2007 North of England Regional Championship - First Section


A closely matched group of bands get set to tackle Eric Ball’s test piece, but which of them will come to grips with a work that is proving to be a very stern test indeed around the country.

Sunday 18th March
Adjudicator: Alan Morrison

Test Piece: Sinfonietta – The Wayfarer – Eric Ball
Commences: 10.00am

BARROWBarrow Shipyard
E. Tarling

Last 11 Years:
2006: 9th in Championship Section (J. Durrant) rel)
2005: DNC
2004: 2nd in First Section (prom) (J. Durrant)
2003: 2nd (J. Durrant)
2002: 4th  (D. Broadbent)
2001: 8th (B. Maginn)
2000: 7th in Championship (rel) (B. Maginn)
1999: 10th in Championship
1998: 6th in Championship
1997: 2nd (prom)
1996: 3rd

Barrow's last ten years have seen them change sections four times and this year they face the task of trying to gain promotion once again. The band will obviously like to become a Championship outfit in the quickest time possible, but will last year's bad result take its toll?

They will have to pull out all the musical stops to impress Alan Morrison, but who knows, Barrow and their new MD could well show that despite their somewhat trampolining form here they are still a serious threat at this level.  

Broughton's Brass
Alan Exley

Last 11 Years:
2006: 8th (B. Grant)
2005: 8th in Championship Section (rel) (B. Grant)
2004: 9th (J. Bell)
2003: 7th (K. Bolton)
2002: 4th (B. Grant)
2001: 2nd in First Section (C. Bentham)
2000: 3rd in First Section (B. Holden)
1999: 5th in First Section
1998: 6th in First Section
1997: N/K
1996: N/K

Broughton's had spent a good few years in the Championship Section before being relegated in 2005, and struggled to gain a high placing last year.

Hopefully the band can turn its fortunes around, but it will take a lot of determination to get back to their former level and with Alan Exley at the helm they have certainly gone for an experienced helping hand to assist them.   That could be a clever stroke of fortune.  

S. Kind

Last 11 Years:
2006: DNC
2005: 9th in Championship Section (G. Walker) (rel)
2004: 8th (G. Walker)
2003: 4th (R. Grantham)
2002: 5th
2001: 5th
2000: Winners of First Section
1999: 8th in First Section
1998: Winners of First Section
1997: Winners of Second Section
1996: Winners of Third Section

Cottingham did not compete here last year, and after spending five years in the Championship Section they will be keen to get back there.

Whether this will happen this year though is another matter, but the band do have Championship experience which could serve them well, and they have done well at this level in the past so they may well be a band to keep an eye out for.  

Graeme Tindall

Last 11 Years:
2006: Winners
2005: 6th (G. Tindall)
2004: 2nd in Second Section (prom) (G. Tindall)
2003: 4th (S. Malcolm)
2002: 6th (N. Davies)
2001: 8th (B. Broadbent)
2000: Winners of Third Section (prom) (B. Broadbent)
1999: N/K
1998: 8th (rel)
1997: N/K
1996: N/K

After the disappointment of the National Finals last year, Felling showed their class by taking several Championship scalps at November's DCBBA contest, finishing in 2nd place overall. Last year's winners will be looking to do much the same this year, and with the band now experiencing a resurgence in confidence, not many would bet against them doing just that.

Performing in the Sage just two weeks before the contest will sharpen their skills on the big stage, and this will undoubtedly pay dividends for the band in Darlington. 

GTGT Group Peterlee
Barry Holden

Last 11 Years:
2006: 4th (B. Holden)
2005: 2nd in Second Section (prom) (B. Holden)
2004: 4th (B. Holden)
2003: 5th (B. Holden)
2002: 8th (B. Holden)
2001: DNC
2000: 2nd (T. Maddison)
1999: 2nd
1998: 7th
1997: N/K
1996: N/K

The band comes into this contest from a performance at Butlin's that saw them just miss out on a top six place coming 7th, but one which did show some real moments of class. After promotion from the Second Section they claimed a good 4th place last year, something that they were undoubtedly proud of.

Barry Holden has been with the band for some years now, and should be able to use his experience to give the band a decent return on their efforts by the time they get to Darlington. 

Houghton Brass
T. Gibson

Last 11 Years:
2006: 6th (T. Gibson)
2005: 11th (T. Gibson)
2004: 3rd in Second Section (prom) (T. Gibson)
2003: 2nd (T. Gibson)
2002: Winners of Third Section (prom) (T. Gibson)
2001: 4th in Third Section (T. Gibson)
2000: 5th in Third Section (T. Gibson)
1999: N/K
1998: 10th (rel)
1997: N/K
1996: N/K

Houghton have been moving in the right direction in the past few years and made another big improvement last year in coming 6th.

If they can do the same again, they could well be looking at a top three finish, which would even possibly set them up for a move to the Championship. That is asking something though, but don't bet against them doing just that. 

Lockwood Brass
John Roberts

Last 11 Years:
2006: Winners of Second Section (J. Roberts) (prom)
2005: Winners of Second Section (J. Roberts)
2004: Winners of Third Section (prom) (J. Roberts)
2003: Winners of Fourth Section (prom) (N. Barnes)
2002: DNC
2001: DNC
2000: DNC
1999: N/K
1998: DNC
1997: N/K
1996: N/K

Lockwood's rise to the First Section has been nothing short of meteoric, winning every Area contest they have entered since 2003. Bitter disappointment in Harrogate where they came 11th when it perhaps should have been a lot higher was a sour end to an extremely successful year which saw them win at the French Open.

Such consistent success for a band is a delight to see, and if they do well here in their first First Section outing, it should not be a surprise to anyone. 

EllingtonNorthumbrian Water Ellington Colliery
Alan Fernie

Last 11 Years:
2006: 5th (A. Fernie)
2005: 7th (T. Swainson)
2004: Winners of Second Section (prom) (D. Wright)
2003: 3rd in Third Section (prom) (D. Wright)
2002: 2nd (D. Wright)
2001: 5th (D. Wright)
2000: 6th (J. Higginson)
1999: N/K
1998: 7th
1997: N/K
1996: N/K

Alan Fernie returns to conduct Ellington, with whom he managed to do well with last year, even if the band would have been even happier being placed a few places higher.

An uncertain performance at Butlins where they came 19th could have unsettled the nerves slightly, but if the band play to form their future in the First Section is at least assured and a podium place may also be on the cards too.  

ShepherdShepherd Building Group Band
Tim Oldroyd

Last 11 Years:
2006: DNC
2005: 7th (J. Hudson)
2004: 7th (C. Hirst)
2003: 5th (W. Rushworth)
2002: 8th (W. Rushworth)
2001: 4th in First Section (prom) (W. Rushworth)
2000: 4th in First Section (C. Hirst)
1999: 2nd in First Section
1998: Winners of Second Section
1997: N/K
1996: 4th in Second Section

Last year the band did not compete, but nevertheless had a good 2006, with victory at Malton and some great results at Whit Friday. But this is where it counts though, and the band cannot count on past victories to ensure a good result here.

The band is very used to performing with each other, and Tim Oldroyd will undoubtedly give good leadership to what should be serious challenge for the qualification spots. 

Westoe (STHCT)
S. Malcolm

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

Westoe are a band with a real chance of going one or two places better than last year, having gone one better each time they have competed here over the last few years. Good omens then?

This continued success will have given the band a great deal of confidence, and come results time they could be heading to the ultimate goal of a place amongst the North of England's elite – a great achievement given they were playing in the Fourth Section in 1998. 

Past Qualifiers:
2006: Felling, Easington Coliery
2005: Easington Colliery, Langbaurgh Brass
2004: Kirbymoorside, Barrow Shipyard
2003: BHK (UK) Ltd Horden, Barrow Shipyard
2002: Gateshead Brass, Harrogate
2001: Harrogate, Broughton's Brass
2000: Cottingham, Boldon
1999: Gregg's Bakery, Rowntree
1998: Cottingham, Boldon Colliery
1997: Skipton, Vickers Barrow
1996: East Yorkshire Brass, Skipton
1995: EYMS, Boldon Colliery 

North of England Bands at the Finals:
2006: 15th, 17th
2005: 11th, 14th
2004: 10th, 12th
2003: 1st, 6th
2002: 8th, 18th
2001: 15th, 16th
2000: 12th, 17th
1999: 7th, 16th
1998: 7th, 15th  

4BR Prediction:

This should make for a very interesting contest on the Saturday, but 4BR can't really see past Felling taking the title for the second year in succession with their seemingly insatiable desire for success.

We'll put our necks on the line and go for Lockwood in second place as we think they really do have that look abut them that they could be a band to beat. After that it could be much closer and promises to be a neck and neck battle for the other places in the top six.

1. Felling
2. Lockwood
3. Barrow
4. Westoe
5. Cottingham
6. GT Group Peterlee

Dark Horse: Broughton's Brass


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