2008 North West Regional Championship - First Section: Runners & Riders


Will any of the bands here will get to grips with Gilbert Vinters great work and get Chris Wormald to send them on an epic journey to Harrogate and possible further glory?

Winter GardensSunday 9th March
Empress Ballroom
Adjudicator: Chris Wormald
Test Piece: James Cook - Circumnavigator – Gilbert Vinter

Commences: 2.15pm

AshtonAshton Under Lyne
Chris Whiteoak 

Last 12 Years:
2007: 6th (P. Chalk)
2006: 7th in First Section (P. Chalk)
2005: 2nd (P. Chalk)
2004: DNC
2003: 9th in Championship Section (J. Maines) (rel)
2002: 2nd in First Section (J. Maines) (prom)
2001: 9th in Championship Section  (M. Evans) (rel)
2000: 9th (M. Evans)
1999: Winners of First Section (prom)
1998: Winners of Second Section (prom)
1997: Winners of Third Section (prom)
1996: DNC 

The unexpected glory of the British Open appearances may now be behind Ashton, put they are still a band that has ambition to get back there as well as to Harrogate and the Championship Section again.   

Chris Whiteoak takes over this year following the departure of Phil Chalk to Fairey so it will be interesting to see if they can improve on last year’s 6th place. It’s a strong field they are up against but they may well fancy their chances.

BessesBesses o' th' Barn
John Hinckley

Last 12 Years:
2007: 12th (J. Hinckley)
2006: 13th in Championship Section (J. Cant) (rel)
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 

Three times champion here in the top section, Besses has been going through a little bit of a rough time of late, but has hung on. 

The early shoots of recovery have been spotted too with a new conducting team, new players and with the experienced John Hinckley they should be confident of making more of a mark than last year. It’s a long road back to the top but it seems Besses are determined to take the first few steps here.    

Blackburn Blackburn and Darwen
Nick Sheppard 

Last 12 Years:
2007: 8th in Championship Section (N. Sheppard) (rel)
2006: 12th (N. Sheppard)
2005: 3rd in First Section (N. Sheppard) (prom)
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 Section (rel)

Nick Sheppard and his band found life a little tough in the championship section last year, but certainly didn’t disgrace themselves in coming 8th. That was a good performance given the strength of that particular field.

More of that form could put them in with a shout here but they will have to up the ante from Preston where they came 5th earlier in the year.  

BlackpoolBlackpool Brass
Andrew White 

Last 12 Years:
2007: 2nd in Second Section (A. Warriner) (prom)
2006: Winners of Second Section (A. Warriner)
2005: 9th (S. Simpson)
2004: 8th (S. Simpson)
2003: 6th in Third Section (S. Simpson) (prom)
2002: 5th (G. Smith)
2001: 13th in Second Section (S. Blair) (rel)
2000: 14th (S. Blair)
1999: 8th
1998: 11th
1997: 11th
1996: 8th 

Blackpool seem to be determined to reach for the stars and their second place here last year saw them head for Harrogate again and return with a hard earned 9th place.

There is a significant step up in class to this level, but new MD Andrew White is more than experienced enough to know this and will have worked the band accordingly. A solid start to life here may be just what is required before yet another step towards the prizes.   

Peter Christian

Last 12 Years:
2007: 4th in Second Section (P. Christian) (prom)
2006: 2nd (P. Christian)
2005: 10th in First Section (P. Christian) (rel)
2004: 9th (P. Christian)
2003: Winners of Second Section (P. Christian) (prom)
2002: 6th (P. Christian)
2001: 4th (T. Power)
2000: 7th (T. Power)
1999: 6th in First Section (rel)
1998: 10th
1997: 3rd in Second Section (prom)
1996: 5th 

Peter Christian and his band have experienced a few ups and downs here over the last few years, but in the last two in particular they have headed in one direction only. 

Fourth place last year may have meant no return to Harrogate but it was enough to gain promotion. You feel they won’t be overawed on this occasion a potential top six place may be within their reach. 

Les Beevers 

Last 12 Years:
2007: 8th (L. Beevers)
2006: 4th (N. Law)
2005: 2nd in Second Section (N. Law) (prom)
2004: 5th (N. Law)
2003: Winners of Third Section (N. Law) (prom)
2002: 9th (D. Morris)
2001: 4th (D. Morris)
2000: Winners of Fourth Section (D. Morris) (prom)
1999: DNC
1998: DNC
1997: DNC
1996: DNC

The very experienced Les Beevers and his band return this year to Blackpool hoping that they can put behind them the disappointment of coming home in 8th place last time out.  

That was the first reverse of fortune here for the band since 2002, so they will be looking to regain some momentum.  

N. McNulty 

Last 12 Years:
2007: DNC
2006: 9th in Championship Section (E. Kennedy) (rel)
2005: 11th (L. Nicholson)
2004: 6th (L. Nicholson)
2003: 3rd (I. Brownbill)
2002: 6th (I. Brownbill)
2001: 4th in First Section (I. Brownbill) (prom)
2000: 5th (C. Wormald)
1999: 3rd
1998: 5th
1997: Winners of Second Section (prom)
1996: 4th

Good to see Haydock back. A few years ago they were playing at the Royal Albert Hall itself under the baton of Ian Brownbill, but now it is a question of getting back on track here after a year away rebuilding.

We wish them well of course, and it would be nice to report a good solid showing on their return too.   

S. Tarry

Last 12 Years:
2007: 7th (P. Lockett)
2006: =10th in Championship Section (G. Pritchard) (rel)
2005: 8th (S. Booth)
2004: 10th (S. Booth)
2003: 3rd in First Section (B. Baker) (prom)
2002: 10th in Championship Section (S. Booth) (rel)
2001: DNC
2000: Winners of First Section (M. Cotter)
1999: 5th
1998: 11th in Championship Section (rel)
1997: 9th
1996: 2nd in First Section (prom) 

Steve Tarry is the fourth new MD to take the band here in the last four years and he will be looking to steady a ship that just a couple of years ago was riding high in the Championship Section.

The band were 7th here last time out but were a disappointing 12th at Pontins and 16th at the Preston contest earlier in the season. Given that result they now know just what is required of them.  

D. Byers

Last 12 Years:
2007: 3rd (D. Byers)
2006: DNC
2005: 12th in Championship Section (M. Evans) (rel)
2004: 3rd in First Section (M. Evans) (prom)
2003: 10th in Championship Section (M. Evans) (rel)
2002: 11th (J. Davies)
2001: Winners of First Section (S. Stonehouse) (prom)
2000: 2nd (S. Stonehouse)
1999: 4th
1998: 7th
1997: 10th
1996: 2nd in Second Section (prom) 

Duncan Byers did a wonderful job with Mossley last year when they just missed out on a trip to Harrogate by a point.

After a decent 2007 season they would like to be in the position to have built on that result and push for a qualification place this time around. We will have to wait and see.   

Gary Clegg

Last 12 Years:
2007: 2nd (S. Tarry)
2006: 6th (S. Tarry)
2005: 9th (S. Tarry)
2004: 7th (S. Tarry)
2003: 7th (S. Tarry)
2002: 4th in Second Section (G. Clough) (prom)
2001: 2nd (G. Clough)
2000: 4th (G. Clough)
1999: 14th
1998: 7th in Third Section (prom)
1997: 5th
1996: 7th 

The departure of Steve Tarry means that Gary Clegg has the opportunity to see if he can direct Poulton back towards Harrogate again.

Last year the band headed to North Yorkshire under his command and came back with a tremendous third place. Now they know just what they have to do to get back there , although they will have to improve on the 15th place at Preston earlier in the season if they are to do just that.  

RobetsRoberts Bakery
Colin Cranson

Last 12 Years:
2007: 4th (C. Cranson)
2006: 8th (R. Evans)
2005: 4th (R. Evans)
2004: 10th (C. Cranson)
2003: 10th (C. Cranson)
2002: 3rd (C. Cranson)
2001: 11th (C. Cranson)
2000: 10th in Championship Section (C. Cranson) (rel)
1999: 9th
1998: 7th
1997: 3rd in First Section (prom)
1996: 3rd in First Section 

Colin Cranson and Robert Bakery have been as good a partnership as a loaf of their sponsors best bread and a lump of Lancashire cheese – and at times just as tasty too.

Last year they came 4th and pushed their rivals for the podium places, so they will be looking for at least that as a return this time around, or even better. 

Silk BrassSilk Brass AstraZeneca (Macclesfield)
James Cant

Last 12 Years:
2007: 11th (J. Cant)
2006: 6th in Second Section (M. Obermuller) (prom)
2005: 5th (K. Mackintosh)
2004: 4th (K. Mackintosh)
2003: 10th (K. Mackintosh)
2002: 2nd in Third Section (K. Mackintosh) (prom)
2001: 3rd (K. Mackintosh)
2000: 10th (K. Mackintosh)
1999: 6th
1998: 9th
1997: DNC
1996: DNC 

The band with one of the longest names in the business is back to see if they can put last year’s result behind them.

Stepping up in class is always difficult, but they found it tough going and will need to put in a decent performance if they are stave off any threat of relegation. Jim Cant knows his way around this place though and if his band responds then they should be more than OK.  

Robert Taylor 

Last 12 Years:
2007: 9th (R. Taylor)
2006: 9th (R. Taylor)
2005: 5th (R. Taylor)
2004: 5th (R. Taylor)
2003: 8th (S. Booth)
2002: 7th (M. Peacock)
2001: 12th (D. Barry)
2000: 3rd (D. Barry)
1999: 3rd in Second Section (prom)
1998: 7th in Second Section
1997: 2nd in Second Section
1996: DNC

Robert Taylor has continued to do fine work with Tyldesley at this level even if they are yet to set the place on fire. 

You can’t say they are nothing if consistent though, but they will surely be looking to up their form a bit from Pontins where they came a lowly 16th if they are to push for a top six place at least. 

PoyntonVernon Building Society Poynton
Alan Lawton MBE


Last 12 Years:
2007: 11th in Championship Section (A. Lawton) (rel)
2006: 3rd in First Section (A. Lawton) (prom)
2005: 6th (A. Lawton)
2004: 2nd (A. Lawton)
2003: 11th (M. Obermuller)
2002: 4th (M. Obermuller)
2001: 10th (M. Obermuller)
2000: DNC
1999: 10th in Championship Section (rel)
1998: 3rd in First Section (prom)
1997: 4th
1996: 11th Championship Section (rel)

Alan Lawton and his band found life tough at Championship level last year but still deleivered a decent account of themselves despite coming bottom of the pile.

Now they are back to the First Section and at this level they are a band to fear. 3rd at Butlins showed that under Kevin Gibbs and that result could give an indication of just how strong a challenge they will put up here on their return.  

Past Qualifiers:

2007: Timperley, Poulton-le-Fylde
2006: Wire Brass, United Co-op (Crewe)
2005: Freckleton, Ashton Under Lyne
2004: Pemberton Old Wigan, Vernon Building Society Poynton
2003: United Co-op (Crewe), United Norwest Co-op Milnrow
2002: Pemberton Old, Ashton Under Lyne
2001: Mossley, United Co-op Crewe
2000: Longridge, Mossey
1999: Ashton Under Lyne, Stalybridge
1998: Congleton, Dobcross
1997: Freckleton, Berisford Cardway
1996: British Aerospace, Longridge
1995: United Norwest Co-op, British Aerospace   

North West Bands at the Finals:

2007: 3rd, 5th
2006: 2nd, 3rd
2005: 3rd, 9th
2004: 1st, 6th
2003: 2nd, 3rd
2002: 5th, 9th
2001: 7th, 8th
2000: 2nd, 13th
1999: 1st, 11th
1998: 6th, 10th   

4BR Prediction: 

A fine contest in store – that’s for sure. All these bands know eachothers strengths and weaknesses inside out so the contesting atmosphere is likely to be sharp to say the least.

Who will come out on top then? Hard say but if VBS Poynton play like they did at Butlins then they can look forward to a trip to Harrogate whilst the likes of Mossley, Blackburn & Darwen, Bollington and Besses o’th’ Barn could well battle it out to join them.

If any of those bands fail to hit the mark though then perhaps Poulton or Roberts Bakery may have a say in the matter.

1. VBS Poynton
2. Mossley
3. Blackburn & Darwen
4. Bollington
5. Besses
6. Poulton-le-Flyde
Dark Horse: Roberts Bakery


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