2018 National Championship of Great Britain
Second Section - As it happened

All the action from the 2018 National Championship of Great Britain Second Section — As it happened

Section 2

Saturday 15, 15:51:00

2018 Champions: Middleton

Second place: Pontardulais

Third place: North Skelton

Fourth place: Bollington Brass

Fifth place: Crofton Silver

Sixth place: Milton Keynes Brass

Best Instrumentalist: Jo Robinson (soprano) — North Skelton


Test Piece: 'Firestorm' — Stephen Bulla
Adjudicators: David Hirst, Brian Rostron, Roger Webster

1. Middleton (Kevin Gibbs)
2. Pontardulais Town (Paul Jenkins)
3. North Skelton (Lewis Wilkinson)
4. Bollington Brass (Peter Christian)
5. Crofton Silver (Dean Jones)
6. Milton Keynes Brass (Jonathan Mott)
7. South Yorkshire Police (Leigh Baker)
8. Shrewton Silver (Michael Dunford)
9. Helston Town (John Berryman)
10. J36 Brass (Steven Craig)
11. Annan Town (Paul Drury)
12. Ifton Colliery (Scott Lloyd)
13. Hucknall & Linby (Paul Whyley)
14. LGB Brass (Ian Stewart)
15. Flixton (Matt Ryan)
16. Campbeltown Brass (Paul Kiernan)
17. St Sebastian Wokingham (John Watts)
18. Rolls Royce (Derby) (Graham Cardwell)

Best Instrumentalist: Jo Robinson (soprano) North Skelton

Section 2

Saturday 15, 15:07:32

Malcolm Wood's round up and prediction:

What an intriguing and engaging contest this has been. Firestorm was a bold choice by the Music Panel. It's not an easy ask at this level, but it will have given the three judges everything they wanted when it comes to picking the bands in the order they want.

The quality for us at the top end will certainly have given them plenty to ponder. There may not be much to choose between some of the contenders either, with purely personal preference tickling their taste buds.

The 4BR opinion today is...

4BR Prediction:

1. Pontardulais
2. Milton Keynes Brass
3. Middleton
4. Crofton Silver
5. Flixton
6. Helston Town

Dark Horses: South Yorkshire Police, Campbeltown

Section 2

Saturday 15, 15:00:24

18. Rolls Royce (Derby) (Graham Cardwell) Midlands

The opening is well constructed and handled. The tension, drama and unease are all there and plenty to appreciate here. Some of the dynamics are lighter at times, but will they resonate in the box?

In the central movement, there's a bit of unease and uncertainty around the ranks, but no such thing as throwing the towel in. It is a case of forget it and move on.

As we head for the close, the excitement returns, but the tiredness within the ranks is evident.


One like many others today had plenty to appreciate, but the blemishes could cost them.

Star Player:


Section 2

Saturday 15, 14:44:40

Interview with Brass Bands England

CEO Kenny Crookston talks to Iwan Fox about the choices of 2019 Area test pieces and the scheme they have linked up with Band Supplies to offer £20.00 off the cost of purchasing them by their member bands... for this weekend only though.

Section 2

Saturday 15, 14:40:45

17. J36 Brass (Steven Craig) North of England

Well now, an opening full of intent that builds in angst, drama and tension. The images portrayed are vivid yet musical.

The musical picture remains, but there are some tense ‘squeaky bum’ contesting moments where some inconsistencies creep in. A real pity

As the piece enters its final section, we hear the intent that is there from the outset. The excitement is there but tiredness creeps in.


There was a great deal of quality, but it had some inconsistencies as well which was a real pity today.

Star Player:

Could have been one of a number today, but go with cornet.

Section 2

Saturday 15, 14:24:43

16. Shrewton Silver (Michael Dunford) West of England

Right from the off, the musical intent was there. Purposeful, brutal, but musical. There were occasions though where less would have been better than more, but the music came out with good tempos.

Central section was a tricky ride. Credit for the intent, but the execution had more than a few wobbles along the way.

In the final breach and the tension and excitement built with vivid pictures. The close was exciting without it being OTT.


One of those that had the intent to paint the musical picture. Just a few moments that not all went to plan.

Star Player:

Soprano. Tenacious and gutsy.

Section 2

Saturday 15, 14:05:24

15. Bollington Brass (Peter Christian) North West

The intent is there from the outset. Granted there are a few tricky moments, but the musical purpose is certainly evident. Drama, tension, its all there, and delivered without too much pressure. The players sound relaxed.

Central section is a little bit hit and miss with some elements more effective than others.
The close is exciting without being overly powerful


One that certainly offered plenty, but its down to whether it resonates with the judges.

Star Player:

Trombone. Very dependable.

Section 2

Saturday 15, 13:51:43

14. North Skelton (Lewis Wilkinson) North of England

Takes a bit of time to settle but once it does, there is a descriptive musical picture unfolding. The military’s presence is duly noted.

There’s tension along with musical energy and purpose although the musical lines are understated as opposed to overstated at times.

The central section is not without the odd musical gremlin, but there is a united front here that serves everyone well.

Tension builds at the end and so does a bit of tiredness.


Certainly lots to appreciate but tiredness crept in at the end which was a shame but a real team effort.

Star Player:

Euphonium was one of many that dug deep today.

Section 2

Saturday 15, 13:29:16

13. Middleton (Kevin Gibbs) North West

Opens effectively and whilst not as forceful as some today, it appeals. There is vivid tension being painted here. The detail is good and the MD is styling the performance in the way they wish.

There's caution and unease in the slower section, but every player is standing up to be counted here with some fine contributions.

The concluding section builds with atmosphere and it's a persuasive ending.


An account of engaging intrigue from the first note until the last. Lots to admire, but not without the odd blemish, which is no different to many contenders today.

Star Player:

Flugel. Super stuff all the way through.

Section 2

Saturday 15, 13:14:42

It's all in the writing...

Section 2

Saturday 15, 13:10:43

12. Crofton Silver (Dean Jones) Yorkshire

Bold and effective opening full of musical intent. The drama and tension is palpable and with the military around, only a matter of time before we hear the forcefulness — with just a few minor mistakes.

There is plenty to appreciate here musically with all the players on good form. The central section is one of the most engaging of the contest so far.

As the piece heads towards home, more drama and tension along with unease. Excitement builds yet remains controlled. It's a good close.


An account with plenty to admire and one for the judges (and us to ponder) exactly where it could end up.

Star Player:

Sop player was one of a group of players who stepped up today in fine style.

Section 2

Saturday 15, 12:53:02

11. Milton Keynes Brass (Jonathan Mott) LSC

The opening is not as prominent as others so far today, but the musical momentum and military actions are crystal clear.

The clarity comes through though and the tempos and free any easy on the ear. Yes, this is a test, but MD giving band every opportunity to shine here.

As they close, the tension is palpable, and whilst there is excitement there is a hint of tiredness as they end.


A performance that had lots to appreciate for sure. A really pity about those uncertain moments.

Star Player:

Flugel. Solid and determined.

Section 2

Saturday 15, 12:44:56

4BR meets the young stars from Campbeltown...

Section 2

Saturday 15, 12:40:12

Interview with Tom Hutchinson

Section 2

Saturday 15, 12:37:29

10. Hucknall & Linby (Paul Whyley) Midlands

The opening takes time to settle and only then does the musical lines start to appear. There is plenty of atmosphere and drama unfolding. This will not end blemish free. The military has a job to do and it will be completed.

Full marks to the band here though. Not everything clicks, but the spirit and commitment, never wavers.

The concluding section builds with anticipation and excitement and ends with purpose.


One that had plenty to admire today. It was not flawless by any means but was full of musical intent.

Star Player:

Principal Cornet: led from the front.

Section 2

Saturday 15, 12:30:10

Walk like an Egyptian...

All the cops in the donut shop say
Ay oh whey oh, ay oh whey oh
Walk like an Egyptian
Walk like an Egyptian

There is so much to enjoy in Stephen Bulla's test piece today — even a bit that reminds you of Nelson, Kepple and Betty at their best...

Section 2

Saturday 15, 12:14:06

Malcolm Wood's half way thoughts:

A tough piece this to pull off and one which has well and truly sorted the bands out so far. It's certainly enjoyable listening, but you sense the players will be relieved when its all over.

It's the slower sections that are certainly creating the challenges so far today, whilst some of the percussion contributions are not holding back.

The judges will know what they want (and do not want) and any band that read the thoughts of David Hirst (who is in the box) will have picked up some pointers on what they will be looking for.

For those who have played here before or whether it is the first time, the acoustic of the hall enables the judges to hear everything. There is no hiding place on the stage.

Itis tight at the top with the Welsh of Pontardulis leading for us, whilst behind them itis a scrap between Flixton, Helston & South Yorkshire.

4BR Prediction:

1. Pontardulais
2. Flixton
3. Helston
4. South Yorkshire

Section 2

Saturday 15, 12:04:59

9. Campbeltown Brass (Paul Kiernan) Scotland

A confident opening, yet we yearn for perhaps a touch more impetus. There is intent though and some of the images do not paint a pretty picture as you know what the outcome will be.

There's lots of atmosphere, tension and unease, whilst the band are united in their goal here. Full marks to the solo players. No matter whether things go right or not, there is real determination.

What a sterling effort this is from the youngsters in the band. They really relish their time on stage and the exciting close is well delivered.


A performance of sheer Scottish grit and determination. So much to admire from the youngsters

Star Player:

Percussion Section ' absolutely cracking stuff.

Section 2

Saturday 15, 11:44:41

8. St Sebastian Wokingham (John Watts) LSC

A cautious opening that takes time to settle but once it does, a vivid musical picture starts to unfold. The hostility, tension and military all come to the fore. The tempos are not badly paced, giving the band the chance to play and let the detail shine through.

Not everything is completely effective in the slower section though. This really tests them.

As they head for home, the excitement builds, but there is a hint of tiredness within the ranks.


A rendition that certainly had the intent, but tested the ensemble at times today.

Star Player:

Euphonium a real trooper.

Section 2

Saturday 15, 11:26:24

7. Helston Town (John Berryman) West of England

Powerful and persuasive opening, full of energy angst, hostility and tension. The military arrives with a presence and plenty to appreciate here for sure.

The slower section has a few musical gremlins. We feel for you as all was going so well, but what impressed here is the band just dusted itself down and got on with it.

The final segment reprises the opening and its an exciting roller coaster of a ride right up until the end.


A performance so typical of the highly respected Mr Berryman, so well laid and thought out. There was some quality playing but there were moments too of unease.

Star Player:

Baritone—luscious contribution

Section 2

Saturday 15, 11:11:39

Dave Hobbs and his wife Brenda on duty for the last time this weekend — two great banding servants

6. South Yorkshire Police (Leigh Baker) Yorkshire

The musical picture is painted very early and by holding things back, the conductor allows clarity and detail to shine through.

The odd cautious moments appear especially in the slower section. As the concluding section builds so does the excitement and tension.


One of those accounts that may just tickle the judges fancy, but also one that had moments that could cost today.

Star Player:

Sop certainly had their three shredded wheat for breakfast (other cereals are available of course)

Section 2

Saturday 15, 10:53:41

Long shots and favourites have won at Cheltenham over the years

5. Annan Town (Paul Drury) Scotland

It is a tasty start with the timpanist really making their presence felt. Its fair to say the military has arrived! The musical lines continue to come through and the sop, principal cornet and flugel (to name a few) are all rising to the challenge.

The slower section is a touch tricky at times. The concluding section is a reprise of the first including no holds-barred percussion


There was intent here, but some of the dynamics were a touch heavy for ourselves at times today.

Star Player:

Cornet was a strong lead throughout.

Section 2

Saturday 15, 10:36:00

4. Pontardulais Town (Paul Jenkins) Wales

Purposeful intent from the off. Descriptive images of war and military right from the off. Tempos are good but occasionally the clarity drops but the confidence from all on stage is coming through.

The quality playing remains and the soloists step up to the mark. This is a real team effort and the excitement builds right to the close.


Very impressive stuff from the word go. The odd moment, but an account of real musical intent.

Star Player:

The first clich'd 'team' effort of the weekend. Everyone stepped up there.

Section 2

Saturday 15, 10:18:41

3. Ifton Colliery (Scott Lloyd) Wales

Good opening, that makes impression from the off. The MD has made his intentions very clear here. This is more understated in its delivery than overstated and whilst not short on drama or tension, there clarity of the playing shines through.

The soloists are stepping up to the mark. Well done baritone and the percussion section blends in well. Exciting close where tempo is taken up a notch.


An approach of less is more that could well appeal in the box.

Star Player:

Baritone. A fine performance of intent.

Section 2

Saturday 15, 10:05:15

2. Flixton (Matthew Ryan) North West

Atmospheric opening with the odd tricky moment. The percussion brings the military to life.

The quality playing is present with effective tempos and dynamics. Adrenaline kicks in but the MD reigns things back in. There is just a hint of tiredness though at the end.


An account that certainly caught the attention, but it was also a reminder of this is a stern test at this level.

Star Player:

Flugel who delivered a tasteful contribution.

Section 2

Saturday 15, 09:47:26

1. LGB Brass (Ian Stewart) L&SC

Purposeful start that grabs the attention. Powerful images are portrayed with the dynamics and tempo markings being kept under control. There are some effective solo and ensemble lines being delivered with the percussion team bringing plenty of additional colour, drama and tension to proceedings.

There is some really descriptive playing going on and they close with confidence.


Lots to admire here in a well judged account. They drew 1 at Regionals in March and won and that didn't put them off today.

Star Player:

Soprano had a presence that really caught the ear.

Section 2

Saturday 15, 09:33:41

The real McCoy

Even this great competitor would have found that 'Firestorm' had a few tough hurdles to overcome today

Section 2

Saturday 15, 09:18:50

Plenty to look forward to...

The judges are now in the box and the first band is waiting in the wings. The Londoners of LGB Brass have drawn number 1 — and will have the honour of providing the first performance of the weekend.

We will have the announcements and the National Anthem first — and then we are off bang on 9.30am.

Section 2

Saturday 15, 09:11:38

Welcome to Cheltenham....

We are just about under starter's orders at Cheltenham...

Section 2

Saturday 15, 08:57:48


Saturday 15th September
Test Piece: 'Firestorm' — Stephen Bulla
Draw: 8.15am
Commence: 9.30am

Adjudicators: David Hirst, Brian Rostron, Roger Webster

1. LGB Brass (Ian Stewart)
2. Flixton (Matt Ryan)
3. Ifton Colliery (Scott Lloyd)
4. Pontardulais Town (Paul Jenkins)
5. Annan Town (Paul Drury)
6. South Yorkshire Police (Leigh Baker)
7. Helston Town (John Berryman)
8. St Sebastian Wokingham (John Watts)
9. Campbeltown Brass (Paul Kiernan)
10. Hucknall & Linby (Paul Whyley)
11. Milton Keynes Brass (Jonathan Mott)
12. Crofton Silver (Dean Jones)
13. Middleton (Kevin Gibbs)
14. North Skelton (Lewis Wilkinson)
15. Bollington Brass (Peter Christian)
16. Shrewton Silver (Michael Dunford)
17. J36 Brass (Steven Craig)
18. Rolls Royce (Derby) (Graham Cardwell)

Section 2

Saturday 15, 08:44:33

Draw: Section 2

Section 2

Saturday 15, 08:15:48

Good morning from Cheltenham....

Good morning from Cheltenham where the National Finals for Sections 1-4 are taking place this weekend.

The organisers are doing all the last minute setting up whilst the draw for Section 2 (which starts at 9.30) takes place at 8.15am.

We will post the draw later on.

Section 2

Saturday 15, 08:01:50

2019 Regional test pieces announced

Kapitol Promotions has announced the test pieces for the 2019 Regional Championships.

Championship Section: Seascapes (Ray Steadman-Allen)
Section 1: Symphony of Marches (Gilbert Vinter)
Section 2: Rise of the Phoenix (Darrol Barry)
Section 3: First Suite in E Flat (Holst arr Sydney Herbert)
Section 4: Stantonbury Festival (Ray Steadman-Allen)

Section 2

Saturday 15, 02:16:02

Runners & Riders: Section 2

Saturday 15th September
Test Piece: 'Firestorm' — Stephen Bulla
Draw: 8.15am
Commence: 9.30am
Adjudicators: David Hirst, Brian Rostron, Roger Webster

Annan Town (Paul Drury)
Bollington Brass (Peter Christian)
Campbeltown Brass (Paul Kiernan)
Crofton Silver (Dean Jones)
Flixton (Matt Ryan)
Helston Town (John Berryman)
Hucknall & Linby (Paul Whyley)
Ifton Colliery (Scott Lloyd)
J36 Brass (Steven Craig)
LGB Brass (Ian Stewart)
Middleton (Kevin Gibbs)
Milton Keynes Brass (Jonathan Mott)
North Skelton (Lewis Wilkinson)
Pontardulais Town (Paul Jenkins)
Rolls Royce (Derby) (Graham Cardwell)
Shrewton Silver (Michael Dunford)
St Sebastian Wokingham (John Watts)
South Yorkshire Police (Leigh Baker)

Section 2

Saturday 15, 02:15:22

Preview: Section 2

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