    (9th, 8th, 15th)
2001 - 8th      (4th, 12th, 8th)
2000 - 17th    (18th, 15th, 15th)
1999 - 13th    (11th, 12th, 13th)
1998 - 12th    (1st, 20th, 17th)
1989 - 1997 - DNC

Last Year: 17th   (17th, 11th, 19th) off number 17 draw

Conductors: Brian Grant was the man in charge when the band made their debut in 1998 and followed it the next year as well. Derek Broadbent directed the band in 2000 before Russell Gray was on the podium in 2001 during his first with the band. Peter Parkes had a go in 2002 before Brian Grant returned for a third time in 2003. Another returnee appears this year as Russell Gray takes the helm again.

Masters Facts: Just the one single figure place for Ransome since they made their debut here in 1998. That was the year when they were given top spot by Geoffrey Brand but 20th and 17th by Eric Crees and William Relton. Since then it has been a tale of midfield places, although they did manage 8th place overall in 2001 when they gained a 4th place from one of the judges on the day. In 2002 they came 10th with an overall score of 32 points under Peter Parkes, but that did include two top ten places from the judges, but last year they fell away somewhat to come 17th, when the best impression they made ws on Eric Crees who put them 11th. They will be looking for better.  

Current Form: Returning back to its best it seems.  Missing out on qualification to the London Finals was a bitter blow for Ransome when they came 4th at the Midlands Regional Championships, and theymay have thought the Gods were against them when they drew number 1 at the Senior Cup a couple of weeks ago. On the day though they were a class above just about everyone else and won in fine style, and that should set them up nicely here to do well. Russell Gray knows both what it takes to win here and do well and in addition he directed Ransome when they came runners up at the National Finals on this piece in 2000. (Remember the bells in the water?) A good, if rather spooky omen of good fortune then? 

Melvin WhiteRedbridge
4BR Ranking: 45
Conductor: Melvin White

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

Appearances: 11th time
Debut: 1990
Best Result: 8th in 1993 and 1994
Worst Result: 19th in 1997

Overall Record:

2003 - 13th   (15th, 10th, 14th)
1999 - 2002 - DNC
1998 - 18th   (10th, 15th, 19th)
1997 - 19th
1996 - 11th
1995 - 14th
1994 - 8th
1993 - 8th
1992 - 12th
1991 - 15th
1990 - 15th
1989 -DNC
Last Year: 13th  (15th, 10th, 14th) off number 8 draw

Conductors: John Clark took the band here from 1990 to 1995 before G. Wilson took over the baton from 1996 to 1998. Melvin White became their third conductor here in 2002 and he returns one more this year. 

Masters Facts: Redbridge returned to the Masters after a four-year break between 1999 and 2002. They made their debut here in 1990 and had two best performances in 1993 and 1994 on "English Heritage" and "Montage" when they came 8th on both occasions. They dropped away a little after that and made their last outing here in 1998 on "Dances and Arias" when they came 18th, although Geoffrey Brand had them as high as 10th on the day. They returned in 2003 and under Melvin White they put up a very decent showing on "Chivalry" to come 13th with a high of 10th from Eric Crees.

Current Form: Decent. We say decent as 2004 didn't start particularly well at Yeovil, but returned in fine style when they completed the hat trick of Regional wins at Stevenage. That should have given them the extra boost to have done very well at the Grand Shield, but on the day they really played below themselves and came home a disappointing 16th. If things go well then they could challenge for a top ten place at least, but they will have to pull the stops out. Melvin White should ensure they will be well prepared for the task ahead. 

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

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

Appearances: 4th time
Debut: 2001
Best Result: 11th
Worst Result: 12th in 2002 and 2003

Overall Record:

2003 - 12th    (12th, 5th, 20th)
2002 - 12th   (17th, 12th, 7th)
2001 - 11th    (12th, 5th, 16th)
1989 - 2000 - DNC

Last Year: 12th    (12th, 5th, 20th) off number 12 draw

Conductors: David Roberts has directed every performance of the band since 2001.

Masters Facts: It seems that the judges don't really know what to make of Rothwell at this contest so far since they made their debut in 2001. Their first outing saw them have a variety of placings from the three judges, Roy Newsome, James Scott and Geoff Whitham, with the senior judge James Scott placing them as high as 5th and Geoff Whitham placing them as low as 16th, whilst in 2002 they were as high as 7th from James Scott but as low as 17th from Eric Crees. It continued last year as well as Eric Crees had them as high as 5th, whilst John Berryman and David Read placed them 12th and 20th respectively. What then 2004? If they get it together then a top six place could well be on the cards and so with the three men together perhaps the differences may disappear for the better.          

Current Form: Excellent. 4BR has really underestimated Rothwell in the past and we have ended up with egg on our faces each time. Not this weekend, so we hope our tipping won't be the kiss of death. 6th place at Bradford and then runners up at the Grand Shield and a place at the Open later this year. This is a very good band indeed on it's day as they certainly showed at Balckpool, so let's see if they can show that form again at Cambridge.

Philip McCannSellers International
4BR Ranking: 15
Conductor: Philip McCann

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

Appearances: 15th time
Debut: 1990
Best Result: 4th 1996 and 2002
Worst Result: 21st 1999

Overall Record:

2003 - 6th     (11th, 1st, 10th)
2002 - 4th     (6th, 6th, 5th)
2001 - 15th   (14th, 11th, 14th)
2000 - 7th     (13th, 5th, 7th)
1999 - 21st    (19th, 19th, 19th)
1998 - 11th    (20th, 10th, 7th)
1997 - 7th
1996 - 4th
1995 - 5th
1994 - 12th
1993 - 6th
1992 - 6th
1991 - 5th
1990 - 9th
1989 - DNC

Last Year: 6th   (11th, 1st, 10th) off number 15 draw

Conductors: Philip McCann was at the helm for the first time from 1990 to 1995 before Alan Morrison directed on three occasions between 1996 and 1998. Peter Parkes had one bash in 1999 before Alan Exely had a double go in 2000 and 2001. Mr McCann returned in 2002 and now makes his ninth appearance with the band this year. 

Masters Facts: A long and very honourable record of achievement at the Masters over the years for the band that first took part in 1990 under current MD Philip McCann. Two 4th places are the best in 1996 under Alan Morrison and then last year when the founding MD returned. Ten times they have come in the top ten with seven of those in the top six itself. They also have the joint record with Rhodian of gaining identical placings from all three judges when they were placed 19th by all three in 1999, only the second time it has ever happened under the now defunct adjudicating system. Sixth place last year saw them gain a top place from Eric Crees, but 10th and 11th from the other judges which meant 6th overall.

Current Form: Excellent. Sellers are back in business big style and their win at Blackpool not only meant a return to the British Open, but finally confirmed that the obvious improvements that Philip McCann has brought to the band since he has returned had born fruit. Sellers are now a quality outfit against any opposition. If they can repeat the standard of performance that they showed at the Grand Shield then they should feature highly and a podium place or better is not beyond them at the moment.

Steve BastableSWT Woodfalls
4BR Ranking: 56
Conductor: Steve Bastable

Principal Cornet: Kevin Darby
Principal Euphonium: Graham Lawrence
Soprano: Mark Pye
Solo Horn: Trish Chislett
Flugel: Chantel Pye
Solo Trombone: Scott Stewart

Appearances: 8th time
Debut: 1997
Best Result: 9th 1999
Worst Result: 21st in 2003

Overall Record:

2003 - 21st   (18th, 18th, 17th)
2002 - 15th   (11th, 11th, 20th)
2001 - 20th    (19th, 21st, 17th)
2000 - 18th    (20th, 18th, 12th)
1999 - 9th     (12th, 10th, 6th)
1998 - 15th    (16th, 16th, 10th)
1997 - 13th
1989 - 1996 DNC

Last Year: 21st   (18th, 18th, 17th) off number 13 draw

Conductors: Melvin White in 1997 and 1998, Steve Sykes in 1999, Mike Fowles in 2000, Peter Curtis in 2001, David Hirst in 2002and Rob Wiffin in 2003. Steve Bastable becomes the seventh man in eight attempts to improve on a best of 9th in 1999.    

Masters Facts: The band haven't really made the mark they would have hoped for here since they made their debut in 1998 with a best result of 9th place in 1999 on "Tristan Encounters". Since then though they have had a couple of lowly outings with last place last year and last but one in 2001. The best individual placing they have achieved was 6th from James Scott in 1999, so they will be hoping the change in the adjudication system brings a better result this time around.
Current Form: A bit of a mystery. We say that because the band were forced to pull out of the Senior Trophy and the last time we heard them was when they didn't quite play to form at either Yeovil or the West of England Championships where they came 4th under Steve Bastable. They are a good band on their day, so we hope they have been able to overcome their enforced contesting break and return in good health. Steve Bastable led Tredegar to 5th place on this test piece at the Royal Albert Hall in 2000 so the foundation to do well is there from the podium it seems.

Andrew DuncanThoresby Colliery (UK Coal)
4BR Ranking: 66
Conductor: Andrew Duncan

Principal Cornet: David Jones
Principal Euphonium: Ciaran Young
Soprano: Simon Oates
Solo Horn: Christine Gent
Flugel: Matthew Challender
Solo Trombone: Malcolm Portman

Appearances: 5th time
Debut: 1990
Best Result: 13th 1991
Worst Result: 18th in 2003

Overall Record:

2003 - 18th   (13th, 17th, 18th)
2002 - 17th   (15th, 16th, 12th)
1992 - 2001 - DNC
1991 - 13th
1990 - 16th
1989 - DNC

Last Year: 18th   (13th, 17th, 18th) off number 3 draw

Conductors: Mike Fowles took over from Stan Lippeatt due to his health problems in 2003 and Andrew Duncan makes his debut here this year with the band. Stan Lippeatt took Thoresby on all their other appearances at the contest back to 1990.

Masters Facts: This will be the fifth time the band has competed at the Masters, even though they made their debut under Stan Lippeatt in 1990. Those two early appearances saw them come 16th on "Blitz" and then 13th on "Harmony Music" before they had an extended break before coming back in 2002. That 17th was replace by 18th last year when the three separate judges put them only as high as 13th and as low as 18th. The new judging system will be welcomed then.

Current Form: Poor it seems, after they lost their place at the Senior Cup when they came 19th out of 20 bands under the direction of John Hudson in Blackpool. They also missed out on a trip to London when they could only manage 9th at the Midlands Regional Championships, so they will be hoping the Masters will see a return of form and fortune. They can play very well on their day, but this could be a serious test of character. Andrew Duncan though is a very talented MD, so don't be surprised if he has pulled them up by their shoe laces to respectability at least.

David StowellTravelsphere Holidays
4BR Ranking: 17
Conductor: David Stowell

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

Appearances: 13th time
Debut: 1992
Best Result: 3rd in 2002
Worst Result: 18th 2001

Overall Record:

2003 - 7th    (3rd, 14th, 8th)
2002 - 3rd    (3rd, 4th, 4th)
2001 - 18th   (18th, 17th, 19th)
2000 - 4th    (10th, 4th, 3rd)
1999 - 4th    (5th, 4th, 5th)
1998 - 7th    (5th, 9th, 13th)
1997 - 14th
1996 - 8th
1995 - 4th
1994 - 17th
1993 - 7th
1992 - 14th
1989 - 1991 - DNC

Last Year: 7th  (3rd, 14th, 8th) off number 10 draw

Conductors: John Berryman took the band on their first six attempts here from 1992 to 1997 before Melvin White took over the helm for 1998 to 2000. Frank Renton had one effort in 2001 and Brian Grant was in charge in 2002. Major Peter Parkes was at the helm in 2003 and David Stowell directs this time around. 

Masters Facts: A fine record over the years for the band that has competed under a variety of names since their debut in 1992. Then they were Rigid Containers, who then became GUS who then became Travelsphere Holidays, but every incarnation has enjoyed themselves here. They came 4th in 1995 on "Paganini Variations" under John Berryman and then came 4th again in both 1999 and 2000 on "Tristan Encounters" and "Contest Music". They had a blip in 2001 but returned to the Corn Exchange under Brian Grant in 2002 to come 3rd and gain three consistent placings from all three judges. They just about repeated that again in 2003 when John Berryman had them as high as 3rd. Eight top ten places in eleven attempts - four of which were in the top six shows that they can really make a mark here. 2004 may see more of the same.
Current Form: Very fine. In David Stowell, Travelsphere Holidays has engaged an MD of consistency and talent and one who brings a sensible "no frills" approach to his readings. This has certainly paid off of late with a fine win at the Midlands Regional Championships (off their usual number 1 draw) and a very competent performance at Blackpool  (off another early draw) where they came 5th. That was a performance of real note and should set them up to do well here once more. They certainly have the talent around the stands and another top six place is certainly well within their capabilities, although they won't want a repeat of their 12th place on this work when it was used at London in 2000. 

David KingYorkshire Building Society
4BR Ranking: 1
Conductor: Professor David King

Principal Cornet: Stuart Lingard
Principal Euphonium: Morgan Griffiths
Soprano: Peter Roberts
Solo Horn: Sheona White
Flugel: Iwan Williams
Solo Trombone: Simon Cowen

Appearances: 11th time
Debut: 1994
Best Result: Winners 1999 and 2000
Worst Result: 6th 1995, 1996 and 2002

Overall Record:

2003 - 3rd    (4th, 6th, 1st)
2002 - 6th    (8th, 9th, 3rd)
2001 - 2nd     (7th, 1st, 1st)
2000 - 1st    (1st, 2nd, 1st)
1999 - 1st    (2nd, 1st, 1st)
1998 - 4th    (13th, 1st, 1st)
1997 - 3rd
1996 - 6th
1995 - 6th
1994 - 3rd
1989 - 1993 - DNC

Last Year: 3rd  (4th, 6th, 1st) off number 11 draw

Conductors: Professor David King leads the band for the eleventh consecutive time.

Masters Facts: Plenty of firsts but just the two wins for the European Champions since they made their debut at Cambridge in 1994. They came close to victory in the old days of points scoring - two third places in 1994 and 1997, but it was the new separate scoring method that has seen them both win and lose here. 1998 was perhaps the oddest occasion when they scored two 1st's and a 13th from Geoffrey Brand to miss out, but they also suffered more of the same in 2001 when Roy Newsome was the one out of three who didn't put them top of the pile. His 7th place robbed the band of a hat trick of wins. 2002 didn't see the band on top form as they dropped to 6th and it was the first time since 1997 that at least one judge hadn't thought them the best on the day whilst last year saw another 1st place coupled with a 6th and 4th to miss out once again. The change in the system could mean a change of luck then.  

Current Form: Superb. What else can we say. Both at Bradford and Glasgow, YBS were on the top of their form (although we did think they may have been pipped in the European). When they play like that though they remain just about unbeatable. It is four years since they last tasted victory here though, so they do have a bit of a Brad Pitt Achilles heel. The memory of London 2000 and that 17th place on this test piece will be more than enough of a spur to ensure that they should be the band to beat in Cambridge though.

David EvansYorkshire Imperial Urquhart Travel
4BR Ranking: 21
Conductor: David Evans

Principal Cornet: Leon Renilson
Principal Euphonium: N/K
Soprano: Richard Hanson
Solo Horn: Simon Thewlis
Flugel: Sian Carradus
Solo Trombone: Nick Hudson

Appearances: 13th time
Debut: 1989
Best Result: 4th 1989
Worst Result: 16th 1996 and 1998

Overall Record:

2003 - 9th    (7th, 12th, 7th)
2002 - 16th   (18th, 13th, 11th)
2001 - 6th    (1st, 10th, 9th)
2000 - 14th   (16th, 21st, 6th)
1999 - DNC
1998 - 16th   (11th, 17th, 15th)
1997 - 11th
1996 - 16th
1995 - 13th
1994 - 14th
1993 - 14th
1992 - DNC
1991 - 12th
1990 - DNC
1989 - 4th 

Last Year: 9th  (7th, 12th, 7th) off number 19 draw

Conductors: James Scott led the band on their debut in 1989 whilst David Hirst took over the baton in 1991. They returned under Alan Exley in 1993 and he fronted the band until 1996. James Scott returned in 1997 before David Evans made his debut in 1998.  Thomas Wyss directed the band in 2000, before David Evans returned in 2001 and has directed things ever since.  

Masters Facts: Came 4th at the inaugural contest conducted by James Scott and have never bettered it since in 12 further attempts. 2001 saw Roy Newsome award them 1st place individually but 10th and 9th from the other judges meant they came 6th overall. David Evans is the 6th different MD to take the band at the contest in their 12 attempts and he will be looking to end a somewhat up and down series of results here in the past few years. 9th last year was pretty good, although they did have two 7th places from the judges to their name.
Current Form: In need of a boost. 13th place at the Yorkshire Regional Championships was a real let down for a band that has plenty of talent around the stands and a gifted MD on the podium. They will certainly have to play better than that if they are to improve on last years result and push for a top six place. They have done it before in 2001, but that 4th of 1989 was a very long time ago and it would be a fine achievement if they got close to that this time. 


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