2007 North of England Regional Championship - Championship Section


It would appear to be a question of who can challenge Reg Vardy on paper to stop them notching up yet another Regional win, but it may be a lot closer than you may think come the results on this one.

Sunday 18th March
Adjudicator: Alan Morrison

Test Piece: Isaiah 40 – Robert Redhead
Commences: Commences after Fourth Section


EYMSEast Yorkshire Motor Services
Conductor: Jim Davies
4BR Ranking:

Last 11 Years:
2006: 3rd (J. Davies)
2005: 6th (G. Pritchard)
2004: 2nd (G. Pritchard)
2003: 2nd (G. Pritchard)
2002: 2nd (G. Pritchard)
2001: 2nd (A. Morrison)
2000: 3rd (G. O'Connor)
1999: 2nd
1998: Winners
1997: Winners
1996: Winners

Jim Davies has been rebuilding this band over the past year or so, and his efforts paid off in 2006 when the band received a well-deserved third place, just missing out on a trip to Albert Hall, where only a few years ago they featured regularly.

EYMS did have the potential to deliver more throughout the 2006 contesting season, which saw them gain some decent results (namely a 5th place at Pontins), but never do enough to challenge for the titles themselves. If they click, this year could be very different, with the band becoming serious contenders fro a first win since 1998.  

Russell Gray
4BR Ranking: 25

Last 11 Years:
2006: 2nd (R. Gray)
2005: 4th (I. McElligott)
2004: 3rd (G. O'Connor)
2003: 3rd (G. O'Connor)
2002: 3rd (G. O'Connor)
2001: Winners (I. Robinson)
2000: 2nd (I. Robinson)
1999: 3rd
1998: 5th
1997: 3rd
1996: 8th

One of the most consistent performers at the North of England area contest, Fishburn will come here with a high degree of confidence. In Russell Gray they have a conductor with the talent to win any contest against any opposition, so they have a great chance of improving on their 2nd place from 2006. The band also gained 2nd place at Land O' Burns and a good 5th place at the Scottish Open last year, although they came 11th at Butlins.

Some top-class players around the stand should cope with Isaiah 40's challenges, and Russell will no doubt bring his own unique brand of contest-winning class to the band's efforts. Fishburn are a fighting band, so don't bet against them lifting their first Area title since 2001 and they did get the better of their rivals Reg Vardy at London. 

GREGGSGregg's Bakery
Duncan Beckley
4BR Ranking: 165

Last 11 Years:
2006: 5th (D. Beckley)
2005: 5th in First Section (prom) (J. Durrant)
2004: 3rd (T. Swainson)
2003: 10th in Championship Section (rel) (D. Marshall)
2002: 7th (G. Cutt)
2001: 7th (N/K)
2000: 8th (D. Marshall)
1999: Winners of First Section (prom)
1998: 2nd in Second Section (prom)
1997: 2nd in Second Section
1996: N/K

Gregg's Bakery gained a hard working 5th place last year, in their first year back in the Championship. With Duncan Beckley at the helm they should do well again having also won Section B at the Durham League contest in November. He always prepares his bands well.

A couple of new signings also signify that all is well in the Gregg's camp, so they should approach this event looking to challenge some of the more established contenders. 

David Lancaster
4BR Ranking: 157

Last 11 Years:
2006: 8th (D. Lancaster)
2005: 5th (D. Lancaster)
2004: 6th (D. Lancaster)
2003: 6th (D. Lancaster)
2002: 2nd in First Section (prom) (D. Lancaster)
2001: Winners of First Section (D. Lancaster)
2000: Winners of Second Section (D. Lancaster)
1999: N/K
1998: 3rd in Second Section
1997: 4th in Third Section (prom)
1996: 2nd in Third Section

Harrogate seem to have been a consistent band here since attaining Championship status, so could this be the year where they can climb a few places up the table and push for a podium place? They have a committed and talented MD in David Lancaster, and will no doubt have been working hard on the test piece.

Nondescript contest results last year (the best being a couple of 4th places at Hardraw Scar and the Denshaw Whit Friday contest) should not faze them, and with the crop of experienced players around the stands they are sure to put up a fine challenge.

J. Woodward
4BR Ranking: Outside top 200

Last 11 Years:
2006: 7th (J. Woodward)
2005: 3rd in First Section (prom) (J. Woodward)
2004: Winners of First Section  (J. Woodward)
2003: 6th (J. Woodward)
2002: 8th (J. Woodward)
2001: 5th (J. Woodward)
2000: 5th (J. Woodward)
1999: 3rd
1998: DNC
1997: N/K
1996: N/K

After moving up from the First section in 2005, Kirkbymoorside managed 7th place in their first outing in the Championship section, and have been proud of that achievement. The step up to this level is large and daunting at the best of times.

There is a great structure in place at the band, with plenty of ‘home-grown' talent in place, so this could serve them well when tackling ‘Isaiah 40'. It's a difficult ask for them to push for a podium place, but they will be keen to take a few scalps at least.  

Reg VardyReg Vardy
Ray Farr
4BR Ranking: 14

Last 11 Years:
2006: Winners (R. Farr)
2005: Winners (R. Farr)
2004: Winners (R. Farr)
2003: Winners (R. Gray)
2002: Winners (N. Childs)
2001: 3rd (B. Grant)
2000: Winners (N. Childs)
1999: Winners
1998: 3rd
1997: 2nd
1996: 6th

The perennial favorites come to Darlington with a strong chance of scoring a double hat-trick. Discounting their 3rd place in 2001, Reg Vardy have been the band to beat here for nigh on ten years, and not many would bet against them taking the title again in 2007.

Having said that, there are a number of other competitors who will be snapping at their heels and on the set piece contest stage they haven't shown the best form of late, being beaten by Fishburn in London. Hard to see them losing though but they will have to make sure they deliver a performance of real class to take home the title.   

EasingtonRMT Easington Colliery
David Hirst
4BR Ranking: 168

Last 11 Years:
2006: 2nd in First Section (D. Hirst) (prom)
2005: Winners of First Section (D. Hirst)
2004: 4th (D. Hirst)
2003: 8th (D. Dye)
2002: 6th (D. Dye)
2001: 9th (D. Dye)
2000: 7th (D. Dye)
1999: 7th in Championship Section (rel)
1998: 8th in Championship Section
1997: N/K
1996: N/K

Easington's first appearance in the Championship Section since 1999 thankfully comes with the incredibly experienced David Hirst at the helm again. Easington had a good year in 2006 (notably winning the Durham Brass Festival march contest), so their return into the Championship Section should not faze them.

The band also have some top-notch players around the stand, so they could put on a really good show here this year if they play to the top of their form, whilst the MD will surely bring his know how of the piece (he was in the box at Torquay) to help things along too.  

Chester le StreetTavistock Chester le Street Riverside
Ian Robinson
4BR Ranking: 115 

Last 11 Years:
2006: 6th (I. Robinson)
2005: 2nd (I. Robinson)
2004: 5th (I. Robinson)
2003: 9th (D. Hirst)
2002: 6th (R. Evans)
2001: 4th (A. Swainson)
2000: 4th (R. Payne)
1999: 4th
1998: 7th
1997: 4th
1996: 4th

This band has always been there or thereabouts in this section, without quite doing enough to claim a regional title. They hit top form in 2005 though, winning a trip to London, but slipped back to 6th place last year. It will be interesting to see whether the talented Ian Robinson can give his troops that extra push to the top positions this year.

A 3rd place at the Durham Grading contest last year can be seen as something to build on, but stability will be the key to making something of Redhead's work.

Past Qualifiers:
2006: Reg Vardy, Fishburn
2005: Reg Vardy*, Chester le Street Riverside, BHK Horden
2004: Ever Ready, EYMS
2003: Ever Ready, EYMS
2002: Ever Ready, EYMS
2001: Fishburn, EYMS
2000: Ever Ready, Fishburn
1999: Ever Ready, EYMS
1998: EYMS, British Steel Teeside
1997: EYMS, Ever Ready
1996: EYMS, British Steel Teeside
1995: Fishburn, Ever Ready
1994: Ever Ready, British Steel Teeside
1993: Ever Ready, Fishburn
1992: Fishburn, Ever Ready
1991: Ever Ready, North Skelton
1990: Ever Ready, North Skelton
1989: Ever Ready, Coal Products (CPL)

*Pre Qualified 

How North of England bands did in London:
2006: 12th, 16th
2005: 10th, 17th, 20th
2004: 3rd, 20th 
2003: 12th, 14th
2002: 9th, 20th
2001: 14th, 18th
2000: 13th, 19th
1999: 15th, 19th
1998: 10th, 17th
1997: 5th, 13th
1996: 8th, 19th
1995: 16th, 19th
1994: 16th, 18th
1993: 17th, 20th
1992: 15th, 16th
1991: 8th, 20th
1990: 14th, 23rd
1989: 17th, 20th  

4BR Prediction:

Can't really look farther than the usual suspects here can you?

4BR think that Reg Vardy will have that extra little bit of incentive to take top prize, and their double hat-trick. Fishburn and EYMS will be snapping at their heels however, and some of the other contenders could have it in them to cause an upset here. Whatever the result, it will no doubt be a fascinating contest.

1. Reg Vardy
2. Fishburn
4. Greggs Bakery
5. Harrogate
6. Tavistock Chester Le Street Riverside

Dark Horse: RMF Easington Colliery


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