2007 Midlands Regional Championship - Championship Section


Twelve bands line up to do battle on Isaiah 40 in one of the most open and hard fought Championship Section Regional contests in the country. It should make for a fascinating afternoon of listening in Burton on Trent.

Sunday 11th March
Adjudicator: Brian Buckley & David Read
Test Piece: Isaiah 40 Robert Redhead
Commences: After Second Section
Draw: 12.30pm

DesfordDesford Colliery
Nigel Seaman
4BR Ranking: 15

Last 10 Years:
2006: 6th (N. Seaman)
2005: 2nd (P. Parkes)
2004: 7th (P. Parkes)
2003: Winners (P. Parkes)
2002: Winners (P. Parkes)
2001: 3rd (P. Parkes)
2000: Winners (P. Parkes)
1999: 2nd
1998: Winners
1997: 3rd

If there is a band going into this contest on the back of a rich seam of recent form it is Desford. The early leaders in the 2007 4BR money stakes chalked up their best ever British Open placing with a fine third back in September and have kicked off 2007 with a handy financial windfall from their victory at the Butlins Mineworkers.

Last year's sixth place was a huge disappointment to the band, particularly when many in the hall (us included) had them as clear front runners. There will be no shortage of determination from Nigel Seaman and the band then to get themselves back to the RAH in October and we reckon they are going to take some beating.         

JaguarJaguar (Coventry)
Dave Lea
4BR Ranking: 70

Last 10 Years:
2006: 2nd (D. Lea)
2005: 3rd (D. Lea)
2004: 6th (D. Lea)
2003: 9th (D. Lea)
2002: 7th (D. Lea)
2001: 7th (D. Lea)
2000: 6th (D. Lea)
1999: 4th
1998: 8th
1997: 4th

Last year's deserved runner up spot was arguably the pinnacle of Jaguar's achievements on the contest podium under hard working Dave Lea. A disappointing showing in the Senior Cup however failed to carry the momentum forwards and the band's finals performance at the RAH did not reflect the real abilities of the players.

A successful trip to Chicago resulting in a creditable second place to the Brass Band of Central Florida in the US Open back in November will have lifted spirits but it could be tough for the band to recreate the quality of last year's area performance.   

John Berryman
4BR Ranking: 50

Last 10 Years:
2006: 2nd in First Section (J. Berryman) (prom)
2005: 3rd (J. Berryman)
2004: 11th in Championship Section (J. Berryman)(rel)
2003: Winners of First Section (J. Berryman) (prom)
2002: 8th in First Section
2001: Winners of First Section
2000: 12th in Championship Section (rel)
1999: Winners of First Section (prom)
1998: 9th
1997: 4th

Kibworth's Regional Championship fortunes have been somewhat mixed over the years although the band turned in a cracking performance of Holst's The Perfect Fool to become the reigning First Section National Champions in Harrogate.

Isaiah 40 will be a tough test for the Championship Section newcomers although the experience and musicality of John Berryman will be crucial to how the band perform on the day.

Conductor: Cliff Parker
4BR Ranking: Outside top 200

Last 10 Years:
2006: 10th (C. Parker)
2005: 5th in First Section (prom) (C. Parker)
2004: Winners of First Section (C. Parker)
2003: 6th in Second Section (prom) (M. Vause)
2002: Winners of Second Section
2001: 15th in First Section (rel)
2000: 17th in First Section
1999: 19th in First Section
1998: 4th in First Section
1997: 13th in First Section

Tenth place from a number one draw on Langley's Championship Section debut in 2006 belied what was a creditable performance of Journey to the Centre of the Earth.

Isaiah 40 is going to be an altogether different proposition but local man Cliff Parker will no doubt be hoping to push the band up a couple of places in the table. It's going to be tough though.  

NewsteadNewstead Welfare
Duncan Beckley
4BR Ranking: 46 

Last 10 Years:
2006: Winners (D. Beckley)
2005: 5th (D. Beckley)
2004: 8th (D. Beckley)
2003: 3rd (D. Beckley)
2002: 4th (D. Beckley)
2001: 11th (D. Beckley)
2000: 5th in First Section (prom) (D. Beckley)
1999: 4th in First Section
1998: 10th in First Section
1997: Winners in Second Section

What a year 2006 was for Newstead Welfare. Unexpected victory in the Regional Championship was proved not to be a flash in the pan when the band swiftly followed up with triumph in the Senior Cup whilst Duncan Beckley found the Midas touch in also steering Grange Moor to second section Regional victory in Yorkshire.

As with Jaguar, finding the form to recreate last year's performance might be tricky but confidence will be strong and enthusiasm high.  

Ian McElligott
4BR Ranking: 33

Last 10 Years:
2006: 9th (R. Wiffen)
2005: 6th (R. Gray)
2004: 4th (R. Gray)
2003: 2nd (B. Grant)
2002: 5th (R. Gray)
2001: 4th (R. Gray)
2000: 2nd (D. Broadbent)
1999: Winners
1998: 6th
1997: Winners

Recent years have not been happy ones for the regional fortunes of the Ransome Band with last year's ninth place being an undoubted low point in their history.

Reports of personnel problems might have added to the band's difficulties although a new man in the middle in Ian McElligott could breathe new life into things. Either way the band will be determined to prove that they are still a force to be reckoned and if things go their way could be up there with the best of them.  

Ratby Cooperative
Brett Baker
4BR Ranking: 162

Last 10 Years:
2006: 8th (M. Winter)
2005: 9th (M. Fowles)
2004: 5th (M. Fowles)
2003: 8th (K. Steward)
2002: 9th (K. Steward)
2001: 2nd in First Section (prom) (K. Steward)
2000: Winners of First Section (K. Steward)
1999: 10th (rel)
1998: 11th
1997: Winners of First Section (prom)

Ratby's consistency in the last five years has been notable whilst Brett Baker's contesting debut with the band at last year's Senior Trophy resulted in a creditable fourth place and promotion to this year's Senior Cup.

A slight shift up the table to the mid way mark would be a significant step forward for the band and Brett Baker is certainly a man who will know the music from the inside.     

RaundsRaunds Temperance
Jonathan Mott
4BR Ranking: Not in top 200

Last 10 Years:
2006: 9th in First Section (J. Fletcher) (prom)
2005: Winners of First Section (J. Fletcher)
2004: 2nd in Second Section (J. Fletcher) (prom)
2003: 5th in Second Section (J. Fletcher)
2002: Winners of Third Section (prom)
2001: 2nd in Third Section
2000: Winners of Fourth Section (prom)
1999: 3rd in Fourth Section
1998: 10th in Fourth Section
1997: DNC

The steady rise through the ranks of Raunds Temperance has been one of the genuine achievements in Midlands banding of recent years.

First Section victory in 2005 however was followed by a disappointing ninth last year and the band now faces its stiffest challenge yet on its regional Championship Section debut. 

SovereignSovereign Brass
Trevor Jones
4BR Ranking: 61

Last Ten Years:
2006: 4th (P. Parkes)
2005: Winners (T. Jones)
2004: 3rd (T. Jones)
2003: 4th (W. Ruston)
2002: 10th (B. Hurdley)
2001: 5th (D. Maplestone)
2000: 5th (S. Cooper)
1999: 7th
1998: 7th
1997: 8th

A solid whilst not flawless performance of Journey to the Centre of the Earth last year saw Sovereign Brass just fail to recreate the form that gave them victory in the 2005 contest.

This year the architect of that 2005 victory, Trevor Jones, returns to the fold and Isaiah 40 is a piece that might just suit the band well. If they are firing on all cylinders on the day Sovereign will be a force to be reckoned with.    

StaffsStaffordshire Band
David Maplestone
4BR Ranking: 31

Last 10 Years:
2006: 7th (N. Boddice)
2005: 8th (S. Bastable)
2004: 2nd (S. Bastable)
2003: 6th (D. Maplestone) 
2002: Winners of First Section (prom) (D. Maplestone)
2001: 6th (rel) (A. Culshaw)
2000: 11th (A. Culshaw)
1999: 9th
1998: 2nd
1997: 6th

The 2004 and 2005 Pontins Champions lost their holiday camp crown in October and will be keen to stamp their authority on the Midlands Regional contest once again.

The last two year's Regional results have been disappointing for them but with David Maplestone at the helm and a number of experienced players around the stands Staffordshire is still a band with the ability to make a mark.      

ThoresbyThoresby Colliery
Martin Heartfield
4BR Ranking: 76 

Last 10 Years:
2006: 3rd (M. Heartfield)
2005: 7th (A. Duncan)
2004: 9th (J. Hudson)
2003: 5th (S. Lippeatt)
2002: 3rd (S. Lippeatt)
2001: 2nd (S. Lippeatt)
2000: 2nd in First Section (prom) (S. Lippeatt)
1999: 11th (rel)
1998: 10th
1997: 7th

Thoresby are another band that can never be written off and third place at last year's contest brought them back to the kind of form that they enjoyed in 2002 and 2003 under Stan Lippeatt.

A mid table result at the recent Butlins Mineworkers was a creditable result amongst the competition and they could well be in the Regional mix again this year. They will need to be at the top of their game if they are going to get a real result though. 

GUSVirtuosi GUS
David Stowell
4BR Ranking: 32

Last 10 Years:
2006: 5th (D. Stowell)
2005: 4th (D. Stowell)
2004: Winners (D. Stowell)
2003: 11th (R. Gray)
2002: 2nd (B. Grant)
2001: Winners (F. Renton)
2000: 3rd (M. White)
1999: 5th
1998: 5th
1997: 8th

2006 was not a year that saw GUS at the height of their contesting prowess with a fifth at the Regional contest and a disappointing tenth at the Grand Shield.

Confidence will be riding higher though after the band pushed Desford hard to claim the runners up prize at Butlins. It's likely to be all guns blazing on Isaiah 40 then as the band try to reverse the Butlins result and get themselves back to London after a three year absence.    

Past Qualifiers:

2006: Newstead Welfare, Jaguar (Coventry)
2005: Woolley Pritchard Sovereign, Desford Colliery
2004: Travelsphere Holidays, Staffordshire
2003: Desford Colliery, Ransome
2002: Desford Colliery, Travelsphere Holidays
2001: Travelsphere Holidays, Thoresby Colliery
2000: Desford Colliery, NSK-RHP Ransome
1999: NSK-RHP Ransome, Desford Colliery
1998: Desford Colliery, Staffordshire Building Society
1997: NSK-RHP Ransome, Rhodian Brass
1996: Rigid Containers, Rhodian Brass, Desford Colliery*
1995: Desford Colliery, Rigid Containers
1994: William Davis Construction, Thoresby Colliery, Rigid Containers

*Pre Qualified 

Midlands bands at London:

2006: 15th, 17th
2005: 9th, 12th
2004: 6th, 13th
2003: 7th, 10th
2002: 8th, 16th
2001: 13th, 16th, 17th
2000: 2nd, 11th, 12th
1999: 4th, 20th
1998: 14th, 15th
1997: 9th, 14th
1996: 10th, 12th, 14th
1995: 3rd, 6th
1994: 9th, 20th 

4BR Prediction:

The Midlands is usually one of the most closely fought Regional Contests of the year and this year is likely to be no exception. If they play according to recent form Desford will be tough to beat but there are several bands that could well challenge for the title on the day.
Beyond that the remaining places could go anywhere but we have plumped for Virtuosi GUS on the back of their recent Butlins success, followed by Sovereign, Newstead, Jaguar (Coventry) and Thoresby. Don't right off Ransome and Staffordshire though whilst Ratby could be capable of squeezing in on the top six.       

1. Desford Colliery
2. Virtuosi GUS
3. Sovereign
4. Newstead Welfare
5. Jaguar (Coventry)
6. Thoresby Colliery

Dark Horse: Ratby Cooperative


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