2007 West of England Regional Championship - First Section


A good strong line up of bands will take to the stage here with just the one aim in mind - a voyage to Harrogate.

Saturday 10th March
Adjudicator: David Hirst & Barry Thompson
Test Piece: Sinfonietta The Wayfarer Eric Ball
Commences: 3.30pm

BodminBodmin Town
Steve Sykes

Last 11 Years:
2006: 10th in Championship Section (K. MacKenzie (rel)
2005: 7th (K. MacKenzie)
2004: 11th (J. Berryman)
2003: 6th (R. Gray)
2002: 7th (R. Gray)
2001: 6th (S. Sykes)
2000: 2nd
1999: Winners
1998: 3rd
1997: 2nd
1996: N/K

It may be a touch sad to see the former championship winners here in the First Section this year, but it may prove to be just the tonic they have needed after a few years of real struggle. That said they were more than a little unlucky last year to come as low as 10th and they still have enough quality in the ranks from the glory days under Nicholas Childs to more than make their mark here.

Steve Sykes should know that too and they could well be the band to beat.

Steve Tubb

Last 11 Years:
2006: 7th (S. Tubb)
2005: 6th (S. Tubb)
2004: 7th (S. Tubb)
2003: 3rd in Second Section (prom) (S. Tubb)
2002: 4th (S. Tubb)
2001: 4th (S. Tubb)
2000: 15th
1999: 11th in First Section (rel)
1998: 14th in First Section
1997: 13th
1996: N/K

Chalford continue to show great consistency here and in the past three years they have either been in or around the top six prizes come the announcement of the results. Steve Tubb has given the band a fine foundation to work from and they could well be looking to just pop themselves into a podium place if they can just up their form a bit more. 

Dave Lea

Last 11 Years:
2006: 8th (D. Lea)
2005: 2nd (D. Lea)
2004: 11th (W. Jarrett)
2003: 9th in Championship Section (rel) (W. Jarrett)
2002: 10th ((L. Baglin)
2001: 2nd in First Section (prom) (L. Baglin)
2000: 8th (rel)
1999: 9th
1998: 3rd in First Section (prom)
1997: 2nd in First Section
1996: N/K

Dave Lea has done some excellent work with Cinderford in the past couple of years, although they did find themselves a little off the pace last year after a performance that didn't start off the best. That may have been a bad day at the office then, although they will be keen to make sure there is no repeat performance. The MD for one will make sure of that.    

ForestForest of Dean
Jackie Gwynne

Last 11 Years:
2006: 13th (J. Gwynne)
2005: 6th in Second Section (prom) (J. Gwynne)
2004: 2nd (J. Gwynne)
2003: 11th in First Section (rel) (J. Gwynne)
2002: 15th (J. Gwynne)
2001: 11th in Championship (rel) (C. Hogg)
2000: 10th in Championship
1999: 2nd (prom)
1998: 4th
1997: 2nd in Second Section (prom)
1996: Winners of Second Section

Jackie Gwynne and her band found life a bit tough in the First Section last year when their solo and ensemble work was a bit below par and 13th place was their ultimate reward. That experience should have done them good though as they now know exactly what is expected of them if they are to make a mark here.

We think a better return may be the result this weekend.    

HelstonHelston Town
John Hitchens

Last 11 Years:
2006: Winners (J. Hitchens)
2005: 11th (J. Hitchens)
2004: 3rd in Second Section (J. Hitchens) (prom)
2003: 5th (J. Hitchins)
2002: 3rd in Third Section (prom) (E. Ashton)
2001: 2nd in Third Section (E. Ashton)
2000: 17th (rel)
1999: 12th
1998: 11th in First Section (rel)
1997: 12th in First Section
1996: N/K

Helston were good value for their win here last year and it would be a brave soul who wouldn't be tempted to put at least a few quid each way on them making it back to Harrogate once more this time around either. John Hitchens has formed a solid and determined outfit under his command and they showed that in coming 7th at the finals too.

More of the same may well be the order of the day this weekend.   

Jonathan Camps

Last 11 Years:
2006: 5th (J. Camps)
2005: 12th in Championship Section (rel) (P. Evans)
2004: 9th (P. Wise)
2003: 8th (P. Wise)
2002: 8th (J. Wise)
2001: 8th (J. Wise)
2000: 6th in First Section (prom)
1999: Winners of First Section
1998: 9th in First Section
1997: 7th in First Section
1996: N/K

Hyde brushed off the disappointment of losing their championship status last year in coming a fine 5th. MD Jonathan Camps drew out a well balanced and neatly shaped performance that had the hallmarks of quality about it even if it didn't quite maintain its form right to the very end.

More of the same and they could well find themselves in the mix come the announcement of the results.  

LympstoneLympstone South West Telecom
Charles Fleming

Last 11 Years:
2006: 2nd in Second Section (C. Fleming) (prom)
2005: 5th (C. Fleming)
2004: 11th (C. Fleming)
2003: 2nd (C. Fleming)
2002: 6th (C. Fleming)
2001: 4th in Third Section (prom) (C. Fleming)
2000: Winners of Third Section
1999: Winners of Fourth Section (prom)
1998: 3rd in Fourth Section
1997: Winners of Fourth Section
1996: N/K

Lympstone delivered an exciting and confident performance in claiming the runners up spot in the Second Section last year and they went on to Harrogate where they were a touch unlucky to come 14th off the dreaded number 1 draw.

More of the same form from a 12 month ago should stand them in good stead and Charles Fleming is certainly building a band that can challenge for a top six place at the very least.  

OtterbourneOtterbourne Brass
Lt. Col. C. Davies OBE

Last 11 Years:
2006: 9th (Lt Col. C. Davies)
2005: 8th (Lt Col. C. Davies)
2004: Winners of Second Section (Lt. Col. C. Davies) (prom)
2003: 4th (Lt. Col. C. Davies)
2002: 8th (Lt. Col. C. Davies)
2001: 9th (L. Sale)
2000: 2nd in Third Section (prom)
1999: 3rd in Third Section
1998: 7th in Third Section
1997: DNC
1996: N/K

The newly appointed OBE wearer will be keen to provide his band with their own honours this weekend. In the past two years Otterbourne have more than held their own and last year their performance we felt was worthy of a top six place as the MD brought a fine interpretation out of a difficult score and his band responded in kind.

More of that and a bit of luck and they could well feature highly. 

SolentSolent Concert
Wesley Garner

Last 11 Years:
2006: 12th (W. Garner)
2005: 7th (W. Garner)
2004: 8th (W. Garner)
2003: 6th (W. Garner)
2002: 9th (W. Garner)
2001: 6th (W. Garner)
2000: 4th
1999: Winners of Second Section (prom)
1998: 4th in Second Section
1997: 14th (rel)
1996: N/K

The great stalwart Wesley Garner once more directs Solent as they try to drag themselves back into contention for the prizes after a disappointing 12th place last year.  The draw may have had something to do with that as they sounded a comfortable band even though they were bedeviled with a few too many unforced errors.

A repeat performance may put them in relegation trouble, but you feel that a kind draw should banish any of those thoughts if they play to form.  

St DennisSt. Dennis
Brian Minear

Last 11 Years:
2006: Winners of Second Section (B. Minear) (prom)
2005: 4th (B. Minear)
2004: Winners of Third Section (B. Minear) (prom)
2003: 2nd (B. Minear)
2002: Winners of Fourth Section (prom) (B. Minear)
2001: 2nd in Fourth Section (B. Minear)
2000: 11th in Fourth Section
1999: DNC
1998: DNC
1997: DNC
1996: N/K

The upwardly mobile rise of the St. Dennis Band seems to be inexorable and it would be a crafty idea to go and put a couple of quid at the Torquay branch of William Hill on them claiming yet more silverware here this year too.

Winners of the Second Section in fine style last year they went on to win at Harrogate too and there is little doubt that they are a band in the ascendant.  Yet more success we think awaits.  

St KeverneSt. Keverne
Stuart Chappel

Last 11 Years:
2006: 3rd (D. Greenwood)
2005: Winners of Second Section (prom) (D. Greenwood)
2004: 12th in First Section (D. Greenwood) (rel)
2003: DNC
2002: 8th (D. Greenwood)
2001: 3rd (D. Greenwood)
2000: DNC
1999: 6th
1998: 2nd in Second Section (prom)
1997: Winners of Third Section (prom)
1996: N/K

Another saintly band in the ascending mode. St Keverne were 3rd here last year and it really was touch and go with the judges to whether or not they could have deservedly taken another qualification place to their name.

More of that kind of form and they will have no trouble at all of making it back to Harrogate and Stuart Chappel and his band must travel here with confidence full to the brim. It shouldn't be misplaced either.  

SwindonSwindon Pegasus Brass
Steve Armstrong-Watkins

Last 11 Years:
2006: 4th (J. Winterflood)
2005: 10th (J. Winterflood)
2004: 9th (J. Winterflood)
2003: 4th (J. Winterflood)
2002: 5th (J. Winterflood)
2001: 9th in Championship Section (rel) (J. Winterflood)
2000: 9th in Championship Section
1999: 4th (prom)
1998: 6th
1997: 3rd
1996: N/K

Swindon may have surprised many by the standard of their performance last year, but it was well worth their final position after some excellent individual and ensemble contributions really made a mark. A new MD will be keen to make sure they don't rest on their laurels and more of the same will surely be demanded and expected.

Don't bet against them doing just that as they strive to return back to the Championship Section once more.  

WoodfallsWoodfalls Concert Brass
Steve Dunster

Last 11 Years:
2006: 11th (S. Dunster)
2005: 2nd in Second Section (prom) (S. Dunster)
2004: 4th (S. Dunster)
2003: 10th (R. Bligh)
2002: 13th in First Section (rel) (R. Bligh)
2001: 11th in First Section (R. Bligh)
2000: 4th in First Section
1999: 5th (prom)
1998: 11th
1997: 8th
1996: N/K

Steve Dunster has done excellent work with Woodfalls Concert in the past few years and after they suffered relegation in 2005 they bounced back a bit last year in coming 11th. They will know they will need to improve on that if they are to stave off any threat of possible relegation, but we think they may have enough about them to do just that and more.  

Past Qualifiers:

2006: Helston Town, Lydbrook
2005: Aldbourne, Cinderford
2004: Bournemouth Concert, Lanner and District
2003: City of Bristol, Test Valley Brass
2002: St. Austell, Ocean Brass
2001: Thornbury, Cinderford Swanbrook
2000: Thornbury, Yeovil Town
1999: Hyde, Forest of Dean
1998: Yeovil Town, Aldbourne
1997: Lydmet Lydney, Cinderford Swanbrook
1996: St. Austell, N/K
1995: Swindon Pegasus, Lydbrook 

West of England bands at the Finals:

2006: 5th, 7th
2005: 4th, 16th
2004: 9th, 14th
2003: 11th, 12th
2002: 3rd, 7th
2001: 11th, 13th
2000: 3rd, 4th
1999: 12th, 15th
1998: 3rd, 5th  

4BR Prediction:

This should be a really entertaining contest, and could well go down right to the wire. David Hirst and Barry Thompson will have a difficult task separating out the bands we think, but one or two should push their way to the top if they really play to form.

We think it could well be a four way battle with the two Saints of Dennis and Keverne up against the powerful challenge from Bodmin and Helston. Any two from those four for us, but don't discount Otterbourne, Cinderford or Chalford either. One to look forward to then.

1. Helston
2. St. Keverne
3. Bodmin
4. St Dennis
5. Otterbourne
6. Cinderford

Dark Horse:  Chalford


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