2006 North West Regional Championships - Championship Section


Can Leyland retain the local bragging right to go with their National title credentials, or will someone else leave Blackpool as the best in the North West?

Sunday 12th March
Adjudicator: John Berryman
Test Piece: Journey to the Centre of the Earth Peter Graham
Commences: 2.45pm
Draw: 1.45pm

No photo? Please send a JPEG to: 
general@4barsrest.com stating the conductors name, your band, your region and section. 

Mike FowlesBritish Telecom
Mike Fowles
4BR Ranking:48 

Last Ten Years:
2005: 5th (M. Fowles)
2004: 5th (M. Fowles)
2003: 6th (M. Fowles)
2002: 9th (M. Fowles)
2001: 5th (M. Fowles)
2000: 4th (P. Bailey)
1999: 8th
1998: 6th
1997: 8th
1996: 6th

Mike Fowles and his band has a very fine consistent record here over the past few years and 12 months ago once more showed that they are more than capable of challenging for a top three place when they came a fine 5th. They will have to up their form from Butlins though were they came a disappointing 8th. That was one seaside venue that didn't appeal to them, but they do enjoy the sea air here for sure.

Jim CantBesses o' th' Barn
Jim Cant
4BR Ranking:57 

Last Ten Years:

2005: 9th (J. Cant)
2004: 8th (S. Sykes)
2003: 8th (L. Nicholson)
2002: 4th (L. Nicholson)
2001: 6th (G. Pritchard)
2000: 8th (G. Pritchard)
1999: 5th
1998: 8th
1997: 7th
1996: 5th

9th place last year was a slight fall away from the past two years, and it may be asking a lot for Besses to add to their record of three Area titles the last won back in 1981. Jim Cant heads the challenge again and he has a number of good quality players at his disposal. If things come together they might push for a top six place, but it could be another mid table placing this time around again. 

Blackburn and Darwen
Nick Sheppard
4BR Ranking:140

Last Ten Years:
2005: 3rd in First Section (prom) (N. Sheppard)
2004: 6th (N. Sheppard)
2003: 5th (G. Pritchard)
2002: 12th (E. Landon)
2001: 5th (E. Landon)
2000: 9th (E. Landon)
1999: 7th
1998: 6th
1997: 6th
1996: 12th Championship (rel)

Welshman Nick Sheppard has been doing excellent work with Blackburn and Darwen over the past few years and the rewards for their efforts has been a return to the top section for the first time since 1996. It is a big step up in class, and there are plenty of quality bands to play against here, but they should have the ability to old their own if they can play to the top of their form and up the ante from Brass in the Guild where they came a lowly 12th. 

Dennis HadfieldDobcross Silver
Dennis Hadfield
4BR Ranking:58 

Last Ten Years:

2005: 6th (D. Hadfield)
2004: 7th (D. Hadfield)
2003: 5th (D. Hadfield)
2002: 6th 1st Section (prom) (D. Hadfield)
2001: 3rd 1st Section (S. Wood)
2000: 4th 1st Section (S. Wood)
1999: 10th 1st Section
1998: 2nd 1st Section
1997: 7th 1st Section
1996: 13th (rel)

Dobcross are just on the edge of things here and last year they put in another decent performance to come in the top six. There is plenty of talented young players in the ranks and some classy soloists as was shown in Butlins where they came 5th. A repeat of that form allied to the efforts of a talented MD and they could once again feature in the top six and maybe higher.   

Simon StonehouseFairey
Simon Stonehouse
4BR Ranking:8 

Last Ten Years:

2005: 2nd (P. Parkes)
2004: 2nd (A. Withington)
2003: 2nd (Steve Bastable)
2002: 2nd (H. Snell)
2001: Winners (H. Snell)
2000: 2nd (J. Gourlay)
1999: 4th
1998: 2nd
1997: Winners
1996: Winners

Just look at the record of Fairey here over the years. 13 Area titles, 18 runners up and three third places is a record to be justifiably proud of. The last win though came in 2001and the pat four years have seen them piped at the post under four different conductors. Simon Stonehouse has orchestrated their real resurgence of late and with so many talented young players in the ranks they could well be the band to beat this time around.   

Garry CuttFodens Richardson
Garry Cutt
4BR Ranking:5 

Last Ten Years:

2005: 3rd (G. Cutt)
2004: 4th (T. Wyss)
2003: Winners (R. Gray)
2002: Winners (R. Gray)
2001: 2nd (J. Gourlay)
2000: Winners (N. Childs)
1999: Winners
1998: Winners
1997: 2nd
1996: 3rd

After winning five times on six years here Fodens are looking to return to the Albert Hall for the first time in three years. They didn't play very well here last year and so they will be extra determined to claim at least one of the qualification places and even their 13th area title which will put them level with their great rivals Fairey's. Garry Cutt has has been struck down with the latest bit of Fodens Blackpool jinx, but even though he won't be as mobile as usual they should be up there come the results, as they have the class if they play to form. 

Paul DaltonFreckleton
Paul Dalton
4BR Ranking:41

Last Ten Years:
2005: Winners of First Section (prom) (P. Dalton)
2004: 9th Championship Section (P. Dalton) (rel)
2003: 7th (P. Dalton)
2002: 8th (P. Dalton)
2001: 4th (P. Dalton)
2000: 7th (P. Dalton)
1999: 7th
1998: 10th
1997: Winners 1st Section (prom)
1996: 4th 1st Section

Freckleton return to the Championship Section this year after just the one season away. Last year they showed that they were a top section band in all but name after winning here and going on to come a slightly unlucky 9th at Harrogate. Paul Dalton brings a great deal of common sense to his readings (as witnessed at the Scottish Open last year) and that should put them in good stead to hold their own. 

Ed KennedyHaydock
Ed Kennedy
4BR Ranking:72 

Last Ten Years:

2005: 11th (L. Nicholson)
2004: 6th (L. Nicholson)
2003: 3rd (I. Brownbill)
2002: 6th (I. Brownbill)
2001: 4th 1st Section (prom) (I. Brownbill)
2000: 5th 1st Section (C. Wormald)
1999: 3rd 1st Section
1998: 5th 1st Section
1997: Winners 2nd Section (prom)
1996: 4th 2nd Section

The heady days when Haydock claimed a qualifying place for the finals under Ian Brownbill seem a long time ago now and last year they sounded but a shadow of their former selves in coming 11th. They will have to up their game if they are to ensure they don't fall into relegation trouble, so it could be a hard days work in Blackpool this year.      

Russell GrayLeyland
Russell Gray
4BR Ranking:6

Last Ten Years:

2005: Winners (R. Gray)
2004: Winners (G. Cutt)
2003: 4th (G. Cutt)
2002: 3rd (G. Cutt)
2001: 3rd (G. Cutt)
2000: 3rd (H. Snell)
1999: 2nd
1998: 3rd
1997: 3rd
1996: 2nd

National Champions and looking for an unprecedented hat trick of titles here. Russell Gray has a midas touch at the moment and is looking for his fourth area victory in Blackpool as well. If they play to the form they have shown here in the last two years then they will be hard to beat, and they are absolutely chocker block with confidence. No pressure about qualifying either so everything seems set fair for a 7th title and possible hat trick celebrations? Wait and see.    

Gareth PritchardLongridge
Gareth Pritchard
4BR Ranking:86 

Last Ten Years:

2005: 8th (S. Booth)
2004: 10th (S. Booth)
2003: 3rd in First Section (prom) (B. Baker)
2002: 10th Championship (rel) (S. Booth)
2001: DNC
2000: Winners 1st Section (M. Cotter)
1999: 5th 1st Section
1998: 11th Championship (rel)
1997: 9th Championship
1996: 2nd 1st Section (prom)

Longridge had a lot of pressure on them last year and showed a great deal of character and talent in coming in 8th under Stephen Booth. The experienced Gareth Pritchard takes the helm this time, but they will have to up their form from the Brass at the Guild Contest where they came a very poor 14th. It could be a struggle if they don't.    

Mark PeacockPemberton Old Wigan
Mark Peacock
4BR Ranking:68

Last Ten Years:

2005: 7th (M. Peacock)
2004: Winners First Section (M. Peacock) (prom)
2003: 9th (N. Sheppard)
2002: Winners (A. Lawton)
2001: 8th (J. Maines)
2000: 2nd 2nd Section (prom) (J. Maines)
1999: 13th 2nd Section
1998: 3rd 2nd Section
1997: 7th 3rd Section (prom)
1996: 2nd 3rd Section

Pemberton could well be the dark horse here this year and in Mark Peacock they have one of the best young conducting talents around who is really producing the goods where it matters. 7th place here last year was a fine achievement on their debut, but more recently they won Brass at the Guild Hall in emphatic manner. Maybe not a podium finish this year but a top six place should be well within their reach and who knows?  

United Norwest Co-op Milnrow
Andrew White
4BR Ranking:113

Last Ten Years:
2005: 8th in First Section (prom) (A. White)
2004: 4th (A. White)
2003: 2nd (C. Whiteoak)
2002: 11th (D. Hebb)
2001: 6th (D. Hebb)
2000: 5th 2nd Section (prom) (I. Brownbill)
1999: Winners 2nd Section
1998: 4th 1st Section (rel)
1997: 8th 1st Section
1996: 10th Championship (rel)

A bit of a strange one this as United Norwest Co-op were promoted to the Championship Section after coming as low as 8th in the First Section last year. Hopefully that was a bit of a one off, but there is a huge step up from the First to the Championship Section at the best of times and they will certainly have to play to the very best of their abilities if they are to make a mark here.  

Roy NewsomeWingates
Dr. Roy Newsome
4BR Ranking:28 

Last Ten Years:
2005: 4th (P. McCann)
2004: 3rd (R. Curran)
2003: 11th (R. Curran)
2002: 5th (B. Hurdley)
2001: 7th (B. Grant)
2000: 5th (A. Lawton)
1999: 6th
1998: 5th
1997: 4th
1996: 7th

Great to see Dr Roy Newsome back here once more as a conductor and he will be keen we are sure to add to his three Championship titles he gained with Fairey and Besses. Wingates have improved a great deal in the past twelve months or so with a fine result at Pontins late last year and an excellent 4th place here too. If the pairing can click then some of that old Newsome magic may well bring another top six result and even the possibility of a qualification spot.   

Past Qualifiers:

2005: Leyland*, Fairey FP (Music)
2004: Leyland, Fairey FP (Music)*, Wingates
2003: Fodens*, Williams Fairey*, Haydock, Leyland
2002: Fodens*, Williams Fairey*, Leyland, Besses
2001: Williams Fairey, Fodens*, Leyland
2000: Fodens*, Williams Fairey*, Leyland
1999: Fodens, Leyland, Williams Fairey*, Marple
1998: Fodens*, Williams Fairey*, Leyland, Marple
1997: Williams Fairey, BBS
1996: Williams Fairey, BNFL
1995: Wingates, BNFL, Williams Fairey*
1994: BNFL, Marple, Williams Fairey*
1993: BNFL, BBS, Williams Fairey
*Pre Qualified 

How North West bands did in London:

2005: 1st, 8th
2004: 10th, 16th, 19th
2003: 1st, 5th, 17th, 20th
2002: 1st, 4th, 13th, 15th
2001: 2nd, 4th, 6th
2000: 3rd, 8th, 14th
1999: 1st, 5th, 7th, 10th
1998: 3rd, 4th, 8th, 11th
1997: 2nd, 3rd
1996: 4th, 7th
1995: 5th, 8th, 10th
1994: 2nd, 7th, 8th
1993: 1st, 5th, 11th

4BR Prediction:

This has been one of the most closely fought regional contests over the years, ever since the days of CWS (Manchester) and Cammell Laird were battling it out with Fodens, Fairey's and Wingates for the title.

Once more it will be a close run thing with the likes of Leyland, Fodens and Fairey as evenly matched as at any time in the contests history. We think that if these three play to form they should pick up the podium places and with it the two qualification places up for grabs as Leyland are already pre qualified.  With the pressure somewhat off the National Champions, and an eye on Belfast and the European it could be the more determined Faireys who may take the local bragging rights this time, although Russell Gray cannot do anything wrong at present. Fodens with a late MD withdrawal may not be as fully prepared as they could but they should qualify in some comfort.

Behind these three it will be interesting to see who pushes them the closest, and BT, Dobcross, and Wingates should have enough about them to fill the remaining places in the top six. Pemberton Old though are well worth a punt at the Blackpool bookies though and could really spring a major surprise or two.

1. Fairey
2. Leyland
3. Fodens Richardson
4. BT
5. Wngates
6. Dobcross

Dark Horse: Pemberton Old Wigan.


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