2009 West of England Regional Championship - First Section: Runners & Riders


A strong line up of 14 bands all aiming to make the most of a very difficult set work and gain a trip to Harrogate. High fives for someone on Pentacle then on Saturday?

TorquaySaturday 14th March
Adjudicators: Nigel Boddice & Alan Fernie
The Forum
Test Piece: Pentacle – Graham Cole

Draw: 1.00pm
Commences: 3.30pm

Steve Tubb

Last 12 Years:
2008: 8th (S. Tubb)
2007: 7th (S. Tubb)
2006: 7th (S. Tubb)
2005: 6th (S. Tubb)
2004: 7th (S. Tubb)
2003: 3rd in Second Section (S. Tubb) (prom)
2002: 4th (S. Tubb)
2001: 4th (S. Tubb)
2000: 15th
1999: 11th in First Section (rel)
1998: 14th
1997: 13th
A model of consistency it seems for Chalford since they were promoted to the First Section in 2004, and Steve Tubb and his band will surely be looking to push on this year and gain at least a top six finish.

3rd place in the First Section at Pontins was a fine result, and if they can repeat that type of form then they could be looking at a long haul trip to Harrogate come September.  

Ian Hutchinson

Last 12 Years:
2008: 11th in Championship Section (P. Wise) (rel)
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
1998: 9th
1997: 7th
Just the one outing in the Championship Section for Hyde, who won the First Section title in such impressive fashion in 2007.

The step up in class was perhaps asking too much of them and they may have lost a touch of confidence as a result, as they could only manage 8th place at the Torquay contest late last year. Ian Hutchinson has taken over the helm from Peter Wise with a lot of  rebuilding work to do then. 

Lanner and District Silver
C. Toghill 

Last 12 Years:
2008: 12th (C. Toghill)
2007: DNC
2006: 9th in Championship Section (G. Toghill) (rel)
2005: 8th (S. Chappell)
2004: 2nd First Section (S. Chappell) (prom)
2003: Winners of Second Section (S. Chappell) (prom)
2002: 5th (S. Chappell)
2001: DNC
2000: 14th in First Section (rel)
1999: 13th
1998: 7th
1997: 11th

Lanner will know that they will have to post a very decent result on the weekend if they are to ensure they are not drawn into a potential relegation dog fight.

12th last year means they haven’t got a lot of room to wriggle, and 9th place at the Torquay contest late last season suggests it could be a big ask of Mr Toghill and his troops.   

LympstoneLympstone South West Telecom
Charles Fleming 

Last 12 Years:
2008: 4th (C. Fleming)
2007: 9th (C. Fleming)
2006: 2nd in Second Section (C. Fleming) (prom)
2005: 5th (C. Fleming)
2004: 11th (C. Fleming)
2003: 2nd (C. Fleming)
2002: 6th (C. Fleming)
2001: 4th in Third Section (C. Fleming) (prom)
2000: Winners
1999: Winners of Fourth Section (prom)
1998: 3rd
1997: Winners of Fourth Section
The rise and rise of Lympstone and MD Charles Fleming continued last year when the band posted an excellent 4th place.

More of that type of form, and if they have built on the 3rd place at Torquay late last season then they could be looking for a return trip to Harrogate for the first time since 2006.

MichelmershMichelmersh Silver
Melvin White

Last 12 Years:
2008: 4th in Second Section (M. White) (prom)
2007: 6th (L. Buchart)
2006: 6th (M. White)
2005: 7th (D. Graham)
2004: 12th (S. Large)
2003: Winners of Third Section (B. Kelloway) (prom)
2002: Winners (B. Kelloway)
2001: 8th (D. Wilds)
2000: 9th
1999: 8th
1998: 5th
1997: 12th
Melvin White will be busy as usual in these parts on the weekend, and he did a wonderfu job with Michelmersh last year when he led them to a well deserved 4th place in the Second Section and a promotion as a result.

Whether that is a good thing or not we will have to wait and see, but if they can repeat the form they showed in winning the Second Section title at Torquay late last season then any doubts will be well and truly quashed.    

OceanOcean Brass
Nick Grace

Last 12 Years:
2008: 6th (N. Grace)
2007: Winners of Second Section (N. Grace) (prom)
2006: 5th (N. Grace)
2005: 9th in First Section (N. Grace) (rel)
2004: 10th (L. Rich)
2003: 13th (D. Muir)
2002: 2nd (L. Rich)
2001: 13th (L. Rich)
2000: Winners of Second Section (prom)
1999: 7th
1998: N/K
1997: DNC

Nick Grace has done a fine job at Ocean Brass in recent years and has rebuilt the confidence and performances of his band year on year since their 2005 relegation.

Last year’s 6th place was another step in the right direction and if they have built on that then there is a possibility of a first Harrogate appearance since 2002. 

OtterbourneOtterbourne Brass
Lt. Col. C. Davis OBE 

Last 12 Years:
2008: 2nd (Lt Col. C. Davis)
2007: 6th (Lt Col. C. Davis)
2006: 9th (Lt Col. C. Davis)
2005: 8th (Lt Col. C. Davis)
2004: Winners of Second Section (Lt. Col. C. Davis) (prom)
2003: 4th (Lt. Col. C. Davis)
2002: 8th (Lt. Col. C. Davis)
2001: 9th (L. Sale)
2000: 2nd in Third Section (prom)
1999: 3rd
1998: 7th
1997: DNC
Always an interesting combination this – you expect one thing but invariably get something different from Otterbourne and Chris Davies.

Last year they were fine value for their runner up spot – a result that saw them go to Harrogate and come a hard earned 8th. You have the feeling that the duo would like to get back there again this year too. Possible favourites?   

Poole Borough
Phil Randell

Last 12 Years:
2008: 9th in Championship Section (P. Randell) (rel)
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

Phil Randell and Poole could count themselves more than a touch unfortunate that they find themselves in the First Section this year after a decent performance in the top section 12 months ago saw them come 9th.

A pity that, as they were sounding a band that was starting to find its feet, so they will want to return there pronto. After their 5th place at Torquay they will need to show some considerable improvement though if they are to stamp their authority on this contest.  

PortisheadPortishead Town
Ian Dickinson

Last 12 Years:
2008: 7th (I. Dickinson)
2007: 2nd in Second Section (I. Holmes) (prom)
2006: 4th (I. Holmes)
2005: Winners of Third Section (R. Griffiths) (prom)
2004: 6th (R. Griffiths)
2003: 7th (D. Beckley)
2002: 17th (D. Hollister)
2001: 11th (D. Hollister)
2000: 2nd in Fourth Section (prom)
1999: 5th
1998: 8th
1997: 20th
MD Ian Dickinson has tasted plenty of celebratory victory champagne as a player here and he will hoping that he will be able to fill up another cup or two this weekend.

7th last year wasn’t a bad return after a solid performance, but he will know that Portishead will have to up their form from the 5th place achieved at Trorquay late last year if the barmaid at the Riviera Centre is to crack open a bottle of bubbly on Saturday night. 


SherborneSherborne Town
Paul Cosh 

Last 12 Years:
2008: 3rd (P. Cosh)
2007: 10th in Championship Section (P. Cosh) (prom)
2006: 11th (P. Cosh)
2005: 3rd in First Section (P. Cosh) (prom)
2004: 5th (P. Cosh)
2003: 5th (M. Portman)
2002: 12th (B. Buckley)
2001: 9th (G. Key)
2000: 9th
1999: 2nd in Second Section (prom)
1998: 6th
1997: 6th
Sherborne lost their championship status in 2007 after struggling to make an impact in the top section for two years. However, local lad Paul Cosh did a great job in very nearly getting them  back at the first time of asking last year with a well merited 3rd place.

More of that form from both parties and the band could well be looking for digs in North Yorkshire come September for the first time since 1999.   

SoundhouseSoundhouse Brass
Gary Pumford

Last 12 Years:
2008: 3rd in Second Section (G. Pumford) (prom)
2007: 5th (M. Faro)
2006: 3rd (D. Stephens)
2005: 9th (D. Stephens)
2004: 8th (D. Stephens)
2003: 6th (D. Stephens)
2002: 2nd in Third Section (D. Stephens) (prom)
2001: 7th (L. Hodgkiss)
2000: 6th
1999: 11th
1998: 8th
1997: 13th

A series of increasingly impressive contest performances over the last few years has led to Soundhouse Brass making their appearance in the First Section this year. 

That promotion was sealed by the band’s 3rd place last year in the Second Section and since then they have come 6th in the Second Section at Torquay. They will need to up the musical ante from there again, but you wouldn’t bet against them doing just that. 

St AustellSt. Austell
Gareth Pritchard 

Last 12 Years:
2008: 7th in Championship Section (R. Newsome) (rel)
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)

St Austell shouldn’t really be here this year, after they delivered a mature and very solid performance in coming 7th in the top section 12 months ago under Roy Newsome.

Results conspired against them though, and so they come to this contest perhaps as clear cut favourites after coming runner up at Torquay late last year. If they play to the form they have shown in 2008 under Gareth Pritchard’s baton then Harrogate and further success beckons. 

SwindonSwindon Pegasus Brass
Paul Uzzell

Last 12 Years:
2008: 13th (S. Armstrong-Watkins)
2007: 12th (S. Armstrong-Watkins)
2006: 4th (J. Winterflood)
2005: 10th (J. Winterflood)
2004: 9th (J. Winterflood)
2003: 4th (J. Winterflood)
2002: 5th (J. Winterflood)
2001: 9th in Championship Section (J. Winterflood) (rel)
2000: 9th
1999: 4th in First Section (prom)
1998: 6th
1997: 3rd
Swindon will know that they will have to perform well this weekend if they are to not to fall through the relegation trap door.

For whatever reason their form has deserted them at Torquay it seems in the last two years, so Paul Uzzell and his band has very little room for error. It’s a big ask given the quality of their rivals, but you never can write a determined band off come contest day.    

WoodfallsWoodfalls Concert Brass
Steve Dunster 

Last 12 Years:
2008: 10th (S. Dunster)
2007: 2nd (S. Dunster)
2006: 11th (S. Dunster)
2005: 2nd in Second Section (S. Dunster) (prom)
2004: 4th (S. Dunster)
2003: 10th (R. Bligh)
2002: 13th in First Section (R. Bligh) (rel)
2001: 11th (R. Bligh)
2000: 4th
1999: 5th in Second Section (prom)
1998: 11th
1997: 8th

More uppers and downers for Woodfalls than Amy Whitehouse in rehab it seems.

2nd in 2007, 10th in 2008, Steve Dunster will be looking for consistency if nothing else, and a return to the strong challenge they posted a couple of years ago will do nicely for starters.

Past Qualifiers: 

2008: Helston Town, Otterbourne Brass
2007: Hyde, Woodfalls Concert Brass
2006: Helston Town, Lydbrook
2005: Aldbourne, Cinderford
2004: Bournemouth Concert, Lanner and District
2003: City of Bristol, Test Valley Brass
2002: St. Austell, Ocean Brass
2001: Thornbury, Cinderford Swanbrook
2000: Thornbury, Yeovil Town
1999: Hyde, Forest of Dean
1998: Yeovil Town, Aldbourne
1997: Lydmet Lydney, Cinderford Swanbrook
1996: St. Austell, N/K
1995: Swindon Pegasus, Lydbrook 

West of England bands at the Finals:

2008: 4th, 8th
2007: 6th, 8th
2006: 5th, 7th
2005: 4th, 16th
2004: 9th, 14th
2003: 11th, 12th
2002: 3rd, 7th
2001: 11th, 13th
2000: 3rd, 4th
1999: 12th, 15th
1998: 3rd, 5th    

4BR Prediction: 

The bands that qualify from here have a fine record to maintain come Harrogate, and there are a handful that on paper would fancy their chances of bringing home the National title itself if they can get the nod from the two men in the box.

Of those, St Austell would be most people’s eachway bet at the Torquay branch of William Hill, whilst Otterbourne, Chalford and Lympstone should be worth a few bob or two too.

Add Poole, Portishead and our dark horse, Michelmersh to the mix, and there could be a real old ding dong battle shooting off on the way to the Forum…

1. St. Austell
2. Otterbourne
3. Chalford
4. Lympstone South West Telecoms
5. Poole Borough
6. Portishead

Dark Horse:  Michelmersh Silver


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