2019 Yorkshire Regional Championships
As it happened

All the action from the 2019 Yorkshire Regional Championships — As it happened.

Sunday 3, 21:27:17

Goodnight from Huddersfield ...

What a weekend this has been. Congratulations go to Brighouse & Rastrick, Hatfield & Askern Colliery, South Yorkshire Police, Kippax and Maltby Miners for their triumphs and all the other qualifiers for the finals.

It's been an emotional weekend for Peggy Tomlinson who has stepped down as Regional Secretary. She has received standing ovations all weekend and she and husband Malcolm will be missed but we know we will see them both around.

Thanks to Peggy, Stuart Warriner and the Yorkshire committee for all the help and hospitality- and the wonderful food as always.

Next stop on the Regional series is the Midlands, Scotland and West of England.

Good night from Huddersfield.

Sunday 3, 21:01:23

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The man behind the success

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What it means to be Yorkshire Champion

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Brighouse win the title for the first time since 2014

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Runner-up and London bound: Grimethorpe Colliery

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Third Place and London bound: Carlton Main Frickle

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Youngest Player: 13 year old Lewis Barton, principal cornet of Elland


Championship Section:

Test Piece: Seascapes (Ray Steadman-Allen)
Adjudicators: Stephen Roberts and Steve Sykes

1. Brighouse & Rastrick (Dr David Thornton)**
2. Grimethorpe Colliery (Allan Withington)*
3. Carlton Main Frickley Colliery (Ian Porthouse)*
4. Rothwell Temperance (David Roberts)
5. City of Bradford (Lee Skipsey)
6. Black Dyke (Prof. Nicholas J Childs)**
7. Hepworth (Mark Bentham)
8. Elland Silver (Daniel Brooks)
9. Skelmanthorpe (Martin Heartfield)
10. Hammonds Saltaire (Morgan Griffiths)
11. Unite the Union (John Roberts)
12. Marsden Silver (Andrew Lofthouse)
13. Strata (Jonathan Bates)

**Black Dyke and Brighouse & Rastrick pre-qualify for National Final
*Qualify for the National Final

Best Principal Cornet: Iain Culross (Grimethorpe Colliery)
Best Soloist: Chris Robertson (euphonium) — Brighouse & Rastrick
Best Instrumentalist: Zoe Lovatt-Cooper (flugel) — Black Dyke
Youngest Player: Lewis Barton, (13) Elland Silver

Sunday 3, 20:17:40

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Round up and prediction...

At the top end of the contest it has been of the very highest quality — and it will take the wisdom of Solomon in the box to make a decision that would be seen as fair to the best bands.

Will it be the dark power and precision of Black Dyke or the more lyrical intent of Brighouse and Carlton Main and perhaps even something in between with Grimethorpe?

Rothwell may be the unlucky band to miss out again, with Hepworth and our dark horse of Hammonds.

We could be miles out here, but any one of the four of Dyke, Brighouse, Carlton Main and Grimethorpe could deservedly win this.

1. Brighouse & Rastrick
2. Black Dyke
3. Carlton Main
4. Grimethorpe
5. Rothwell Temperance
6. Hepworth

Dark Horse: Hammonds

Sunday 3, 19:53:09

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Championship Section:

13. Hammonds Saltaire (Morgan Griffiths)

The type of performance we have come to expect from Hammonds over the past few years.

Lots of underlying quality in the ensemble and solid solo lines in a rendition that doesn't stretch too far from the straight and narrow of RSA's score — something shown in a well-managed opening section that was laid out with purpose.

More of the same in the middle section despite the occasional moments when it wasn't cohesive — although it was richly coloured.

It closes with an upbeat, if slightly scruffy finale. It takes time to find it noble sea-legs — but when it does it captures the drama and endeavour required to steer through the elements. A touch of Elgar in just the right place too — before we round off with substantial bit of docking to the last chord.

Iwan Fox

Sunday 3, 19:35:24

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Championship Section:

12. Elland Silver (Daniel Brooks)

A performance imbued from start to finish with good sense and sensibility from both the MD and his players.

Nothing over-ambitious about the approach or the execution either — just a well delivered first moment that built in intensity to its exciting climax and tender close. Not the most vibrant colour palette or widest spectrum of dynamics, but as safe as a Geoffrey Boycott forward defensive shot.

The central section was the same — not as languidly sumptuous in texture as the best, but still retaining its atmosphere of warmer far off closes. Certainly more Dubai than Dewsbury.

Super final movement — all drive and energy, puffing out its funnels as they head for home. Just the occasional moment of unease, but this was splendidly done with a joyful ending.

Iwan Fox

Sunday 3, 19:10:54

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Championship Section:

11. Grimethorpe Colliery (Allan Withington)

We've been spoilt for choice at the top end of the table here — and Grimey have just provided the judges with one heck of a headache.

Another account of poetic lyricism inspired by the MD; darker than Carlton Main but not as broadly passionate as Brighouse — all three cut though from the same cloth. The other side of the textural loom sits Black Dyke and Rothwell.

Superbly paced and detailed first movement — leading to such a wonderful free flowing climax of excitement before the tenderest of reposes.

Languid beauty and refinement to the Sarabande — and to borrow a phrase from the great Alan Partridge, it contained more p's than a pensioner's pamper pads. Such a rich colour pallete textured with loving care.

The steamer powers through with glorious dramatic intent and fervour. That's as noble as Queen Victoria on a cross channel ferry let alone a little ship of the realm. Again, the detail is so clearly defined, but the control is never in danger of being lost. Fantastic close — like the QE2 docking in style.

Right bang in the mixer that — and could come out on top.

Iwan Fox

Sunday 3, 18:47:45

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Championship Section:

10. Carlton Main Frickley Colliery (Ian Porthouse)

Well now — this will be a performance that will create debate in the box for certain. It was a wonderful display of lyrical colours and textures brought together with such stylish cohesion.

Everything was laid out with clarity in the opening section — with the steamy atmosphere of hedonism creating a wonderful sense of the exotic.

The central section was a lovely Sarabande — flowing seamlessly, richly coloured and textured. Nothing overdone; languid and poetic. This was classy and infused with quality.

Puffed out pride and nobility to close — the little steamer making good headway back to port. Just the odd hint of discomfort in some lines, but the playing drew out the drama from the score without recourse to harshness. A touching little interlude, before its bunting out on deck, all flags waving and Rule Britannia proudly sung.

A great finish has such a flourish to close a tremendous performance.

Iwan Fox

Sunday 3, 18:25:29

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Championship Section:

9. Hepworth (Mark Bentham)

A robust no nonsense approach from Mark Bentham at the helm gives Hepworth the opportunity to play to their obvious strengths.

It works well — despite a poor opening bar. Detail, clarity and excitement are shown in the first movement, although the more esoteric elements of subtle texture and mixed colours are not so readily apparent. Solid stuff though.

It's the same in the middle section — solid virtues bolted together to form a coherent whole. It's doesn't quite have the textured cohesion that signalled the warmth of the exotic climes of the best today, though once again it is clearly portrayed.

Purpose and passion in full to close — just a little frenetic and harsh in places, but it certainly had bags of drama. What it lacked in nobility it made up in bold endeavour all the way to proud entry to the home port, that little sop flourish and solid docking.

Iwan Fox

Sunday 3, 18:07:10

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Championship Section:

8. Skelmanthorpe (Martin Heartfield)

An engaging rendition inspired by the musical common sense of the captain at the helm.

Nothing overdone, overplayed or over-ambitious it must be said — but it made for an interpretation that was firmly rooted in the composer's intent.

The opening was solidly delivered. It perhaps lacked the subtle dynamic and textural variances that mark out the writing, but it was all there in nuts and bolts form. Lots of energy at just the right time too and a tender close.

The central section was also shaped so well — a meandering slow dance feel that retained its momentum through to its close.

Our little steamer sounded a little tired and scrappy as it headed to port — taking on a few technical waves over the bows in places. Nothing serious and the noble flow never wavered, intense and then joyful all the way to that final sop flourish and solid final chord docking.

Iwan Fox

Sunday 3, 18:06:02

Halfway point thoughts...

A contest of defined virtues and approaches — headed at present by a brace of outstanding perform news from Black Dyke and Brighouse & Rastrick.

The MDs were inspired by 'Seascapes' in different musical directions — Dyke, dark and so imposing, Brighouse, lighter in its subtleties. There is next to nothing to chose between them in execution of their contest day plans.

A very fine Rothwell are not far behind, and some way ahead of the rest, but it's still all to play for...

Iwan Fox

Sunday 3, 17:28:04

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Championship Section

7. Brighouse & Rastrick (Dr David Thornton)

A performance of such finely drawn lines, subtle textures and blended balances from the West Riding band — and one that will have surely have made a substantial impression in the box.

A lighter dynamic spectrum too; only occasionally unleashed in each of the well-structured sections — the opening paced expertly to reveal detail but also to allow for the ratcheting up of passion and excitement.

The middle section finally had that secondary beat pulse of a true Sarabande without sounding dislocated. The colour palette really evoked warm, exotic climes. Super stuff.

Pride and passion shown in the finale — a noble little steamer on the waves — almost Elgarian in its approach, building with dynamic reserve and such impressive technical clarity.

So much to enjoy — nothing overdone at all — with a touching lyrical interlude, a bluff reprise and a Jack Tar flourish to close a tremendous performance.

Iwan Fox

Sunday 3, 17:06:15

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Championship Section:

6. Strata (Jonathan Bates)

A hard working account this — artisan elements structured with purpose and understanding by the MD.

Scrappiness robbed the cohesion in the first moment, but it still had vibrancy and style. Some super little solo interventions made their mark and the excitement was joyful, if a little frenetic.

A flowing central section was well shaped, and despite lacking that extra depth of polish and finesse, still maintained its languid dance-like feel. Just the odd moment of unease tarnished the picture.

A bit of a bobbling steamer rising on top of the waves to close — never quite at ease, but still puffing purposefully to port. Some of the inner technical workings were impaired, but the good ship still battled on with a proud if occasionally scruffy nobility at its core.

Iwan Fox

Sunday 3, 16:44:29

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Championship Section:

5. Black Dyke (Prof. Nicholas J Childs)

A performance of huge contest winning intent this from the defending champion.

The opening was paced so well — allowing the inner detail to come through whilst still maintaining the essential textural cohesion. The surge to the hedonistic climes was immense — the MD literally jumping not once, but twice off his feet. That was Club Tropicana 18-30 stuff.

The Sarabande has a viscous flow — not holding back either. The playing has such a resonant depth of colour and texture — perhaps occasionally over emphasised in places, but so intensely mixed.

The steamer is more like a regal QE2; huge and majestic — the nobility unquestionable. Inner detail flows from port holes at all levels above the Plimsoll Line, before a crunching wave of power hits the dock walls. A tender moment of repose before a final power drive to home, the sop flourish and imposing denouement.

Iwan Fox

Sunday 3, 16:20:16

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Championship Section:

4. City of Bradford (Lee Skipsey)

A very different take this — vibrant DayGlo colours and bold textures to the opening in particular. It was exciting and passionate playing — building up a hedonistic head of steam before a cultured close.

A fluid Sarabande followed — ebbing and flowing both in pace and dynamic nuance. Confidence poured out by the amphora load in places. Perhaps in need of a more subtle infusion of texture, but it was heartfelt playing of dramatic intent.

Our little steamer cuts a swathe through the score to close — boldly chugging with confidence. Some neat little touches were heard through the sonic miasma, and there was a dark, dramatic nobility to the playing.

Just catches a few crabs in calmer dynamic waters, but it recovers to enter port blowing in triumph to round off a distinctive take of the score.

Iwan Fox

Sunday 3, 15:59:56

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Championship Section:

3. Rothwell Temperance (David Roberts)

A significant ratcheting up of class, with such a well-structured account. There was a deep reservoir of tonality and balance on show, even if the textures had a heavy weave to the ear.

The opening was delivered with subtle variances in pace and dynamic, moving seamlessly from endeavour to ecstasy. Just lost its focus to close, but it was good.

The central section got a little ripe in places, but the slow dance flow was always maintained. There was a confidence about the musicality that kept you engaged — it didn't meander needlessly.

A bold puffer this to close — shifting at pace and with an oily passion. Again — just got a touch harsh in places, but a great close full of noble sentiment and control. There was a real flourish to the entry into port to round off a fine show of high quality substance.

Iwan Fox

Sunday 3, 15:35:56

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Championship Section:

2. Unite the Union (John Roberts)

Another boldly drawn and delivered account — well paced and structured, but with another major question mark over the dynamics, which were on the generous side all the way through.

The first section had fluidity and pulse, with detail and rhythmic brio, but it also needed subtle texture and dynamic shading. Went a touch orgiastic in search of foreign delights but still kept its cohesion.

The central section never quite caught the slow Sarabande dance — but was solidly portrayed. Again, the obvious elements were bolted together well, but it needed more finesse and coalescence.

The old steamer had drive and purpose, chugging enthusiastically back to dock, noble and proud. Just lost its dynamic funnels in places, but a super close.

Iwan Fox

Sunday 3, 15:17:04

Championship Section:

1. Marsden Silver (Andrew Lofthouse)

No shortage of confidence from Marsden from the number 1 draw, with a boldly drawn account that had vibrancy and rhythmic buoyancy from start to close — although dynamically it was always on the healthy side.

The opening had a joyful spirit of adventure and a touch of hedonistic fun, whilst the second took a while to find cohesion and a sense of the exotic. The steamer puffed its way to home port with plenty of drive and energy — perhaps leaving some nobility in its wash.

A solid enough marker, but one that perhaps needed more dynamic variance to draw the textures and balances together. Bold and bravura though.

Iwan Fox

Sunday 3, 15:09:27


Championship Section:

Test Piece: Seascapes (Ray Steadman-Allen)
Adjudicators: Stephen Roberts and Steve Sykes

1. Marsden Silver (Andrew Lofthouse)
2. Unite the Union (John Roberts)
3. Rothwell Temperance (David Roberts)
4. City of Bradford (Lee Skipsey)
5. Black Dyke (Prof. Nicholas J Childs)
6. Strata (Jonathan Bates)
7. Brighouse & Rastrick (Dr David Thornton)
8. Skelmanthorpe (Martin Heartfield)
9. Hepworth (Mark Bentham)
10. Carlton Main Frickley Colliery (Ian Porthouse)
11. Grimethorpe Colliery (Allan Withington)
12. Elland Silver (Daniel Brooks)
13. Hammonds Saltaire (Morgan Griffiths)

Sunday 3, 14:35:22

Championship Section 3.15pm start

So after the thrills and spills of this morning, the hall is now cleared for the separate ticketing event of the Championship Section.

Draw posted once judges in box. Till then, its lunch.

Sunday 3, 14:05:38

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A South Yorkshire Police trio of success

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A winning smile

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Runner-up: Chapeltown

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Third Place: Hade Edge

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Best Soloist: Andy Able

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Youngest Player: Ted Crosby (BD1 Brass)


Second Section:

Test Piece: Rise of the Phoenix (Darrol Barry)
Adjudicators: Howard J Evans and Christopher Houlding

1. South Yorkshire Police (Leigh Baker)*
2. Chapeltown (Sam Fisher)*
3. Hade Edge (Jonathan Beatty)
4. Horbury Victoria (Duncan Beckley
5. BD1 Brass (Lee Skipsey)
6. Meltham & Meltham Mills (Tom Haslam)
7. Slaithwaite (Ryan Watkins)
8. Dronfield Genquip (Damian Wileman)
9. Barnsley Brass (William Rushworth)
10. Clifton & Lightcliffe (John Clay)

Withdrawn: Worsbrough Brass (Dr. Alexander Parker)

*Top two bands qualify for National Final

Best Soloist: Andy Able (cornet ) — South Yorkshire Police
Youngest Player: Ted Crosby (BD1 Brass) — aged 13

Sunday 3, 13:39:28

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Second Section final thoughts and prediction:

It's a solid account from Meltham & Mills that may just miss out on an outside bet as a top-six finisher to close.

And what a cracking contest this has been. The bands have not only thrived on playing the piece but have all given accounts of vibrancy, colour and style.

This really is a close call, but we think BD1's terrific late show could take the spoils, Thereafter there is nothing more than a toss of a coin between South Yorkshire Police and Horbury Victoria. Very fine margins for us.

Behind them, who knows? Clifton & Lightcliffe, Dronfield Genquip and Chapeltown may just get the nod for the top-six.

4BR Prediction:

1. BD1 Brass
2. South Yorkshire Police
3. Horbury Victoria
4. Clifton & Lightcliffe
5. Dronfield Genquip
6. Chapeltown Silver

Dark Horse: Barnsley Brass

Malcolm Wood

Sunday 3, 13:18:09

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Lee Skipsey leads BD1 to Cheltenham?

Second Section:

Two crackers to set the the contest alight and have rivals wondering if it means they could now miss out?

Horbury Victoria took to the stage with just two trombones and ex Grimethorpe man, Michael Dodd enjoying himself on euphonium.

With Duncan Beckley at the helm it was a rendition moulded by leaving nothing to chance; excellent dynamics and solo lines and ensemble that relished the piece.

As with Duncan Beckley, Lee Skipsey's forensic finger prints were all over BD1's account. The band mixed with youth (at least 13 teenagers) and experience and really stepped up to the plate.

The young principal cornet was an absolute trooper (as was the super flugel) nailing his part and leading the band with cultured aplomb, whilst sop Claire Skipsey drove the energy of the back row.

Very close at top end with just one band, Meltham left to play.

Malcolm Wood

Sunday 3, 12:42:33

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Second Section:

The contest restarts with a no holds barred account from Dronfield Genquip led by Damien Wileman (above) — one that bristled with energy and drama. The MD was relaxed and the ensemble responded to his direction to the little.

Third Section National Champions Barnsley Brass deliver a reading as colourful as MDs William Rushworth's shirt. Steadier in tempos than others, it certain allowed the soloists to come to the fore.

Malcolm Wood

Sunday 3, 11:51:19

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Second Section halfway thoughts:

We headed to the comfort break with Clifton & Lightcliffe (above), the band the piece was originally composed for.

It's been enjoyable stuff this morning with the bands really getting to grips with the Barry work. It was playing that wouldn't have been out of place at the local Cubby Broccoli cinema up the road in Bradford. All so far we're full of good style and confidence with some great solo contributions.

Hard one to call so far as there have been plenty of good, solid performances.

Chapeltown's opener was a marker that really tickled our taste buds with little more than a cigarette paper between South Yorkshire Police, Clifton and the rest.

Malcolm Wood

Sunday 3, 11:38:03

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Second Section:

Two more engaging, dramatic offerings for the judges and audience to get their teeth into. Hade Edge with Jonathan Beatty really went for the jugular, bringing out the excitement by the bucket load.

Slaithwaite and Ryan Watkins delivered a more thoughtful account, which included getting the flugel to stand front of stage for their solo part. Nothing was pushed beyond the limits of the ensemble and the dynamic contrasts allowed clarity and detail to come through.

The MD (principal trombone with Brighouse) brought plenty of energy to the performance through his conducting style. You can tell he's played under Prof David King.

Malcolm Wood

Sunday 3, 11:28:31

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More orchestral converts...

We reported on the great Frank Mathison yesterday — the former bass trombone of the London Symphony Orchestra, who is still enjoying his banding, aged 90 playing baritone.

Today we met up with Bill Houghton (left) who for 26 years was the principal trumpet of the BBC Symphony Orchestra and who is now enjoying playing with South Yorkshire Police Band.

His great friend and colleague Paul Cosh made the trip up to hear him play repiano cornet and caught up with him after they played.

"I only once played with a brass band before playing in orchestras, with the then Clacton Band many years ago," Bill told 4BR.

"After I retired and with my daughter up in these parts I decided to give it go again. It's great — and I do more playing in 10 minutes on these pieces than I did in a whole symphony. I love it."

Sunday 3, 10:58:35

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Chapeltown get ready for action

Second Section:

We have heard the first two offerings of Darrol Barry's 'Rise of the Phoenix'. Sam Fisher (who won the 'Best Soloist' award in the First Section yesterday) opened with a colourful account with Chapeltown. It was an impressive marker for sure with good solo contributions.

Leigh Baker's South Yorkshire Police delivered a tasteful account that was both engaging and dramatic right from the off. There was some really effective contributions from cornet, flugel and Eb bass.

It's early days but you sense the bands have really enjoyed getting to grips with this filmatic music with its influences of John Barry '007' scores. Lots of promise here.

With just ten bands, there will be a comfort break after band 5

Malcolm Wood

Sunday 3, 10:05:37


Second Section:

Adjudicators: Howard J Evans and Christopher Houlding

1. Chapeltown (Sam Fisher)
2. South Yorkshire Police (Leigh Baker)
3. Hade Edge (Jonathan Beatty)
4. Slaithwaite (Ryan Watkins)
5. Clifton & Lightcliffe (John Clay)
6. Dronfield Genquip (Damian Wileman)
7. Barnsley Brass (William Rushworth)
8. Horbury Victoria (Duncan Beckley)
9. BD1 Brass (Lee Skipsey)
10. Meltham & Meltham Mills (Tom Haslam)

Withdrawn: Worsbrough Brass (Dr. Alexander Parker)

Sunday 3, 09:47:10

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Hard at work...

It's amazing to see all the hard work that goes on behind the scenes at events such as this — from the wonderful catering team to the putting up of the draws and making sure the stewards and volunteers all know what to do.

Percussion players are very well catered for too, with the great Ray Payne on hand to provide all the required exotica at the back of the band and to give invaluable tips to players young and old on how to play them.

Yesterday one enthusiastic player bent a clash cymbal inside out (and that takes some doing), so you can see why Ray's expertise is so sought after.

Sunday 3, 09:10:09

Good morning from Huddersfield...

All the eyes of the banding world will be on Huddersfield Town Hall today as we get ready for the action to start on the second day of qualification battles.

This time we have 10 Second Section bands (Worsbrough Brass has withdrawn) tackling Darrol Barry's enjoyable 'Rise of the Phoenix' to try and secure the two Cheltenham qualification places on offer, plus the heavyweight battle for a place at the Albert Hall.

The top section sees 13 bands take to the lively stage here (especially percussion) with defending champion Black Dyke and Brighouse & Rastrick already pre-qualified.

That doesn't mean they will be taking things any easier (Dyke is looking for a historic fourth straight win) and Brighouse its first since 2014, but there are two other places up for grabs as well.

'Seascapes' is a score full of texture, detail, colour and balance, rather than eye-watering pyrotechnics and heavy metal volume, so it will be intersting to see how they gauge their approaches today.

It all kicks off at 10.15am, (the top section is at 3.30pm) so time for quick cup of tea from the excellent caterers the Yorkshire Committee have here.

The steak pie yesterday was splendid....

Saturday 2, 21:53:43

Goodnight from Huddersfield...

It's been a hugely interesting first day at the Yorkshire Regional Championships — one that has seen some great performances, some OK performances and some pretty average performances it must be said.

The Fourth and Third Sections were super — great pieces enabling the bands to showcase good banding basics sprinkled with a fair amount of style and musicality. Yorkshire sends some pretty impressive bands to Cheltenham in both sections.

The First Section was a different matter — it was pretty average stuff. Congratulations to Hatfield & Askern Colliery who are certainly a band full to the brim with confidence led by a hugely experienced MD who knew how to play Vinter.

Elsewhere a couple of bands may think they were a touch unlucky, but overall it was a salutary reminder of just where First Section banding is at the moment, not just in Yorkshire but in the UK.

Interestingly, the result in the First Section could see anything up to 15 bands in the top section here next year. The Fourth Section had eight competitors this year.

Hopefully then, someone will heed the words of adjudicator Sandy Smith today when he said banding at Fourth Section level in the UK was in crisis and needs urgent help. He was not wrong.

Saturday 2, 20:47:57

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2019 Yorkshire Champion: Hatfield & Askern Colliery

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Stan Lippeatt celebrates with the Yorkshire Trophy

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Winners: Hatfield & Askern Colliery

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Runner-up: Old Silkstone

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Third Place: Crofton Silver

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Best Soprano: Sam Fisher of Crofton Silver

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Youngest Player: Max Creeser (Hebden Bridge) — aged 11


First Section:

Test Piece: Symphony of Marches (Gilbert Vinter)
Adjudicators: Gary Davies and Howard J Evans

1. Hatfield & Askern Colliery (Stanley Lippeatt)*
2. Old Silkstone (John Hopkinson)*
3. Crofton Silver (Dean Jones)
4. Yorkshire Imperial Urquhart Travel (Simon Gresswell)
5. Drighlington (Neil Robinson)
6. Lindley (Robert Westacott)
7. Stannington (Derek Renshaw)
8. Prospect Brass Skelmanthorpe (Duncan Beckley)
9. Hebden Bridge (David Hamilton)
10. Wakefield Metropolitan (Peter Kench)
11. Knottingley Silver (Kevin Belcher)

*Top two bands qualify for National Final

Best Soloist: Neil Wright (Eb tuba) — Hatfield & Askern Colliery
Best Soprano: Sam Fisher (Crofton Silver)
Best Euphonium: Mick Tyler (Drighlington)
Youngest Player: Max Creese (Hebden Bridge) — aged 11

Saturday 2, 19:58:17

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First Section round up and prediction:

The last two of the contest (and day one) were indifferent accounts by Old Silkstone (whose percussion was impressive) with the last ensemble, Lindley, possibly not delivering on the real promise that was there.

It will be interesting to hear what the judges make of today. For us the overall standard was both frustrating and disappointing in equal measure. Vinter's work isn't beyond the best bands at this level but too many conductors decided upon musical paths that just didn't work.

Yorkshire Imps lead the way courtesy of a fine reading by the MD for us. Behind them there is not much to chose between a group. It could go anyway this.

4BR Prediction:

1. Yorkshire Imperial Urquhart Travel
2. Hatfield
3. Stannington
4. Drighlington
5. Crofton Silver
6. Skelmanthorpe

Dark Horse: Lindley

Malcolm Wood

Saturday 2, 19:45:56

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Ramming speed...

There is one thing that is sure it be mentioned by the judges after they come out of the box here this evening — and that is the dynamics employed by a lot of the percussion teams.

This hall isn't conducive to the Big Bang theory of percussion colour, balance and texture. Less is more.... Much, much less in fact.

We had timp playing here in the First Section that wouldn't have been out of place on the Roman Ship that Ben Hur was on — the one with the guy thumping the ramming speed out as they went into war.

Hells Bells — some of this has been turbo charged...

Saturday 2, 19:21:12

First Section:

The second half of the contest commenced with a neat, compact rendition from Prospect Brass Skelmanthorpe. Duncan Beckley was relaxed in his approach and his band responded. Just got a little ragged as tiredness crept in at its conclusion.

Wakefield was one of the mixed bag variety — and it just didn't have the consistency needed for to really make an impact.

Much the same can be said for Knottingley — one of those where it just never came off today. There was so much scrappiness in the playing at times. There was some good solo work on show, but the overall picture didn't resonate.

Two performances left. If these bands want to be in Cheltenham come September then they need to grab it from under the noses of rivals. This one is still very much up for grabs.

Malcolm Wood

Saturday 2, 18:42:03

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Closing in on the century...

Prof Nicholas Childs recently followed the great Major Peter Parkes in becoming the latest conductor to doff his cap at the pavilion on reaching 100 contest wins.

The man next in line though may come as a surprise — or not as the case may be, as Duncan Beckley has 92 victories and counting in his career — including more than a few Yorkshire Area successes.

Another one today with Propsect Brass Skelmanthorpe would bring him closer to that magic mark.

Saturday 2, 18:19:46

First Section halfway thoughts:

Hebden Bridge took to the stage and could rue the scrappiness that took the sheen off the clarity at times. There was some good ensemble work and solo playing, but those pockmarks and errors were noticeable.

Yorkshire Imperial with Simon Gresswell delivered a measured account that didn't push anything beyond the marked limitations. The tempos and the dynamics were closely monitored, allowing for the clarity to come through.

The MDs thoughtful approach especially with the dynamics could pay dividends.

Stannington took the judges and audience to a breather with another rendition where 'less is more' could prove more fruitful.

Tempos were interesting, but taking the edge of the dynamics at times made it more appealing than some of the other accounts today.

Yorkshire Imps lead for us though (a performance on a par with the ones at the top in Blackpool) with very little between Hatfield and Stannington coming behind them. After that it's a bit of a dog fight.

1. Yorkshire Imperial
2. Hatfield & Askern Colliery
3. Stannington

Malcolm Wood

Saturday 2, 17:26:45

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21st century style from Stan Lippeatt

First Section:

A well judged performance from Drighlington opened the contest. There was excellent attention to detail and dynamics, but the tempo of the final section was certainly quick on the ear and may prove costly today.

Crofton, with ex Carlton Main cornet Sam Fisher on great form on soprano then delivered a rendition that showed no fear following their promotion.

Confident from the opening bars, the piece was well paced with good detail and dynamics allowing the clarity to come through. There were some moments (adrenaline of the contest stage?) of overblowing that could create debate in the box.

Hatfield under Stan Lippeatt (above) was Vinter circa 1960s and no reinventions.

The MD let his band play with passion, but it just came across as a little too robust at times. The percussion will have woken anyone starting to doze off.

It's early days, but it will be interesting to see just where that comes today. There was no doubt they could play it, but the somewhat heavy dynamics could be costly.

Malcolm Wood

Saturday 2, 16:27:37


First Section:

Test Piece: Symphony of Marches (Gilbert Vinter)
Saturday 2nd March

Adjudicators: Gary Davies and Howard J Evans
Draw: 3.00pm
Commences: 4.30pm approx

1. Drighlington (Neil Robinson)
2. Crofton Silver (Dean Jones)
3. Hatfield & Askern Colliery (Stanley Lippeatt)
4. Hebden Bridge (David Hamilton)
5. Yorkshire Imperial Urquhart Travel (Simon Gresswell)
6. Stannington (Derek Renshaw)
7. Prospect Brass Skelmanthorpe (Duncan Beckley)
8. Wakefield Metropolitan (Peter Kench)
9. Knottingley Silver (Kevin Belcher)
10. Old Silkstone (John Hopkinson)
11. Lindley (Robert Westacott)

Saturday 2, 16:11:36

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The winners celebrate

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The winning conductor, Terry Clifford and his prizes

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2019 Yorkshire Champion: Maltby Miners

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Runner-up: Barnsley Metropolitan

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Third Place: Garforth

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Best Percussion: Maltby Miners

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Best Soloist: Dave Chambers of Maltby Miners

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Youngest Player: Sam Thompson of Garforth — aged 8


Fourth Section:

Test Piece: Stantonbury Festival (Ray Steadman-Allen)
Adjudicators: Alan Duguid and Sandy Smith

1. Maltby Miners (Terry Clifford)*
2. Barnsley Metropolitan (Alex Francis)*
3. Garforth (John Thompson)
4. Dodworth Colliery M.W. (Eliot Darwin)
5. Linthwaite (Paul Kershaw)
6. Friendly Band (Sowerby Bridge) (James Beecham)
7. Loxley Silver (Richard Windle)
8. Thurcroft Welfare (Matthew Wright)

*Top two bands qualify for National Final

Best Soloist: Dave Chambers (euphonium) — Maltby Miners
Best Percussion: Maltby Miners
Youngest Player: Sam Thompson (Garforth Brass) — aged 8

Saturday 2, 15:39:36

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Fourth Section final thoughts and prediction:

The concluding two bands of the section were Friendly Band and Dodworth.

Friendly was full of desire and passion, good tempos, ensemble and solo playing. There was just the odd moment of uncertainty, but one for debate as to where it could finish in the box.

Dodworth was an account based on good basics and with real purpose to it. Not everything went smoothly at times, but it was exciting.

A short piece and a short contest here in Huddersfield. That said, it has certainly tested the bands.

It's going to be close at the top end with Barnsley Metropolitan, Garforth, Friendly Band, Loxley in the mix for ourselves.

Whatever the result though, special mention to Linthwaite for taking to the stage with just 15 players and no percussion. They took to the stage and were proud as punch to do so.

4BR Prediction:

1. Barnsley Metropolitan
2. Garforth Brass
3. Loxley Silver
4. Friendly Band

Dark Horse: Dodworth

Malcolm Wood

Saturday 2, 15:38:48

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One of the greats...

There cannot be too many players here this weekend who can say they used to do a day job being conducted by the late, great Andre Previn amongst others.

However, Frank Matheson (above) was bass trombone for the London Symphony Orchestra from 1963 to 1993 and played under Previn and all the greats — as well as being in a section with colleagues such as Denis Wick, John Fletcher and the one and only Maurice Murphy.

He played on everything — from Mahler to Star Wars and enjoyed every minute of it.

Now aged 90 he played second baritone for Friendly Band (Sowerby Bridge) in the Fourth Section and loved it. "It's a bit tricky, but I can manage it. I still play my trombone though."

As for Andre Previn? "A brilliant musician — no doubt about it."

And the famous Morecambe and Wise sketch. "Not me. That was a 'pick up' band — even though Andre wanted us to do it."

Saturday 2, 14:59:52

Fourth Section:

Loxley's rendition was one rich in colour, ensemble balance and impressive soloists. The tempo's and it's pace though were more restrained than others do far today, which could be an interesting asking point in the box.

Barnsley Met was another astute offering from ex Brighouse man, Alex Francis.
The colours, balance of sound overall delivery was first class. They should be happy with the solid show that puts them in the frame.

Malcolm Wood

Saturday 2, 14:51:10

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The magnificent (six) seven..

These six young players with Barnsley Metropolitan Band were all making their Area debuts this year under their inspirational MD, Alex Francis.

Although there were six in the picture, there were in fact seven in all as their young percussionist was already on stage setting things up...

Saturday 2, 14:29:04

Fourth Section:

Garforth presents a 'Stantonbury Festival' account that was nicely styled and delivered with real confidence.

Everyone played their part, including the cracking percussion. Having, finished runners-up last year, they will fancy their chances of going one better this time around after that show.

Thurcroft Welfare followed to play and did so with musicality and confidence. They just needed a touch more consistency at times, although there was something in each of the movements to catch the ear.

Garforth lead for us and with four to play. Game on though.

Malcolm Wood

Saturday 2, 14:19:33

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And taking a first bow...

As one generation passes the baton onto the next in terms of organisation, it's always great to see a new generation of youngsters enjoying their first experiences of contesting.

The youngest player in the Third Section was 10 year old Thomas Musgrave (see below), and the gentlemen above is 8 year old Sam Thompson, the great little percussionist of Garforth Band. His dad is the conductor and mum plays as well.

It's just his second contest today but first Area outing — and with a smile like that he wasn't short of confidence before he went on stage.

Saturday 2, 14:14:10

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Taking a last bow...

The programme for this year's Yorkshire Regional Championship contains the sad news that it will be the last that will be led by Regional Secretary Peggy Tomlinson (above) who has announced her retirement from the post.

Peggy has served on the committee since 1995 and had been an indefatigable, hugely popular and immensely respected Regional Secretary since 1997.

A wonderful organiser of a great event, she is not only a proud Yorkshirewoman but also a wonderful brass band supporter.

The standing ovation spoke volumes of just how much she means to Yorkshire banding.

Saturday 2, 14:02:18

Fourth Section:

Maltby Miners commenced the contest with an account that certainly wasn't lacking in terms of musical contrasts through the three movements.

Following them on and with just 15 players, Linthwaite was understandably lighter in sound, but made up for it in spades with their musical endeavour. It was certainly well controlled from the middle with their appearance on stage of far more greater importance than the overall result.

As there are just eight bands, it's straight through here from start to finish with no comfort break for judges Alan Duguid and Sandy Smith.

Malcolm Wood

Saturday 2, 13:00:24


Fourth Section:

Saturday 2nd March
Test Piece: Stantonbury Festival (Ray Steadman-Allen)
Adjudicators: Alan Duguid and Sandy Smith
Draw: 12 noon
Commences: 1.30pm approx

1. Maltby Miners (Terry Clifford)
2. Linthwaite (Paul Kershaw)
3. Garforth (John Thompson)
4. Thurcroft Welfare (Matthew Wright)
5. Loxley Silver (Richard Windle)
6. Barnsley Metropolitan (Alex Francis)
7. Friendly Band (Sowerby Bridge) (James Beecham)
8. Dodworth Colliery M.W. (Eliot Darwin)

Saturday 2, 12:47:15

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The winning conductor — Stephen Tighe of Kippax

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Yorkhire Champion: Kippax

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Runner-up: Wetherby

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Third Place: Rockingham

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Best Soloist: Fay Thompson of Kippax Band

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Youngest Player Thomas Musgrave of Huddersfield & Ripponden


Third Section:

Test Piece: First Suite in Eb' (Gustav Holst arr. Sydney Herbert)
Adjudicators: Sheona Wade and Dr David Thornton

1. Kippax (Stephen Tighe)*
2. Wetherby Silver (Derek Wharley)*
3. Rockingham (Adam Whittle)
4. Dinnington (Lee Dunkley)
5. Emley (Garry Hallas)
6. Gawthorpe Brass 85 (John Edward)
7. Huddersfield & Ripponden (Adam Bell)
8. Lofthouse 2000 (Andrew Whitaker)
9. Oughtibridge (Gavin Somerset)
10. Armthorpe Elmfield (R. Kilcoyne)
11. Clifton & Lightcliffe B (John Clay)
12. Deepcar (Cathryn Rogers)

*Top two bands qualify for National Final

Best Soloist: Fay Thompson (soprano) — Kippax
Youngest Player: Thomas Musgrave (Huddersfield & Ripponden) — aged 10

Saturday 2, 12:24:25

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Third Section round up and prediction:

The last three contenders were Huddersfield & Ripponden, Emley and Gawthorpe Brass 85.

Huddersfield was the latest to really bring the music out of the score with a conductor who was so neat with his musical intentions.

Emley was a bit of a mixed bag with challenges in each of the movements which was a real pity because it was a piece within their grasp. In the mix but may just miss out on Cheltenham.

Finally, Gawthorpe Brass 85 with a fine cornet lead, although a touch quick in the overall approach at times for us. Another potential top-six finisher though,

It has been a very enjoyable contest to listen too (and it's a cracker of a choice that despite its age has been appreciated by the bands, conductors and audience), and quite tight at the top end especially with the qualification places.

Kippax and Rockingham the ones that made an impression on us with us Emley and Lofthouse 2000 very much in the shout for a podium finish.

It's all down to what Dr David Thornton and Sheona Wade want that matters though.

4BR Prediction:

1. Kippax
2. Rockingham
3. Wetherby
4. Emley
5. Lofthouse 2000
6. Huddersfield & Ripponden

Dark Horse: Gawthorpe Brass 85

Malcolm Wood

Saturday 2, 11:36:59

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Garry Hallas in best Gareth Southgate waistcoat mode leads Emley on Holst

Third Section:

A couple of crackers in the latest trio to throw this contest wide open.

Rockingham and Adam Whittle gave us a well thought out reading that had lots to admire. Great style, balance and ensemble coupled with solid soloists. It has surely put them in the frame for Cheltenham.

Kippax also delivered an account that had lots to appreciate in this quality of warm tonality, style and secure delivery. Stephen Tighe had confidence in his players and they repsonded in turn.

The last of the three to play was Dinnington in their trademark bright yellow and blue jackets. Bright musical sounds too and a real boldness in approach from the MD, aided by with a cracking soprano player.

Just three to go then with Kippax and Rockingham tickling our taste buds — but what about the judges?

Malcolm Wood

Saturday 2, 11:24:35

A gem of constructive genius...

In this day and age if blockbuster test-pieces and cut and paste generated digital mediocrity it's an absolute joy to listen to a piece that has the hallmark of true musical craftsmanship.

Nearly 100 years old now, Holst's 'First Suite in Eb' is put together like a Faberge Egg — beautiful to look at with the genius to be found hidden beneath its outer shell.

Each movement is a delight — the stately 'Chaconne' followed by the sprightly 'Intermezzo' and the noble Edwardian restraint of the 'March'. It's a delight — and a fantastic test of the bands — all of whom are giving it a good go here.

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Kippax enjoyed their bit of Holst under MD Stephen Tighe

Saturday 2, 10:45:05

Third Section halfway thoughts:

We'e had another trio of intriguing accounts to take us to a short comfort break.

The experienced John Clay brought all his knowhow to Clifton's reading which grew in confidence and stature as it went along, despite not being at full strength in the cornet ranks.

Wetherby's reading was built on solid musical foundations, good soloists and a nice ensemble sound, some fascinating tempos. One for the judges to ponder.

Armthorpe take us to the break with a measured reading that although not without its insecurities, was one where the MD brought the essence of Holst right to the fore.

It's a tight call at the top and we are still waiting for a band to really nail this through the three movements. Wetherby and Lofthouse 2000 are the ones that have appealed so far for us but will it be the same in the box?

Full marks to the bands though as we have not seen a complete ensemble on stageso far. It doesn't stop them competing which is great to see and hear.

Malcolm Wood

Saturday 2, 09:59:33

Third Section:

If the first three bands are anything to go by, this promises to be a super contest.

Lofthouse 2000 wasn't flawless, but had a real lightness of touch in its sound, whilst Deepcar really brought the Holst to the fore with energy, passion and a brisk final movement.

Oughtibridge had a mixture of youth and experienced players on stage under Gavin Somerset and delivered an engaging account that was never short on confidence. How beneficial having the sop and principal cornet sat at an angle where their backs were to the audience and judges be remains to be heard though.

Malcolm Wood

Saturday 2, 09:19:02

Third Section:

Off we go with some Holst

We are about to start the contesting weekend with twelve bands in Section Three. The judges are Dr David Thornton and Sheona Wade.

Make sure you grab your programmes and visit the trade stands whilst you are here.

Good luck to all this weekend and enjoy it.

Saturday 2, 09:01:34


Third Section

Saturday 2nd March
Test Piece: 'First Suite in Eb' — Gustav Holst arr. Sydney Herbert
Adjudicators: Sheona Wade and Dr David Thornton
Draw: 7.45am
Commences: 9.15.am

1. Lofthouse 2000 (Andrew Whitaker)
2. Deepcar (Cathryn Rogers)
3. Oughtibridge (Gavin Somerset)
4. Clifton & Lightcliffe B (John Clay)
5. Wetherby Silver (Derek Wharley)
6. Armthorpe Elmfield (Ray Kilcoyne)
7. Rockingham (Adam Whittle)
8. Kippax (Stephen Tighe)
9. Dinnington (Lee Dunkley)
10. Huddersfield & Ripponden (Adam Bell)
11. Emley (Garry Hallas)
12. Gawthorpe Brass 85 (John Edward)

Saturday 2, 07:51:31

Morning from Huddersfield

Good morning from Huddersfield Town Hall where the Yorkshire Regional Committee are already here as is percussion expert, Ray Payne.

Regional Secretary, Peggy Tomlinson is conducting the Third Section Draw which will be judged by Dr David Thornton and Sheona Wade. It kicks off at 9.15am.

Following the Third Section it will be the Fourth Secion followed by some Gilbert Vinter to close the day.

We will post the draw for Third Section once the judges have gone in the box around 9am.

Till then, it's a bit of banter, chat and Yorkshire hospitality and a brew.

See you in a bit...

Saturday 2, 06:14:15

Contest preview:

Take a look at Iwan Fox's preview of one of the most eagerly awaited weekends of the year...

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