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


Can Fodens retain their title and become the most successful regional winning band in North West history - or can someone stop them?

Winter GardensSunday 9th March
Opera House
Adjudicator: Dennis Wilby
Test Piece: Festival Music – Eric Ball

Commences: 3.30pm approx after First Section results

wireBactiguard Wire Brass
Paul Andrews
4BR Ranking: 

Last 12 Years:

2007: 10th (P. Andrews)
2006: Winners of First Section (P. Andrews) (prom)
2005: Winners of Second Section (P. Andrews) (prom)
2004: 2nd (J. Hinckley)
2003: 6th (P. Andrews)
2002: Winners of Third Section (P. Andrews) (prom)

If this was an entertainment contest then Paul Andrews and Wire could be counted as one of the favourites – they were top notch at Butlins.

However this is a different discipline and so far in 2008 they have been found a touch wanting in that department – not great at Butlins and way off the pace at Preston where they were 14th. Found it tough here last year too, but don’t discount them. There is something about his band that makes you believe they may well do something out of the ordinary.   

Philip Chalk
4BR Ranking:   

Last 12 Years:

2007: 5th (P. Parkes)
2006: 2nd (S. Stonehouse)
2005: 2nd (P. Parkes)
2004: 2nd (A. Withington)
2003: 2nd (Steve Bastable)
2002: 2nd (H. Snell)
2001: Winners (H. Snell)
2000: 2nd (J. Gourlay)
1999: 4th
1998: 2nd
1997: Winners
1996: Winners

Last year was a bit of a horror show for Fairey’s – their worse result for many a year at the contest which they usually grace with such quality performances.  

That was a low point for the Stockport band, but since then Philip Chalk has been working overtime to regain form and pride. He has just about succeeded too and they are now a confident and cohesive unit with lots of quality in the ranks. It should be enough on paper for then to claim a qualification place, but can they top it by winning for the first time since 2001? 

FodensFodens Richardson
Garry Cutt
4BR Ranking:  

Last 12 Years:
2007: Winners (G. Cutt)
2006: Winners (G. Cutt)
2005: 3rd (G. Cutt)
2004: 4th (T. Wyss)
2003: Winners (R. Gray)
2002: Winners (R. Gray)
2001: 2nd (J. Gourlay)
2000: Winners (N. Childs)
1999: Winners (N. Childs)
1998: Winners (N. Childs)
1997: 2nd
1996: 3rd 

History beckons for the band from Sandbach. The undoubted favourites and deservedly so – they have been playing superbly well in the past twelve months and Garry Cutt has an abundance of riches at his disposal. 

Strangely they were not at their best in winning here last year, but ever since they have been approaching it. If they click then it will be a major surprise if they are beaten – they are such a classy sounding outfit at present and will surely be favourites.   

Paul Dalton
4BR Ranking:  

Last 12 Years:
2007: 9th (P. Dalton)
2006: 7th (P. Dalton)
2005: Winners of First Section (P. Dalton) (prom)
2004: 9th Championship Section (P. Dalton) (rel)
2003: 7th (P. Dalton)
2002: 8th (P. Dalton)
2001: 4th (P. Dalton)
2000: 7th (P. Dalton)
1999: 7th
1998: 10th
1997: Winners of First Section (prom)
1996: 4th

On paper Freckleton has done well enough here in the past two years, but they were disappointing in coming 9th last year. 

2008 hasn’t started too well for the band with a poor performance at Preston where they ended up in 10th place. They will certainly have to improve on that if they are to make any sort of an impression this time around. Plenty of good quality players in the ranks, and an experienced MD at the helm. They will need to be on the top of their game though to take more than a couple of scalps.  

Jason Katsikaris
4BR Ranking:  

Last 12 Years:
2007: 2nd (R. Gray)
2006: 3rd (R. Gray)
2005: Winners (R. Gray)
2004: Winners (G. Cutt)
2003: 4th (G. Cutt)
2002: 3rd (G. Cutt)
2001: 3rd (G. Cutt)
2000: 3rd (H. Snell)
1999: 2nd
1998: 3rd
1997: 3rd
1996: 2nd 

The Gray days are now over and in his place comes an ebullient Aussie with a burgeoning reputation and a slight tendency to try and conduct every semi quaver in a piece. He is some talent though. 

Whether it is a partnership that can gell quickly is another matter, but Leyland are on good form at the moment after an impressive performance at the RNCM Festival of Brass. They have the players and the desire and have also enjoyed good form here in the past few years. A debut win or a qualification place for the J Man and his band? If they do click then it is well within their grasp.  

PembertonPemberton Old JJB Wigan
Mark Peacock
4BR Ranking:  

Last 12 Years:

2007: 7th (M. Peacock)
2006: 8th (M. Peacock)
2005: 7th (M. Peacock)
2004: Winners of First Section (M. Peacock) (prom)
2003: 9th (N. Sheppard)
2002: Winners of First Section (A. Lawton)
2001: 8th (J. Maines)
2000: 2nd in Second Section (J. Maines) (prom)
1999: 13th
1998: 3rd
1997: 7th in Third Section (prom)
1996: 2nd 

A dark horse perhaps? The talented Mark Peacock has been slowly but surely improving his band on just about every contesting outing and they were fine value for their victory at Preston Guild Hall in February and their 6th place at Pontins late last year. 

More of that and they could well force their way into the reckoning if any of the big four don’t play to the top of their form. An impressive MD and an increasingly impressive band.  

StockportStockport Brass
Mike Fowles
4BR Ranking: 

Last 12 Years:
2007: 4th (M. Fowels)
2006: 6th (M. Fowles)
2005: 5th (M. Fowles)
2004: 5th (M. Fowles)
2003: 6th (M. Fowles)
2002: 9th (M. Fowles)
2001: 5th (M. Fowles)
2000: 4th (P. Bailey)
1999: 8th
1998: 6th
1997: 8th
1996: 6th 

A change of name – and perhaps a long overdue change of luck maybe? The former BT Band has been one heck of a consistent performer here over the past five years or more, but has somehow never just had that touch of extra class or even a bit of well placed luck to give them a qualification place.

The shock of losing their sponsorship has perhaps understandably shaken the band  and may have accounted for a disappointing 6th place at Preston, but with a fairly settled line up and a quality MD at the helm they may well fancy their chances of finally getting to London.   

David Evans
4BR Ranking: 

Last 12 Years:

2007: Winners of First Section (D. Evans) (prom)
2006: DNC
2005: DNC
2004: 9th (C. Whiteoak)
2003: 4th (G. Hetherington)
2002: Winners of Fourth Section (G. Hetherington) (prom)
2001: 6th (G. Hetherington)
2000: 9th (G. Hetherington)
1999: DNC
1998: DNC
1997: DNC
1996: DNC

Who says you can’t fast track yourself to the top? Timperley were playing in the Fourth Section here in 2002, but since just about drawing their final breath they have been rejuvenated to such an extent that they could be harbouring real thoughts of making it to the Royal Albert Hall in October.

David Evans has done a wonderful job with the baton and has been a driving force behind the bands ambitious plans. 2nd place at Preston confirmed that they shouldn’t be discounted, but it would still be one heck of a shock if they did it.  

CreweUnited Co-op (Crewe)
Jef Sparkes 

Last 12 Years:
2007: 5th in First Section (J. Sparkes) (prom)
2006: 2nd (J. Sparkes)
2005: 8th in Championship Section (J. Sparkes) (rel)
2004: 11th (J. Sparkes)
2003: Winners of First Section (J. Sparkes) (prom)
2002: 5th (J. Sparkes)
2001: 2nd (J. Sparkes)
2000: 7th (J. Sparkes)
1999: 8th
1998: 8th
1997: 5th
1996: 5th 

Jef Sparkes may have thought that he and his band had lost the chance to be here after only coming 5th here last year, but it was still enough to give this consistent band the chance to once again rub shoulders with the best in the land.   

They will have to up their game though of they are to make any sort of impression, but we are sure they already know that and have been working their socks off accordingly. 

coopUnited Norwest Co-op Milnrow
John Ward 

Last 12 Years:
2007: 6th (A. White)
2006: =10th (A. White)
2005: 8th in First Section (A. White) (prom)
2004: 4th (A. White)
2003: 2nd (C. Whiteoak)
2002: 11th (D. Hebb)
2001: 6th (D. Hebb)
2000: 5th in Second Section (I. Brownbill) (prom)
1999: Winners of Second Section
1998: 4th in First Section (rel)
1997: 8th
1996: 10th in Championship Section (rel)

If ever a band received a boost of confidence ahead of an area appearance then it was Milnrow at Butlins. There they surprised many, including themselves perhaps, in coming 4th overall after delivering two quality performances under the direction of debutant conductor John Ward.

It may well be asking a great deal of them both if they are to do that again, but last year they came 6th and were not that far off away, so who knows? 

Andrew Berryman
4BR Ranking: 
Last 12 Years:
2007: 3rd (A. Berryman)
2006: 4th (Dr R. Newsome)
2005: 4th (P. McCann)
2004: 3rd (R. Curran)
2003: 11th (R. Curran)
2002: 5th (B. Hurdley)
2001: 7th (B. Grant)
2000: 5th (A. Lawton)
1999: 6th
1998: 5th
1997: 4th
1996: 7th 

The one band everyone will be wary of. Wingates are on a bit of a tsunami roll at the moment and are not taking any prisoners either. 

3rd here last year was a fine result, but they used that to build throughout the rest of the season to such an extent that by the end of the year they would have fancied their chances against any band in the land. 2008 has already confirmed that they are playing very well indeed and with Andy Berryman’s influence seeping through the veins of his players they are bursting with confidence. Is it the real deal or misplaced bravura? We will find out on Sunday.   

Past Qualifiers:

2007: Fodens Richardson, Leyland
2006: Fodens, Fairey, Leyland*
2005: Leyland*, Fairey FP (Music)
2004: Leyland, Fairey FP (Music)*, Wingates
2003: Fodens*, Williams Fairey*, Haydock, Leyland
2002: Fodens*, Williams Fairey*, Leyland, Besses
2001: Williams Fairey, Fodens*, Leyland
2000: Fodens*, Williams Fairey*, Leyland
1999: Fodens, Leyland, Williams Fairey*, Marple
1998: Fodens*, Williams Fairey*, Leyland, Marple
1997: Williams Fairey, BBS
1996: Williams Fairey, BNFL
1995: Wingates, BNFL, Williams Fairey*
1994: BNFL, Marple, Williams Fairey*
1993: BNFL, BBS, Williams Fairey 

*Pre Qualified   

How North West bands did in London:

2007: 2nd, 13th
2006: 5th, 6th, 7th
2005: 1st, 8th
2004: 10th, 16th, 19th
2003: 1st, 5th, 17th, 20th
2002: 1st, 4th, 13th, 15th
2001: 2nd, 4th, 6th
2000: 3rd, 8th, 14th
1999: 1st, 5th, 7th, 10th
1998: 3rd, 4th, 8th, 11th
1997: 2nd, 3rd
1996: 4th, 7th
1995: 5th, 8th, 10th
1994: 2nd, 7th, 8th
1993: 1st, 5th, 11th   

4BR Prediction:

This should be  a cracking contest with so much to play for. Can Fodens make a little bit of history or can they be stopped? Which bands will leave the Winter Gardens celebrating and which one will leave with their heads in their hands? 

Fodens are already safely in Kensington and can relax. If they play like they have lately then the title is theirs to lose. That leaves Fairey, Wingates and Leyland battling it out for two places and on form we think it could just go to the latter pair with Fairey missing out for a second year. Then again….

After that it ups for grabs with Stockport Brass best placed to perhaps sneak into the frame with Pemberton and our dark horse Milnrow. 

1. Fodens Richardson
2. Leyland
3. Wingates
4. Fairey
5. Stockport Brass
6. Pemberton

Dark Horse: United Co-op Milnrow


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