2008 British Open Championships - Runners and Riders


4BR looks at the records and form guide of the 17 runners and riders hoping to win the famous Gold Trophy.

Nigel Boddice
4BR Ranking: 16 

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: Ian Roberts
Soprano Cornet: Meirion Davies
Flugel: Alexandria James
Solo Horn: Jeff Hutcherson
Solo Euphonium: Mark Hutcherson
Solo Trombone: Jonathan Pippen
Baritone: Tim Jones
Eb Tuba: Kate James
Bb Tuba: Tim Evans

Appearances: Debut
Debut: 2008

Open Record:

Last 12 Years:
Conductor and draw

2008: 2nd in Grand Shield (N. Boddice) (prom)
2007: 6th (J. Katsikaris)
2006: 2nd in Senior Cup (J. Katsikaris) (prom)
2005: 5th (T. Wyss)
2004: 5th (D. Hirst)
2003: 7th (D. Stowell)
2002: 9th (D. Stowell)
2001: 18th in Grand Shield (G. Pritchard) (rel)
2000: 4th (G. Pritchard)
1999: DNC
1998: N/K (A. Morrison)
1997: 11th (A. Morrison)

Open Record:

A debut appearance for the Bedwas, Trethomas and Machen Band from South Wales, who have finally made it to the premier brass band contest in the world 36 years after they were formed.

The closest they came to appearing at the contest before now was in 2000 when they came 4th at the Grand Shield, but despite a few ups and downs since they finally claimed their place at Blackpool in May after delivering a fine performance of ‘Vienna Nights’ under conductor Nigel Boddice.  

2008 Form:
Regionals: 2nd (Wales)
Grand Shield: 2nd
European: N/A
Masters: 19th
English Nationals: N/A
Yeovil: 8th
Welsh Miners Eisteddfod: 5th 

One thing is for certain – BTM will play their hearts out at Symphony Hall. There cannot be too many bands with such a passion about what they do as the likeable bunch from near Caerphilly, and that has been shown already during the 2008 season.

Not too great a start at either Yeovil or Porthcawl, but a resurgent performance at the Welsh Regional contest then led to them claiming that priceless qualification place for Birmingham. As has become their tradition, the band did celebrate somewhat (and who could blame them) and they appeared tired and rather below colour at Cambridge a few weeks later.

Lots of talent in the ranks and that most experienced of MDs at the helm, they should be confident of more than holding their own on their debut appearance and that could set them up for an extended stay here at the contest. 

Player to listen out for: 
Mark Hutcherson – the euphonium player is the very heartbeat of the band. A former British Solo Champion, he remains a performer of the highest class. 

Black DykeBlack Dyke
Dr. Nicholas Childs
4BR Ranking:

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: Richard Marshall
Principal Euphonium: David Thornton
Soprano Cornet: Bert Van Thienen
Solo Trombone: Brett Baker
Solo Horn: Sandy Smith
Flugel: Alex Kerwin
Baritone: Gareth Brindle
Eb Tuba: Joseph Cook
Bb Tuba: Matt Routley 

Appearances: 105th time
Debut: 1856

Open Record:
29 Wins: 1862, 1863, 1871, 1879, 1880, 1881, 1891, 1895, 1896, 1899, 1902, 1904, 1908, 1914, 1935, 1957, 1968, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1976, 1977, 1983, 1985, 1986, 1992, 1995, 2005, 2006
22 Seconds: 1877, 1887, 1888, 1900, 1903, 1905, 1907, 1909, 1917, 1922, 1934, 1938, 1971, 1978, 1984, 1988, 1993, 1994, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2007
11 Thirds: 1868, 1873, 1884, 1894, 1916, 1937, 1953, 1958, 1963, 2002, 2003
8 Fourths: 1890, 1912, 1919, 1921, 1936, 1970, 1979, 1989
5 Fifths: 1864, 1920, 1936, 1952, 1966
3 Sixths: 1947, 1962, 2004
25 times unplaced:
1 Disqualification: 1865

Last 12 Years:
Conductor and draw

2007: 2nd (Nicholas Childs) (15)
2006: Winners (Nicholas Childs) (11)
2005: Winners (Nicholas Childs) (13)
2004: 6th (Nicholas Childs) (6)
2003: 3rd (Nicholas Childs) (11)
2002: 3rd (Nicholas Childs) (3)
2001: 2nd (Nicholas Childs) (14)
2000: 2nd (Nicholas Childs) (15)
1999: 2nd (James Watson) (22)
1998: 8th (James Watson) (7)
1997: DNC
1996: 14th (James Watson) (1)

Open Record: 
A record like no other band in the world. This will be the Queensbury bands 105th appearance at the contest and they can boast a record of 29 wins, 22 runners up and 11 third places. 

They missed out on a hat trick last year, making it five times that they have just failed to make it three in a row, so they will want to get back to winning ways once more and claim a 30th victory. 

2008 Form:
Regionals: Winners (Yorkshire)
Grand Shield: N/A
European: N/A
Masters: N/A
English Nationals: 2nd

After the delight of a back yard victory at Bradford came the disappointment of the narrow defeat at Preston.  On each occasion they have played as near as damn it to the very best of their ability, so they should be in good fettle as they make the trip down to Birmingham this year.

A few changes in personnel of late haven’t upset the equilibrium and the amazing concert schedule has meant that they have had plenty of playing time to bed in.  The band won the last time a Gregson work was used at the contest in 1983, so can history repeat itself once more?

Player to listen out for:
Sandy Smith – arguably the greatest horn player in the band’s history has returned to the fold and brings with him vast experience, talented arrangement skills and the ability to lead the middle of the band.    

BrighouseBrighouse & Rastrick
Alan Morrison
4BR Ranking: 5

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: Stephen Wilkinson
Principal Euphonium: Michael Howley
Soprano Cornet: Martin Irwin
Solo Trombone: Gary MacPhee
Solo Horn: Daniel Powell
Flugel: John Lee
Baritone: Leigh Baker
Eb Tuba: David Hebb
Bb Tuba: Michael Norton 

Appearances: 68th time
Debut: 1890

Open Record:
6 Wins: 1929, 1932, 1933, 1934, 1936, 1978
3 Seconds: 1965, 1977, 1983
5 Thirds: 1939, 1940, 1973, 1976, 1998
7 Fourths: 1942, 1943, 1961, 1964, 1984, 1999, 2002
4 Fifths: 1960, 1971, 1987, 2003
5 Sixths: 1938,1944, 1959, 1986, 1995
37 times unplaced

Last 12 Years:
Conductor and draw

2007: 11th (Alan Morrison) (7)
2006: 12th (Ian McElligott) (16)
2005: 7th (James Gourlay) (6)
2004: 11th (James Gourlay) (5)
2003: 5th (Major Ian McElligott) (17)
2002: 4th (Major Ian McElligott) (12)
2001: 8th (Allan Withington) (8)
2000: 12th (Allan Withington) (8)
1999: 4th (Allan Withington) (14)
1998: 3rd (Allan Withington) (15)
1997: 10th (Allan Withington) (4)
1996: 20th (Allan Withington) (18)

Open Record:
It is now thirty years since the lads from West Riding took the title when Geoffrey Brand took them to victory on ‘Benvenuto Cellini’ in 1978. A repeat is long overdue for the men in purple and gold.

They have been a pretty consistent force over the last decade, although in the last two years they have failed to make it into the top 10. They cannot afford to have a horror show such as 1996, but the odds appear to be that they could well feature much more strongly at the other end of the prize table this year.
30 years of hurt may well be over come Saturday night. 

2008 Form:
Regionals:  5th (Yorkshire)
Grand Shield: N/A
European: N/A
Masters: N/A
English National: 3rd
Whit Friday: Saddleworth Champions

There is a lot of hard earned Yorkshire brass being placed on Brighouse to do something at Symphony Hall at the local Bradford branch of William Hill we are told – and with good reason too.

After a disappointing, if a touch unlucky return at St George’s Hall, the tonic of the Whit Friday excursions seems to have lifted the band no end. At Preston they were excellent and fully deserved to end up on the podium after a performance that bore the hallmarks of the MDs subtle changes to their musical approach.

Brighouse can still thrill the pants off, but now they do it without blowing away the roof on the way, as Alan Morrison’s musical alchemy and clever signings start to pay rich dividends.   

Player to listen out for: 
Michael Howley – A performer who has come of age under the guidance of Alan Morrison and the responsibility of leading the band from the solo euphonium seat.      

CoryCory Band
Dr. Robert Childs
4BR Ranking: 2

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: Ian Williams
Principal Euphonium: David Childs
Soprano Cornet: Michelle Ibbotson
Solo Trombone: Chris Thomas
Solo horn: Owen Farr
Flugel horn: Joanne Childs
Solo Baritone: Susan Thomas
Eb Bass: Steve Sykes
Bb Bass: Fraser Bish

Appearances: 46th time
Debut: 1922

Open Record:
3 Wins: 2000, 2002, 2007
4 Seconds: 1950, 2004, 2005, 2006
2 Thirds: 1972, 2001
3 Fourths: 1951, 1975, 1976
1 Fifth: 1974
2 Sixths: 1999, 2003
30 times unplaced

Last 12 Years:
Conductor and draw

2007: Winners (Robert Childs) (16)
2006: 2nd (Robert Childs) (17)
2005: 2nd (Robert Childs) (16)
2004: 2nd (Robert Childs) (2)
2003: 6th (Robert Childs) (13)
2002: Winners (Robert Childs) (16)
2001: 3rd (Robert Childs) (20)
2000: Winners (Robert Childs) (22)
1999: 6th (Jeremy Wise) (10)
1998: 13th (Jeremy Wise) (19)
1997: 7th (Jeremy Wise) (16)
1996: 19th (Melvin White) (6)
Open Record:
The reigning champions make their 46th appearance at the contest this year and can boast the best record at the contest in the 21st century – 3 wins, 3 seconds, a 3rd and a 6th. It is some record.

Last year they denied their rivals Black Dyke from achieving an historic hat trick, whilst ensuring that they didn’t add to the record of being a bridesmaid more times than Liz Taylor’s sister.

The draw number 16 has helped it seems (2 wins and a second), but they will be confident of holding onto the famous Gold Shield from just about any position on the day.  

2008 Form:
Regionals: 3rd (Wales)
Grand Shield: N/A
European: Winners
Masters: N/A
English Nationals: N/A 

The dark mood that hung over the Cory camp in Swansea in March after their 3rd place at the Welsh Regional contest was lifted in spectacular fashion in Stavanger a few months later as the band regained the European title after a 28 year wait. With that particular monkey off their back they can now concentrate on filling their boots with more silverware.

That win seems to given them a further boost to their contesting appetite and with a remarkably settled line up of players they will approach Symphony Hall in confident mood. Can they add a little bit more history to their name and hold onto the British Open trophy for another year to set up a triple crown assault at London?
Player to listen out for: 
Ian Williams – the principal cornet since 1990 and one of the best players around. The band comes first, his glory second – that tells you just how fine a player and bloke he is.   

CarltonCarlton Main Frickley Colliery
Russell Gray
4BR Ranking: 15 

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: Kirsty Abbotts
Principal Euphonium: Toni Howden 
Soprano: Gary Bates
Solo Horn: Leah Williams
Flugel: Janet Lewis
Solo Trombone: Becky Lundberg
Baritone: Bob Archer
Eb Tuba: Ben Dixon
Bb Tuba: Ray Sykes MBE 

Appearances: 61st time
Debut: 1921

Open Record:
2 Wins: 1922, 1958
5 Seconds: 1941, 1957, 1959, 1969, 1972
3 Thirds: 1948, 1950, 1956
3 Fourths: 1928, 1944, 1963
2 Fifths: 1927, 1946
2 Sixths: 1923, 2006
43 times unplaced

Last 12 Years:
Conductor and draw

2007: 12th (Russell Gray) (11)
2006: 6th (Russell Gray) (19)
2005: DNC
2004: 18th (Brian Grant) (7)
2003: Winners of Grand Shield (W. Rushworth) (prom): 18th (William Rushworth) (14) 
2002: 19th (William Rushworth) (17) (rel)
2001: 17th (John Hinckley) (6)
2000: 9th (John Hinckley) (21)
1999: Winners of Grand Shield (J. Hinckley) (prom): 14th (John Hinckley) (11)
1993-1998: DNC

Open Record:
A bit of an up and down existence at the Open since their return in, Carlton Main has yet to regain the form that saw them take the tile year exactly 50 years ago.

They have won the contest twice in their history, first as South Elmshall and Frickley under Noel Thorpe back in 1922 and again under Jack Atherton in 1958 when they were really going through a purple patch at the contest and had to play for a second time on the day in a ‘play off’ of the top six bands to decide the title.

2008 Form:
Regionals: 3rd (Yorkshire)
Grand Shield: N/A
European: N/A
Masters: 18th
English National: 13th

A year full of promise it seemed at the outset after a fine performance at Bradford secured the band a return to the Royal Albert Hall. Since then though things haven’t quite gone to plan through a combination of bad luck and poor form.

The bad luck certainly came at the Masters where they seemed very hard done by to come 18th, but they were way off the pace at Preston where they never seemed at ease and ended up a disappointing 13th.

Lots of quality players and an MD who can make music out of the most obscure bit of compositional squiggling.  A return to form here could see them rescue a season that held the promise of delivering so much. 
Player to listen out for:
Leah Williams –  a horn player of rare quality, technically and musically one of the most secure around. 

DesfordDesford Colliery
Nigel Seaman
4BR Ranking: 8

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: David Smith
Principal Euphonium: Robin Taylor
Soprano: Martin Britt
Solo Horn: Murray Borthwick
Flugel: Brian Winter
Solo Trombone: Julian Turner
Baritone: Kate Williams
Eb Tuba: Jon Truscott
Bb Tuba: Phil Blake-Covey 

Appearances: 36th time
Debut: 1970

Open Record:
1 Second: 1979
2 Thirds: 1980, 2006
2 Fourths: 1982, 2007
2 Fifths: 1984, 1986
2 Sixths: 1983, 1987
26 Unplaced

Last 12 Years:
Conductor and draw

2007: 4th (Frans Violet) (10)
2006: 3rd (Nigel Seaman) (12)
2005: 16th (Peter Parkes) (1)
2004: 3rd at Grand Shield (Peter Parkes) (prom): 7th (Peter Parkes) (17)
2003: DNC
2002: DNC
2001: 19th (Peter Parkes) (12) (rel)
2000: 20th (Peter Parkes) (19)
1999: 13th (Roy Newsome) (3)
1998: 16th (Frank Renton) (2)
1997: 15th (Frank Renton) (6)
1996: 15th (Frank Renton) (16)

Open Record:
Although it seems inconceivable that Desford have never won the Open - during the early 1980's they were head and shoulders above any band in the country, they have very nearly put that right in their last two appearances after delivering high class performances under Nigel Seaman and Frans Violet.  

The Open hadn’t until then been a very happy ground for the band with a succession of high profile conductors finding it impossible to make any sort of impression with them. Much more settled now, and full of confidence, another top six place may be on the cards.

2008 Form:
Regionals: Winners (Midlands)
Grand Shield: N/A
European: N/A
Masters: Winners
Mineworkers Championships: Winners

The undoubted form band of 2008. Three appearances, three wins – you can’t ask for anything more than that can you now.

Excellent at Butlins, formidable at Burton upon Trent, perhaps a touch fortunate at Cambridge. Over 10K in the bank and confidence oozing out of every pore though means that they head for Symphony Hall looking to make it a quartet of victories.

That would be some story, but with a host of top class players in the ranks that respond brilliantly to their musical MD, you would be foolish to write off their chances, especially as they made sure they wouldn’t be suffering from contest fatigue after giving Preston a miss.   This could well be Desford’s year of years.

Player to listen out for:
Martin Britt – such an accomplished and subtle performer on the soprano. Leaves the theatrics to others and just does what he does best to superb effect. 

FaireyFairey Band
Philip Chalk
4BR Ranking: 13

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: Laura Hirst
Principal Euphonium: Mark Bousie
Soprano Cornet: Mark Harrison
Solo Trombone: Roz Davies
Solo Horn: Chris Pannell
Flugel: Lucy Murphy
Baritone: Mike Wells
Eb Tuba: Richard Evans
Bb Tuba: Johnny Shaw

Appearances: 65th time
Debut: 1938

Open Record:
16 Wins: 1941, 1942, 1944, 1945, 1947, 1949, 1950, 1956, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1965, 1979, 1987, 1993, 1998
13 Seconds: 1943, 1946, 1948, 1953, 1960, 1967, 1975, 1982, 1986, 1988, 1991, 1995, 1997
5 Thirds: 1969, 1977, 1984, 1992, 1999
6 Fourths: 1959, 1971, 1996, 2000, 2003, 2005
2 Fifths: 1985, 2006
7 Sixths: 1951, 1957, 1970, 1978, 1990, 2001, 2002
15 times unplaced

Last 12 Years:
Conductor and draw

2007: 7th (Philip Chalk) (12)
2006: 5th (Simon Stonehouse) (8)
2005: 4th (Simon Stonehouse) (9)
2004: 12th (Allan Withington (11)
2003: 4th (Allan Withington) (9)
2002: 6th (Allan Withington) (19)
2001: 6th (Howard Snell) (2)
2000: 4th (James Gourlay) (17)
1999: 3rd (James Gourlay) (12)
1998: Winners (James Gourlay) (16)
1997: 2nd (James Gourlay) (10)
1996: 4th (James Gourlay) (10)

Open Record:
Only Black Dyke have more wins at the British Open than Fairey, and the band from Stockport can lay claim to winning at least one Open title in each decade since the 1940's, although as yet they haven't added to that so far this millennium. 

The band has an unequalled record of consistency here as well over the past decade or so too with just the blip of 2004 spoiling a quite remarkable record of achievement. Even with the withdrawal of sponsorship and the loss of many key players in the past couple of years they have consolidated and rebuilt in impressive fashion under Philip Chalk.

Ten years have now past since they last won so a 17th win is overdue, so can history see a repeat of that famous win? Wait and see. 

2008 Form:
Regionals: 3rd (North West)
Grand Shield: N/A
European: N/A
Masters: 9th
English Nationals: 9th
Fairey haven’t exactly set the contesting world on fire of late, but there has been further signs in 2008 that the very best of times are not too far away from the band once more.

Philip Chalk has carefully blended the current with an alchemist’s skill and he is close to striking gold it seems. They did enough to get back to London at the North West Regional in March, and were a touch unlucky at both the Masters and Preston, where a brace of 9th place finishes didn’t do them justice. 

A win is asking a lot, but a top six or better may well be a further significant step in the right direction.

Player to listen out for: 
Mark Harrison – fast developing into one of the leading young tyros of the soprano. Neat, tidy and with a temperament that should hold him in good stead when the pressure is on. 

David Hirst
4BR Ranking: 18

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: Chris Howley
Principal Euphonium: Andy Hicks
Soprano: Paul Eddy
Solo Horn: Vicki Reynolds
Flugel: Danny Winder
Solo Trombone: Nathan Jenkins
Baritone: Carolyn Chandler
Eb Tuba: Ryan Breen
Bb Tuba: Steve Gittings

Appearances: 6th time
Debut: 1998

Open Record: 
No wins:
5 Unplaced:

Last 12 Years:
Conductor and draw

2007: Winners of Grand Shield (Philip Harper) (prom): 17th (Philip Harper) (8)
2002 - 2006: DNC
2001: 21st (Philip Harper) (15) (rel)
2000: 18th (Richard Evans) (1)
1999: 19th (Bryan Hurdley) (19)
1998: 14th (Bryan Hurdley) (12) 

Open record:
The welcome return to the British Open last year for PolySteel may well see Flowers placed on their British Open grave if they don’t do something special to avoid the drop this time around.

Their first tenure at the contest ended in 2001 and it took them a while to return, so they will be determined not to let that happen again for certain as they return to Symphony Hall under the baton of the experienced David Hirst and once again under their floral moniker.  

2008 Form:
Regionals: 3rd (West of England)
Grand Shield: N/A
European: N/A
Masters: 14th
English Nationals: 12th
Yeovil: Winners

After their usual impressive start to the season the wheels have come off somewhat for Flowers. The failure to qualify for London was hard felt and resulted in some real discontent, and the mood wasn’t lifted after two rather uneven performances at both Cambridge and Preston.

The fallout saw the resignation of Philip Harper and the loss of sponsorship from PolySteel, but they seem to have steadied the ship with the appointment of David Hirst to take them here and with a return to their former Flower power connection. 

Lots of talent and the ability to mix it with the best on their day. They will have to this time around if they are not return to Blackpool.  

Player to listen out for:
Andy Hicks – one of the most experienced top level euphonium players around and the class of the performer remains intact, despite a few grey hairs. 

FodensFodens Richardson
Garry Cutt
4BR Ranking: 4

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: Mark Wilkinson
Principal Euphonium: Glyn Williams
Soprano: Alan Wycherley
Solo Horn: Lesley Howie
Flugel: Helen Williams
Solo Trombone: John Barber
Baritone: Natsumi Inaba
Eb Tuba: Les Neish
Bb Tuba: Toby Hobson

Appearances: 69th time
Debut: 1909

Open Record:
10 Wins: 1909, 1910, 1912, 1913, 1915, 1926, 1927, 1928, 1964, 2004
6 Seconds: 1911, 1916, 1952, 1987, 1998, 2002
7 Thirds: 1914, 1925, 1957, 1970, 1981, 1985, 2007
4 Fourths: 1958, 1965, 1986, 1991
8 Fifths: 1918, 1953, 1968, 1972, 1988, 1996, 1999, 2000
4 Sixths: 1917, 1984, 1994, 2005
29 times unplaced.

Last 12 Years:
Conductor and draw

2006: 3rd (Garry Cutt) (3)
2006: 13th (Garry Cutt) (9)
2005: 6th (Garry Cutt) (18)
2004: Winners (Garry Cutt) (12)
2003: 7th (Thomas Wyss) (3)
2002: 2nd (Bramwell Tovey) (8)
2001: 7th (Bramwell Tovey) (3)
2000: 5th (Bramwell Tovey) (9)
1999: 5th (Nicholas Childs) (4)
1998: 2nd (Nicholas Childs) (18)
1997: 9th (Nicholas Childs) (13)
1996: 5th (Phillip McCann) (3)

Open Record:
The 2004 champion are a band with an amazing pedigree at the contest since they first took part in 1909, winning on their debut under the legendary William Rimmer. Since then they have notched up a further 9 victories, including that 2004 triumph after a 40 year hiatus. 

Consistency has been the name of the game with just the 13th place of 2006 the only time they had been outside the top 10 since 1993.

80 years ago they won in 1928, 10 years ago they were runners up, and last year they produced a very fine performance to come 3rd off the very early number 3 draw.  Will the Open trophy be back on the Sandbach sideboard for an 11th time come Saturday night?

2008 Form:
Regionals: Winners (North West)
Grand Shield: N/A
European: N/A
Masters: 6th
English Nationals: 5th
Whit Friday: Tameside Champions

Not quite as expected for Fodens so far this year.  The regional victory saw them create a little bit of history, and they once again filled their boots at Whit Friday but Cambridge saw them out of luck in the judges tent, whilst Preston saw them somewhat lagging behind their rivals.

A remarkably settled line up of players has been boosted further by the addition of Lesley Howie, whilst Garry Cutt knows just what it takes to win here when the piece really does suit his strengths. There or thereabouts again for certain – as long as they don’t break a mirror, walk under a ladder or kick a black cat on the way to the Symphony Hall stage. 

Player to listen out for:
John Barber – the multi talented trombonist has been a mainstay of the band now for some time and continues to be one of the most consistent performers where ever he plays. 

GrimethorpeGrimethorpe Colliery
Allan Withington
4BR Ranking: 1

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: Roger Webster
Principal Euphonium: Michael Dodd
Soprano Cornet: Kevin Crockford
Solo Trombone: Jonathan Beatty
Solo Horn: Arfon Owen
Flugel: Andy Holmes
Baritone: Robert Richardson
Eb Tuba: Shaun Crowther
Bb Tuba: Gary Proctor 

Appearances: 62nd time
Debut: 1935

Open Record:
4 Wins: 1967, 1969, 1984, 1991
3 Seconds: 1945, 1963, 1973
10 Thirds: 1960, 1961, 1968, 1971, 1979, 1983, 1987, 1990, 1994, 2000
3 Fourths: 1972, 1998, 2001
7 Fifths: 1976, 1981, 1989, 1992, 1995, 1997, 2007
3 Sixths: 1946, 1980, 1985
31 Unplaced.

Last 12 Years:
Conductor and draw

2006: 5th (Allan Withington) (4)
2006: 9th (Allan Withington) (4)
2005: 12th (Allan Withington) (4)
2004: 9th (Frank Renton) (9)
2003: DNC
2002: 14th (James Gourlay) (10)
2001: 4th (Garry Cutt) (13)
2000: 3rd (Garry Cutt) (20)
1999: 18th (Andreas Sporri) (7)
1998: 4th (Major Peter Parkes) (17)
1997: 5th (Major Peter Parkes) (7)
1996: 7th (Major Peter Parkes) (20)

Open Record:

Just the four wins so far for Grimethorpe at the British Open – but four memorable wins at that. Their first came in 1967 under the great George Thompson, whilst the duo did it again in 1969. Geoffrey Brand emulated that in 1984 before Frank Renton led them to their last triumph on "Paganini Variations" in 1991.

The record of late is OK but nothing more though, although they have had a touch of bad luck with the draw (three early number 4 draws in a row) and with the judges in the last few years.

If Band Manager Terry Webster can get his fingers around a late draw ball in the velvet bag then who knows? Grimethorpe’s fifth win, and Allan Withington’s first could then be in the bag itself?

2008 Form:
Regionals: 2nd (Yorkshire)
Grand Shield: N/A
European: 2nd
Masters: N/A
English Nationals: Winners

Three appearances so far this year with three rather different results.

Excellent at Bradford they were pipped by Dyke for the domestic Yorkshire honours, whilst they didn’t really play to the very best of their ability in Stavanger but just missed the European crown by the narrowest of margins. At Preston though they asserted their class and took revenge for their St George’s Hall defeat in quite stunning fashion.

Now they come to Symphony Hall hell bent on putting Cory back in their place and picking up a long overdue Open title. They could take some beating.    

Player to listen out for:
Kevin Crockford –  the best around – full stop. 

HepworthHepworth (Cookson Homes)
Ian Porthouse
4BR Ranking: 17

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: Robert Westacott
Principal Euphonium: James Fieldhouse
Soprano: Mark Smedley
Solo Horn: Rebecca Landon
Flugel: Sian Linney
Solo Trombone: Yvonne Embury
Baritone: Carole Crompton
Eb Tuba: Simon Mofatt
Bb Tuba: Andy Lincoln

Appearances: 4th time
Debut: 2005

Open Record:
No wins
3 Unplaced:

Last 12 Years:
Conductor and draw

2007: 8th (Mark Bentham) (13)
2006: 11th (Mark Bentham) (6)
2005: Winners of Grand Shield (Mark Bentham) (prom): 8th (Mark Bentham) (2)

Open Record:
An improving return at Symphony Hall since Hepworth won their place here in 2005. 8th place on their debut off the dreaded number 2 draw was followed by a secure 11th place in 2006 and another top 10 finish last year.

No fears of relegation and genuine hopes that the recent return to form at Preston should keep them in with a chance of a possible top six finish. 

2008 Form:
Regionals: 9th (Yorkshire)
Grand Shield: N/A
European: N/A
Masters: 21st
English Nationals: 6th

A season that appeared to be a bit of a car crash in the making seems to have been steered back on the straight and narrow after a new driver took over the helm and the band rediscovered their form at Preston.

Bradford was a disappointment, as they sounded ill at ease, whilst Cambridge was an unmitigated disaster – they were awful. Not much was expected of them come Preston, but a return to their strengths of secure technique and a better balanced sound saw them end up in a deserved 6th place. More to come then?

Player to listen out for:
Carole Crompton – a tremendous signing as one of the best baritone players of the last 20 years or so makes a welcome return to the British Open.   

Selmer Simonsen
4BR Ranking: 21

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: David Prentice
Principal Euphonium: Neil Philip
Soprano Cornet: Steve Stewart
Solo Trombone: Chris Rivera
Solo horn: Allan Wardrope
Flugel horn: Caron Robson
Solo Baritone: James Corrigan
Eb Bass: Andy McKreel
Bb Bass: Dave Truesdale

Appearances: 8th time
Debut: 2001

Open Record:
No Wins:
No Seconds:
No Thirds:
1 Fourth: 2004
No Fifths:
No Sixths:
6 Unplaced

Last 12 Years
Conductor and draw

2007: 18th (Nigel Boddice) (2)
2006: 7th (Steve Bastable) (2)
2005: 13th (Steve Bastable) (8)
2004: 4th (Steve Bastable) (16)
2003: 11th (Frank Renton) (16)
2002: 12th (Frank Renton) (6)
2001: Winners of Grand Shield (Allan Ramsay) (prom): 16th (Allan Ramsey) (19)
1996 - 2000: DNC

Open Record:
Kirkintilloch return this year under the baton of Norwegian Selmer Simonsen to make their eighth appearance at the contest – and hopefully not their last. 

Up until last year it had been a pretty solid record of achievement making their debut after winning the 2001 Grand Shield with the stand out result in 2004 when they were 4th.

They will need to pull something out of the hat this time around though as their 18th place sees them with ground to make up on fellow relegation rivals. A good draw, after two years off the number 2 draw, would be a great help. 

2008 Form:
Regionals: 2nd (Scotland)
Grand Shield: N/A
European: 11th
Masters: N/A
West Lothian: DNC

Kirky have been a bit quiet on the contest front so far in 2008, but on both their appearances they have shown decent form, despite the return at the Europeans.

Selmer Simonsen led them at the Scottish Championship and they were very good value for their qualification for London, whilst they could count themselves a touch unlucky that two solid performances in Stavanger weren’t rewarded with a higher finish.

They opted out of the West Lothian domestic battle, so they have had time on their side to work hard on that relegation battle. Hopes are high, but it would be one heck of an escape.

Player to listen out for:
Alan Wardrope – a tremendous horn player of power and subtle quality – Kirky through and through.  

Jason Katsikaris
4BR Ranking: 7

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: Nick Walkley
Principal Euphonium: Brenden Wheeler
Soprano Cornet: Matthew Balson
Solo Trombone: Daniel Brooks
Solo Horn: Aiden Smith
Flugel: Nicki Longden
Baritone: Katrina Marzella
Eb Tuba: Chris Doran
Bb Tuba: Bill Carter

Appearances: 36th time
Debut: 1948

Open Record:
1 Win: 1994
3 Seconds: 1981, 1990, 1992
3 Thirds: 1989, 1991, 1996
2 Fourths: 1985, 1988
1 Fifth: 1993
2 Sixths: 1982, 1998
23 times unplaced 

Last 12 Years:
Conductor and draw

2008: Winners of Grand Shield (J. Katsikaris) (prom)
2007: 3rd (R. Gray)
2006: 4th (R. Gray)
2005: 15th (F. Renton)
2004: 13th (G. Cutt)
2003: 14th (Peter Bassano) (5) (rel)
2002: 11th (Garry Cutt) (5)
2001: 9th (Brian Grant) (5)
2000: 10th (Howard Snell) (10)
1999: 8th (Richard Evans) (17)
1998: 6th (Richard Evans) (5)
1997: 8th (Richard Evans) (14)
1996: 3rd (Richard Evans) (13)

Open Record:
Leyland return after five years in the Blackpool wilderness, and the band have a longer record at the Open than many people may think, as they first took part at the contest back in 1948. 

That first entry lasted up to 1961, but they returned in style (white jackets and all) after winning the Grand Shield in 1981 under Richard Evans. The following years they became a real force, winning in 1994, three times coming runners up and three times coming third. They also had the odd experience of trying to retain their title off the number 1 slot in 1995 only to come 19th.

The loss of their place in 2003 was finally rectified this year, but it showed just how hard it is to return. They won’t want to find themselves in that position again we are sure.  

2008 Form:
Regionals: 2nd (North West)
Grand Shield: Winners
European: N/A
Masters: N/A
English Nationals: 8th
Grenland Festival: 2nd

Leyland are many people’s dark horse to do very well here this weekend and after their performances in booking their place at London and securing their place back here at the Grand shield, they may well be worth a few bob or two at the bookies.

That said they were well beaten on their travels in Grenland and were off the pace somewhat in Preston where a desire to try and overcook a simple musical recipe saw them end up in 9th place.

That should be a warning for a talented band and conductor to make sure they don’t get their fingers burnt again.

Player to listen out for:
Nick Walkley – a quiet return to top level banding for a very talented young player who has matured somewhat by his time out of the contesting spotlight. 

RothwellRothwell Temperance
David Roberts
4BR Ranking: 19

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: James McCabe
Principal Euphonium: Andrew Marsh
Soprano: Paul Argyle
Solo Horn: Catherine Roberts
Flugel: Tim Hammond
Solo Trombone: Andy White
Baritone: Andy Padgett
Eb Tuba: Edward Hodkin
Bb Tuba: Ben Ridgeon

Appearances: 14th time
Debut: 1927

Open Record:
No Wins:
No Seconds:
No Thirds:
No Fourths:
1 Fifth: 2005
1 Sixth: 1928
11 times unplaced

Last 12 Years:
Conductor and draw
2007: 9th (David Roberts) (1)
2006: 14th (David Roberts) (10)
2005: 5th (David Roberts) (12)
2004: 2nd at Grand Shield (D. Roberts) (prom): 15th (David Roberts) (14)
1996 - 2003: DNC

Open Record:
A fourteenth appearance at the British Open for Rothwell, with their first as long ago as 1927. 

The best they had done so far is the 5th place in 2005, although they did well to come 9th off the dreaded number 1 draw last year.  

That result dispelled any fears of possible relegation and they should be confident and experienced enough now to try and aim for another top six place if they play to form and can rid themselves of the bad luck that seems to follow them to the draw at major contests.  

2008 Form:
Regionals: 4th (Yorkshire)
Grand Shield: N/A
European: N/A
Masters: 7th 
English Nationals: 7th

If Rothwell can get a bit of luck with the draw then a year that has once again been full of solid, well prepared and neatly executed performances should bear fruit once more. 

The qualification for London at St George’s Hall was a case in point – no nonsense playing, full of detail and sensibly directed, whilst there was more of the same both at Cambridge (off the number 2 slot) and Preston (off number 11).

More of the same is expected from an experienced line up of players, and whilst a podium place may just be beyond them, a top six placing could well be on the cards – draw permitting. 

Player to listen out for:
Andrew Marsh – typifies the Rothwell spirit – full of quality and security and a fine euphonium soloist and team leader.    

Scottish Co-opScottish Co-op
Andrew Duncan
4BR Ranking: 11

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: Simon Esterman
Principal Euphonium: Allison Bonner
Soprano Cornet: Caroline Tennant
Solo Trombone: Gregor Stewart
Solo horn: Matthew Maines
Flugel horn: Vicky Blair
Solo Baritone: Lorraine Bisson
Eb Bass: Raymond Tennant
Bb Bass: Andy Smith

Appearances: 21st time
Debut: 1956

Open Record:
No Wins:
No Seconds:
3 Thirds: 1993, 1997, 2004
1 Fourth: 2006
No Fifths:
No Sixths:
16 times unplaced

Last 12 Years:
Conductor and draw
2007: 14th (Allan Ramsay) (5)
2006: 4th (Allan Ramsay) (15)
2005: 10th (Frank Renton) (15)
2004: 3rd (Ian McElligott) (13)
2003: 2nd at Grand Shield (Nicholas Childs) (prom): 13th (James Scott) (12)
2002: 16th (John Hinckley) (4) (rel)
2001: 12th (James Gourlay) (4)
2000: 11th (Kazuyoshi Uemura) (16)
1999: 9th (Howard Snell) (9)
1998: 12th (Howard Snell) (20)
1997: 3rd (Howard Snell) (5)
1996: 8th (Howard Snell) (15)

Open Record:
Scottish Co-op returned to the Open in 2003 after three years when they tried a mix and match approach with their MDs that never quite worked and eventually saw them relegated.

Since then it has been a story of two outstanding results mixed with three solid midfield placings, although they will have to be very careful this time around that they don’t get drawn into a relegation battle with their rivals.   They have some breathing space after coming 14th last year, but not a lot, and they will not want to be making a May trip to Blackpool next year for certain.

2007 Form:
Regionals: 4th (Scotland)
Grand Shield: N/A
European: N/A
Masters: 17th
West Lothian: Winners 

Rumours continue to abound that Scottish Co-op are finding it tough but you would be foolish to write off their chances of them making an impression once more at this contest. They have their work cut out though.

The year started disastrously when they failed to make any impression at the Scottish Championships and came 4th, whilst they were pretty dire at Cambridge too where they scraped home in 17th place. A change at the helm saw 
Russell Gray lead the band to a morale boosting victory over their domestic rivals at West Lothian and now Andrew Duncan tries his luck.  If the combination clicks then things should be OK, but if they don’t Co-op could be in real danger of losing their place here for next year.

Player to listen out for: 
Allison Bonner – a fine exponent of the euphonium playing art and a cornerstone on which to build their Open future. 

Steven Mead
4BR Ranking: 12

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: Chris Bradley
Principal Euphonium: Evelyn Bradley
Soprano Cornet: Scott Forest
Solo Trombone: Alex Phillip
Solo horn: Iain Fleming
Flugel horn: Jim Chamberlain
Solo Baritone: Anne Crookston
Eb Bass: Graham Frazer
Bb Bass: Alan Gourlay

Appearances: 17th time
Debut: 1971

Open Record:
No Wins:
1 Second: 2003
No Thirds:
No Fourths:
1 Fifth: 2001
1 Sixth: 2007
13 times unplaced

Last 12 Years:
Conductor and draw

2007: 6th (Andrew Duncan) (17)
2006: 10th (Andrew Duncan) (13)
2005: 11th (Andrew Duncan) (3)
2004: 13th (Andrew Duncan) (10)
2003: 2nd (Andrew Duncan) (8)
2002: 10th (Philip McCann) (7)
2001: 5th (Philip McCann) (9)
2000: 17th (Philip McCann) (4)
1999: 11th (Philip McCann) (18)
1998: 20th (Archie Hutchison) (3)
1997: 13th (Richard Adams) (8)
1996: 17th (Chris Houlding) (7) 

Open Record:
Whitburn made their first appearance at the British Open in 1971 and appeared sporadically thereafter, returning a second time after winning the Grand Shield in 1991 - although they only lasted a year after that.
1995 saw them regain their place at the Open and since that time they have performed solidly with some notable performances in the Millennium seeing them come runner up in 2003 to go with top six finishes in 2001 and again last year.

2008 Form:
Regionals: Winners (Scotland)
Grand Shield: N/A
European: N/A
Masters: N/A
Land O' Burns: Winners
Brass in the Park: Winners
West Lothian: 2nd

No Scottish band has yet won the British Open, and although it would be a shock if Whitburn did it this year there are many who believe the current band has perhaps the best chance yet.

An excellent win at the Scottish Championships under Russell Gray was well merited, although they were disappointed not to beat their rivals Scottish Co-op at the West Lothian Festival. A duo of comprehensive (if expected) wins recently at the Land O’ Burns and Brass in the Park contests will have set them up nicely for what could be an important couple of months under the baton of euphonium virtuoso Steven Mead. A band to watch out for perhaps?

Player to listen out for:
Alex Phillip – a classy trombonist who has given the band an added balance as well as a stand up soloist of some stature. 

Morgan Griffiths
4BR Ranking: 9

Principal Players:
Principal Cornet: Ian Culross
Principal Euphonium: Mike Kilroy
Soprano Cornet: Kevin Donaldson
Solo Trombone: Rich Walker
Solo horn: Paul Bennett
Flugel horn: Benjamin Tubb
Baritone: Dan Cox
Eb Tuba: Dave Long
Bb Tuba: Derek Jackson

Appearances: 33rd time
Debut: 1970

Open Record:
4 Wins: 1997, 1999, 2001, 2003
1 Second: 1989
2 Thirds: 1995, 2005
3 Fourths: 1977, 1981, 1990
1 Fifth: 1973
2 Sixths: 1996, 2000
19 times unplaced

Last 12 Years:
Conductor and draw

2007: 8th (Richard Evans) (18)
2006: 8th (David King) (3)
2005: 3rd (David King) (14)
2004: 14th (David King) (8)
2003: Winners (David King) (10)
2002: 9th (David King) (9)
2001: Winners (David King) (10)
2000: 6th (David King) (3)
1999: Winners (David King) (16)
1998: 10th (David King) (8)
1997: Winners (David King) (11)
1996: 6th (David King) (19)

Open Record:
Many people may only think of this band under the YBS title, but under the old name of Hammonds Sauce they made its debut at the contest in 1970 under the direction of Geoffrey Whitham and had a decent record of achievement.
The last hurrah for Hammonds was in 1989 but they lost their place at the Open, coming 14th under their new name of Yorkshire Building Society in 1993. 

They returned after winning the Grand Shield in 1995 and under David King became the undoubted ‘kings’ of Symphony Hall winning four titles in seven years. The loss of sponsorship and the inspirational MD has seen rather leaner times of late, but two 8th paces here in the past two years shows that they haven’t lost the appetite for further success.

2008 Form:
Regionals: 8th (Yorkshire)
Grand Shield: N/A
European: N/A
Masters: 12th
English Nationals: 11th

Not the band they once were for certain, but still one to respect and possibly fear if they can bring all their disparate elements together under the baton of the hard working and talented Morgan Griffiths.

The Yorkshire Regionals was a disappointment given the way they played and they could count themselves a touch unlucky they didn’t quite make it into the prizes at Cambridge too. They were a bit more off the pace at Preston and a few changes in personnel since then may have caused them a step back or two. There is still quality in the ranks though, so you never know.   

Player to listen out for:
Mike Kilroy  – one of the very best in the business and playing as well as ever.


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