2008 West of England Regional Championship - Championship Section: Runners & Riders


Can PolySteel become the first band in well over a decade to retain their West of England title or will the reigning champions curse strike once again?

TorquaySunday 9th March
Adjudicator: Alan Hope & Colin Hardy
Test Piece: Festival Music – Eric Ball

Commences: 3.00pm  

Melvin White
4BR Ranking: 

Last 12 Years:

2007: 5th (C. King)
2006: 5th (S. Sykes)
2005: Winners of First Section (M. White) (prom)
2004: 4th (M. White)
2003: 7th (I. Holmes)
2002: 11th Championship (B. Grant) (rel)
2001: 7th (D. Williams)
2000: 5th
1999: 6th
1998: 2nd in First Section (prom)
1997: 4th
1996: N/K

Albourne has a pretty good record here since they were promoted up from the First Section in 2005 and two fifth places speak of a band that comes well prepared. 

The decision to bring in Melvin White is a good one, and he led the band to success late last year at the Leicester Contest. 2008 didn’t start too well however with 13th place at Yeovil, but given the MD’s track record at various regionals over the years another solid outing may well be on the books.    

BournemouthBournemouth Concert Brass
Major Peter Parkes
4BR Ranking: 

Last 12 Years:
2007: 6th (N. Taken)
2006: 6th (L. Vertommen)
2005: Winners (N. Taken)
2004: Winners First Section (N. Taken) (prom)
2003: 3rd (N. Taken)
2002: 5th in Championship (N. Taken) (rel)
2001: 10th (L. Adams)
2000: 7th
1999: 4th
1998: 6th
1997: 3rd
1996: N/K

Two wins and then two sixth places for Bournemouth in the last four years, and this time around they have opted for the vast experience of Major Peter Parkes to direct them. 

That should really hold them in good stead and his particular brand of contest alchemy may be just what is required after the band failed to make a mark at Yeovil at the beginning of the season where they came 9th.  Another victory may be perhaps beyond them but a qualification place could well be in their sights.  

CamborneCamborne Town
Frank Renton
4BR Ranking: 

Last 12 Years:
2007: 4th (F. Renton)
2006: 2nd (F. Renton)
2005: 5th (F. Renton)
2004: 2nd (F. Renton)
2003: Winners (F. Renton)
2002: 2nd (F. Renton)
2001: Winners (F. Renton)
2000: 6th
1999: 3rd
1998: 2nd
1997: 4th
1996: N/K

Close but no cigar for Camborne last year, but this band under Frank Renton is one that could take the contest by the scruff of the neck. 

Last year they could perhaps count themselves touch unlucky, but they have already shown that they have upped their game in the last few months with a fine 5th place at the Scottish Open and coming runner up at Yeovil. No longer dark horses, expectations are high for a first win since 2003 – and it may just come this weekend.  

Peter Wise
4BR Ranking: 

Last 12 Years:
2007: Winners of First Section (J. Camps) (prom)
2006: 5th (J. Camps)
2005: 12th in Championship Section (P. Evans) (rel)
2004: 9th (P. Wise)
2003: 8th (P. Wise)
2002: 8th (J. Wise)
2001: 8th (J. Wise)
2000: 6th in First Section (prom)
1999: Winners of First Section
1998: 9th
1997: 7th
1996: N/K 

Hyde and MD Jonathan Camps were deserved winners of the First Section last year and went on to come 8th against a strong field of opposition at Harrogate. 

If the band has built on that then they could well make a mark on a test piece that could well suit their lighter ensemble sound. It’s a big step up though and last time they were here they did struggle. A good solid outing is what is required then under the returning baton of Peter Wise.   

Tom Brevik
4BR Ranking: 

Last 12 Years:

2007: 9th (D. Williams)
2006: 2nd in First Section (J. Berryman) (prom)
2005: 4th (S. Sykes)
2004: 6th (D. Williams)
2003: 8th (B. Hurdley)
2002: 10th (A. Culshaw)
2001: 10th (S. Lippeatt)
2000: 5th
1999: 9th
1998: 10th in Championship (rel)
1997: 7th
1996: N/K

An interesting appointment this and one that could well pay dividends. The band has cast its musical eye over the North Sea to Norway and has teamed up with the highly experienced Tom Brevik – a musician of true quality. 

If the two disparate parts can come together on Eric Ball then Lydbrook could well be a band to look out for as something of a dark horse on the weekend. This could be a piece that suits the band very well indeed.  

Mount CharlesMount Charles
Andrew Duncan
4BR Ranking:  

Last 12 Years:
2007: 2nd (A. Duncan)
2006: Winners (N. Childs)
2005: 4th (R. Newsome)
2004: Winners (N. Childs)
2003: 5th (J. Hinckley)
2002: 4th (B. Hurdley)
2001: 5th (B. Hurdley)
2000: 4th
1999: 8th
1998: 5th
1997: 5th
1996: N/K

Improving, improving, improving. If their record in the past few years is anything to go by then Mount Charles are on course for a victory – and it wouldn’t be a surprise if they did, as they are moving very much in the right direction under Andy Duncan even if the results haven’t shown it of late.

Last year they rode their luck a little and went on to come 20th at London – a fairly accurate indication of where they lay, but since then they have upped their game and 9th at Butlins (a touch unlucky) and 3rd at Yeovil may set them up for a third win in five years on the weekend.    

Philip Harper
4BR Ranking: 

Last 12 Years:

2007: Winners (P. Harper)
2006: 3rd (P. Harper)
2005: 3rd (P. Harper)
2004: 6th (P. Harper)
2003: 2nd (P. Harper)
2002: 3rd (P. Harper)
2001: 2nd (R. Evans)
2000: Winners
1999: 2nd
1998: 4th
1997: Winners
1996: N/K

If the band play to form, and the MD doesn’t try to reinvent the Eric Ball wheel, then PolySteel should win here with something to spare. They are a very fine band now and with a growing level of consistency too on the test piece discipline (the entertainment stuff is a given). 

They did however over extend themselves at the Open and found out about the harder realities of elite banding at the Nationals where they came a solid 11th, but the win at Yeovil and the sense that they are getting better by the contest should see them home and wipe out the dreaded champions curse too. It could set them up for a very successful year too.    

Poole Borough
Phil Randell
4BR Ranking: 

Last 12 Years:
2007: 11th (P. Randell)
2006: 6th in First Section (P. Randell) (prom)
2005: 5th (P. Randell)
2004: 3rd (P. Randell)
2003: 12th (P. Randell)
2002: 6th (P. Randell)
2001: 5th (A. Carcary)
2000: 11th
1999: 3rd
1998: 8th
1997: 8th
1996: N/K

Phil Randell and his band may have a bit of work to do this year if they are to stave off any potential threat of relegation back to the First Section. 

The talented MD does however put the music first and worries about the contesting result afterwards and that may prove beneficial on this test piece. They will however have to up their form from the Wessex Contest where they only managed 3rd place.  

St AustellSt. Austell
Dr Roy Newsome
4BR Ranking: 

Last 12 Years:

2007: 8th (D. Loukes)
2006: 8th (D. Loukes)
2005: 2nd (D. Loukes)
2004: 5th (D. Loukes)
2003: 7th (M. White)
2002: Winners of First Section (M. White) (prom)
2001: 8th in First Section (M. White)
2000: DNC (rel)
1999: 7th
1998: 9th
1997: 5th in First Section (prom)
1996: Winners of First Section

Great to see Dr Roy Newsome back at the helm and looking to add to his impressive list of eight regionals victories (five of which were here with Sun Life).

St Austell certainly has the talent within its ranks and the good work of David Loukes (an old Black Dyke friend of Roy’s) has paid dividends over the past few years. No one may know the piece better this weekend, but can his experience be enough to drag the band back towards the prizes after two lack lustre years and up their form from the SWBBA Torquay contest where they only managed 5th place? 

St KeverneSt. Keverne
Stuart Chappell
4BR Ranking:

Last 12 Years:
2007: 5th in First Section (S. Chappell) (prom)
2006: 3rd (D. Greenwood)
2005: Winners of Second Section (D. Greenwood) (prom)
2004: 12th in First Section (D. Greenwood) (rel)
2003: DNC
2002: 8th (D. Greenwood)
2001: 3rd (D. Greenwood)
2000: DNC
1999: 6th
1998: 2nd in Second Section (prom)
1997: Winners of Third Section (prom)
1996: N/K

St Keverne has come a very long way in a remarkably short space of time at this contest – they were in the Second Section in 2005. 

A great deal of the credit for that must go to MD Stuart Chappell who has instilled a real sense of confidence to go with the solid brass band basics so evident in recent performances here. 5th last time around was enough to see them take the big step up and 3rd place at the SWBBA Torquay contest late last year would have given them invaluable experience too. It may come in handy.   

woodfallsSWT Woodfalls
Dr. Nicholas Childs
4BR Ranking:    

Last 12 Years:

2007: 3rd (N. Childs)
2006: 4th (G. Cutt)
2005: 6th (D. Barringer)
2004: 4th (S. Bastable)
2003: 4th (S. Bastable)
2002: Winners (G. Cutt)
2001: 3rd (P. Parkes)
2000: 3rd
1999: 5th
1998: Winners
1997: 6th
1996: 2nd 

If your are being ambitious about your future plans then you may as well get one of the very best in the business to back you up.   

SWT Woodfalls and Dr Nicholas Childs team up once again, hoping this year to do enough to push themselves into a qualification place or even to regain the title they last won in 2002. No doubting the commitment, but they do have to back it up with results. Winners at Wessex, but 4th at Yeovil and only 8th at Butlins (under Dr Childs). A touch unlucky last year perhaps but neither party will want to miss out again we are sure.   

YeovilYeovil Town
Dave Barringer
4BR Ranking: 

Last 12 Years:
2007: 7th (D. Barringer)
2006: 7th (D. Barringer)
2005: 10th (I. McElligott)
2004: 3rd (I. McElligott)
2003: 3rd (I. McElligott)
2002: 6th (P. Bailey)
2001: 4th (P. Bailey)
2000: 2nd in First Section (prom)
1999: 10th
1998: Winners of First Section
1997: Winners of Second Section (prom)
1996: Winners of Third Section (prom)

Yeovil has a fine record over the years and MD Dave Barringer has steadied the ship somewhat with two solid no nonsense performances in the last two years.

More of that will do nicely we think, as there is plenty of talented players in the ranks and the MD does have the happy knack of making the most of the resources available to him. Perhaps not a podium place, but a top six finish could be on the cards.  

Past Qualifiers:

2007: PolySteel, Mount Charles
2006: Mount Charles, Camborne
2005: Bournemouth Concert Brass, St. Austell Town
2004: Mount Charles, Camborne
2003: Camborne Town, Flowers
2002: SWT Woodfalls, Camborne Town
2001: Camborne Town, Flowers
2000: Flowers, Bodmin
1999: Bodmin, Flowers
1998: SWT Woodfalls, Camborne
1997: Flowers, Bodmin
1996: Sun Life, SWT Woodfalls
1995: Sun Life, Flowers
1994: Flowers, Camborne, Sun Life*
1993: Sun Life, Camborne
1992: Sun Life, Bodmin
1991: Flowers Gloucester, Sun Life
1990: Camborne Town, Bodmin
1989: Sun Life, Camborne 

*Pre Qualified  

How West of England bands did in London:

2007: 11th, 20th
2006:  9th, 13th
2005: 13th, 19th
2004: 7th, 9th
2003: 11th, 16th
2002: 18th, 19th
2001: 9th, 19th
2000: 15th, 16th
1999: 14th, 16th
1998: 9th, 16th
1997: 10th, 12th
1996: 9th, 15th
1995: 11th, 14th
1994: 4th, 11th, 17th
1993: 3rd, 18th
1992: 6th, 7th
1991: 11th, 13th
1990: 8th, 22nd
1989: 12th, 13th   

4BR Prediction:

This is a contest that could well have any number of possible outcomes, so a beady eye will be placed on the two judges we are sure.
If all the bands play as well as they can then things should pan out as expected with PolySteel currently a good length ahead of the rest of the field. We opt for them to retain their title, but who will join them could be a different matter. 

SWT Woodfalls under Nicholas Childs and Camborne under Frank Renton should battle it out, with perhaps the former just getting the nod ahead of the latter. Mount Charles should have enough about them to also benefit, especially if any of their rivals doesn’t do the business.

After that it could be Bournemouth and St Austell, with Lydbrook as our dark horse.

1. PolySteel
2. SWT Woodfalls
3. Camborne
4. Mount Charles
5. Bournemouth Concert
6. St. Austell

Dark Horse: Lydbrook


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