Results: 2012 Midlands Regional Championship

Results from the 2012 Midlands Regional Championships at the Civic Hall and Nicholas Chamberlaine Technology College in Bedworth.

Vici Hall

Desford Colliery reclaimed the Midlands Regional title in Bedworth on Sunday evening after MD, Russell Gray’s intensely lyrical interpretation of ‘The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea’ saw them crowned champion for the first time since 2009.

High class form

After missing out last year on the Royal Albert Hall and picking up a disappointing result at the Butlins Mineworkers Championship earlier this year in Skegness, it was timely return to high class form, as the Scotsman claimed his second Area success with the band.

Major challenge

Speaking to 4BR, the winning MD was delighted to have reclaimed the Midlands title.

"I’m very pleased with that performance. That was more like the Desford that can go on and challenge for the major titles."

Urban myth

Russell also took the opportunity to dispel a few of the urban myths about the band too.

"They do work hard for their success," he added. "It’s an intensive preparation which I for one enjoy. There are not too many bands that can give you four hours of absolute 100% focussed working the night before and two hours on the morning of a major contest to really bring everything into place.

These are very fine musicians who work in a very intelligent way."


Russell did reveal though that it wouldn’t be a Desford performance without that little extra element of the unexpected.

"There is always that element of excitement with the band that does come with the way they work. We did have a couple of unforced slips on stage, but it was a very satisfying performance to direct."

Plenty to think about

The adjudicators took close on 20 minutes in reaching their decision in the box, although the movement’s two most experienced judges David Read and Derek Broadbent did have plenty to think about as David later told 4BR.

"There were three very close performances to choose between. We decided on the winner without too many problems, but we really had to give a great deal of thought over who came second.

I have to say, it was perhaps one of the hardest decisions Derek and I have had to make together. There the smallest of margins between them in the end."

Jag join

Joining them in Kensington in October will be Jaguar Land Rover, after Dave Lea’s persuasive interpretation caught the ear of David Read and Derek Broadbent in the box at the Civic Hall. It is the first time the band has qualified for the Finals since 2006.

Obvious delight

His delight was obvious when he spoke to 4BR, although he did emphasis that he felt it was a result that made been coming for a while.

"We have been making real progress over the last two years, playing with consistency and confidence on the contest stage.

We’ve got a settled personnel, a great spirit in the band and a self belief that we can go on from here and make a real impression at the Grand Shield."

"I know it was a close call from the judges, but I think we fully deserved to qualify in this occasion," he added. "It’s great to get back to London, so now we can really go all out on trying to get to the British Open."


The unlucky band on this occasion was Virtuosi GUS, who failed in their bid to make it back to London with a hat-trick of Area titles to their name, despite John Berryman leading them in a precise, structured performance.

The remaining top six places went to last year’s runner up, Thoresby Colliery, with Sovereign Brass in fifth and Derwent Brass in sixth.

There were three very close performances to choose between. We decided on the winner without too many problems, but we really had to give a great deal of thought over who came secondDavid Read

First Section:

There was a clear winner in the First Section as Ratby Co-operative delivered a high class account of ‘Mountain Views’ under the direction of Michael Fowles to head back to Cheltenham for a second successive year.

Work harder

The winning MD revealed that despite the transparent nature of the test piece, he had to working harder than he perhaps expected to secure the victory.

"When I first got the score it didn’t look that hard, but the more we delved into it the more I realised this was going to take a great deal of thought and hard graft to get right."

Thankfully his band was more than willing to put in the hours of detailed rehearsal to return to Cheltenham for a second bite at the First Section National title.


"The players really understood what was needed," he added. "The more we put in the more we got out of the piece, so by the time we took to the stage we were confident we could produce a winning performance."

That was confirmed by the remarks given to the band by adjudicators Derek Broadbent and Peter Bassano.

"They were very complimentary not only about the technical execution but also the musicality we managed to bring out of the score. That was really satisfying to read," Mike added.


In what was a reversal of last year’s result, Ratby will be joined by 2011 champion Phoenix West Midlands conducted by Trevor Jones, whilst the third qualification place was claimed by a delighted Foresters Brass 2000 who posted their highest ever finish in the First Section under the baton of Peter Collins.

Just missing out was Hathern Brass in fourth, whilst the remaining top six places were taken by Kibworth and Bedworth Brass.

Second Section:

Bilton Silver (Rugby) set a marker that couldn’t be beaten off the number 1 draw in the Second Section as David Stowell led last year’s runner up back to Cheltenham with a high quality performance of Goff Richards’ demanding ‘Cross Patonce’.

Fantastic job

Bilton’s secretary Hannah Bowles told 4BR that the players had yet to come down from cloud nine following their win off the number 1 draw.

"David Stowell did a fantastic job and we knew it would be a performance that was going to take some beating as we walked off stage. He really instilled the confidence in us.

We are still on cloud nine after winning the title and getting back to Cheltenham."


Hannah also added that a great deal of the credit for the victory went to resident conductor Mark Allen who took over the solo horn duties to allow David to added that extra polish to their contest performance.

"Mark is a great musician and more than happy to use his experience on horn to give the band a further boost. His work was invaluable in preparing the piece."

Early qualifiers

Adjudicators Malcolm Brownbill and Barry Thompson found their two qualifiers off the number 1 and 2 draws as Bilton will be joined there by the in-form Shirebrook Miners Welfare.

Mark Wilcockson and his band built on their recent podium finish at Butlins to head to the National Finals for the second time in three years.


Malcolm Brownbill told 4BR: "The winners were excellent and the second placed band wasn’t that far behind. After that there was a small batch of bands together, but we had no problems in finding the winners and qualifiers."

He added: "They both produced performances full of musical flow, good dynamic contrasts and the right style – especially in the opening movement, which is marked ‘Allegretto con spirito’ and caused quite a few problems on the day."

Solid miss

Just missing out on this occasion was ‘a solid performance’ as Malcolm referred to it, from Raunds Temperance in third place, with the remaining top six places taken by Wigston, Bakewell and Amington.

Third Section:

There was an Area ‘Double’ for Daventry Brass in the Third Section as Bob Stradling led his band back to Cheltenham for the second year in a row thanks to gold medal winning performance of the set work, ‘Olympus’.


Band Chairman Ken Ewer told 4BR that to win the Area title for two years in succession was something his band was very proud of, especially as the band had to rebuild somewhat towards the end of last year under new MD, Bob Stradling.

"Bob may be a proud Welshman, but he’s lived close to the bandroom for over 30 years now, so it was great that he decided to come and conduct us last October.

We have rebuilt somewhat since then, but his enthusiasm and experience has had a huge effect on the players and this win really was a result of everyone giving 100% to the Daventry cause."


With the band now facing promotion to the Second Section, Ken is confident they can improve on last year’s Cheltenham result too.

"We came 14th last year and enjoyed the experience, but I think if we can play as well as this again, we might even be in with a chance of the title."

Malcolm Brownbill and Barry Thompson were certainly impressed by the standard of the three bands that they sent to the Finals.


"The first two bands were clear with a fine third placed one close behind," Malcolm told 4BR.

"The winners really brought a great deal of music out of the score, especially in the slow movement which was really well delivered and directed."


Long Eaton Silver lived up to its name by coming second under Sharon Stansfield to claim a Finals place for the first time since 2006.

"Theirs was a performance of real merit," Malcolm added. "It didn’t quite have the extra polish of the winners, but it was a very fine account."

Ibstock delight

There was also delight for Ibstock Brick Brass, after the disappointment of two years of successive relegations was stopped in its tracks by a fine qualification performance under the baton of Huw Thomas.

Fourth place went to City of Birmingham, with the remaining top six places taken by West Mercia Police and Arrow Valley.

Fourth Section:

A high enjoyable Fourth Section contest full fine renditions of ‘English Folk Song Suite’ was won for a second successive year thanks to an outstanding performance by Burbage (Buxton) conducted by Steve Critchlow.

Hard work

Steve later told 4BR that the win had been the product of a great deal of hard work and plenty of homework on the test piece.

"We knew we had to play well if we were to repeat our win, especially against such a big field of rivals," he said.

"I couldn’t have asked for anything more from the players. We are not usually a contesting band as we concentrate on doing around 25 concerts a year, but we enjoy the Area contest atmosphere and it gives us the chance to really knuckle down to concentrated hard work."


He added: "I made sure I listened to the Sir Adrian Boult recording of the piece and tried to copy what the great man did in terms of style. I think my homework paid off as we had some lovely remarks from the adjudicators Mike Kilroy and Peter Bassano."

Cheltenham is now the band’s next destination. "We’ve got a couple of big local concerts coming up in the near future, so it will be great to show off the trophy once more as we start our fundraising efforts again."

Strong quartet

Burbage will be joined there once more by last year’s runner up, Ireland Colliery Welfare conducted by Ian Knapton, whilst a strong quartet of Midlands challengers will be made up of third placed Newhall conducted by Kevin Holdgate, who qualified for the first time since 2004, and the debutants of Cleobury Mortimer Concert Brass conducted by Mike Amplett.

Great entertainment

The massive 24 band field provided great entertainment for both judges and audience alike at the Nicholas Chamberlaine Technology College, with the final top six places going to Trentham Brass and Melton.

Full results:

Additional comments and thoughts on our twitter site:

Championship Section:
Test Piece: 'The Devil and The Deep Blue Sea' — Derek Bourgeois

Sunday 11th March
The Civic Hall
Adjudicators: David Read & Derek Broadbent

1. Desford Colliery (Russell Gray), (8)*
2. Jaguar Land Rover (Dave Lea), (7)*
3. Virtuoso GUS (John Berryman), (4)
4. Thoresby Colliery (Brian Grant), (11)
5. Sovereign Brass (David Maplestone), (2)
6. Derwent Brass (Keith Leonard), (6)
7. Newstead Brass (Duncan Beckley), (1)
8. Jackfield (Elcock Reisen) (Simon Platford), (5)
9. Gresley Colliery (Gary Wyatt), (3)
10. Oddfellows Brass (Robert Boulter), (10)
11. City of Coventry (Alwyn Green), (8)

* Top two bands qualifiy for National Finals

First Section:
Test Piece: 'Mountain Views' — Bertrand Moren

Saturday 10th March
The Civic Hall
Adjudicators: Derek Broadbent & Peter Bassano

1. Ratby Co-operative (Michael Fowles), 8*
2. Phoenix West Midlands (Trevor Jones), 9*
3. Foresters Brass 2000 (Peter Collins), 14*
4. Hathern (David Newman), 15
5. Kibworth (Iain Rayner), 4
6. Bedworth Brass (J. Glynn), 10
7. Brackley & District (Simon Jones), 13
8. Staffordshire (Nigel Seaman), 18
9. Enderby (Jonathan Mott), 2
10. Blidworth Welfare (Martin Heartfield), 17
11. Harborough (Chris Groom), 7
12. Tintwistle (Sarah Groarke), 6
13. Carlton Brass (Geoff Hawley), 1
14. Leicestershire Co-op (Graham Jacklin), 3
15. Wellington (Telford) (Mark Phillips), 11
16. Shirley (Dave Bishop-Rowe), 12
17. Langley (Cliff Parker), 5
18 Shirland Welfare (Marie Smith), 16

* Top three bands qualify for National Finals

Second Section:
Test Piece: 'Cross Patonce' — Goff Richards

Sunday 11th March
The Civic Hall
Adjudicators: Malcolm Brownbill & Barry Thompson

1. Bilton Silver (Rugby) (David Stowell) (1)*
2. Shirebrook Miners Welfare Unison (Mark Wilcockson) (2)*
3. Raunds Temperance (Robin Norman) (5)
4. Wigston (Garry Sleath) (4)
5. Bakewell Silver (Mark Wilcockson) (10)
6. Amington (Wesley Kendrick) (8)
7. Matlock (Andrew Dennis) (6)
8. Towcester Studio (David Jones) (3)
9. Avonbank (Evesham) (Nick Smith) (7)
10. Foss Dyke (Richard Sandham) (9)

* Top two bands qualify for National Finals

Third Section:
Test Piece: 'Olympus' — Philip Harper

Saturday 10th March
Nicholas Chamberlaine Technology College
Adjudicators: Malcolm Brownbill & Barry Thompson

1. Daventry Brass (Bob Stradling), 10*
2. Long Eaton Silver Prize (Sharon Stansfield), 6*
3. Ibstock Brick Brass (Huw Thomas), 1*
4. City of Birmingham (Warren Belshaw), 5
5. West Mercia Police (Alwyn Green), 14
6. Arrow Valley (Paul White), 7
7. Stourport-on-Severn (Mike West), 4
8. Shipston Town (Howard Gibbs), 11
9. Rushden Town (John Hudson), 13
10. Rolls Royce (Derby)(Graham Cardwell), 3
11. WEM Jubilee (Stephen Gittins), 17
12. Stamford Brass (Robert Prew), 8
13. Hucknall & Linby MC Brass (Paul Whyley), 16
14. Cubbington Silver (Alexander Webb), 12
15. Fairfield (Buxton) (Charles Kitchen), 2
16. Rushden Windmill (Nathan Waterman), 9
17. Croft Silver (Ian Needham), 15

* Top three bands qualify for National Finals

Fourth Section:
Test Piece: 'English Folk Song Suite' — Ralph Vaughan Williams

Sunday 11th March
Nicholas Chamberlaine Technology College
Adjudicators: Peter Bassano & Mike Kilroy

1. Burbage (Buxton) (Steve Critchlow),19*
2. Ireland Colliery Chesterfield (Ian Knapton), 11*
3. Newhall (Kevin Holdgate), 3*
4. Cleobury Mortimer Concert Brass (Mike Amplett), 18*
5. Trentham Brass (Mike Caveney), 7
6. Melton (Graham Sutton), 9
7. Malvern Hills District (Christopher Small), 24
8. University of Warwick (Simon Hogg), 4
9. Bestwood Welfare Black Diamonds (Brian Draper), 8
10. Stone Town (Graham Randle), 23
11. Moulton 77 (Roger Stevens), 22
12. Market Rasen RPC (Alan Needham), 12
13. Syston (Dennis Powell), 21
14. Corby Silver (R. Graves), 2
15. Thoresby Colliery Youth (Christine Lippeatt), 13
16. Coleshill Town (Stephen Fagg), 17
17. Kirkby Colliery Welfare (Steve Berrill), 15
18. Ratby Co-operative Mid (Geoff Newman), 1
19. Burbage Silver (Edwin Stinton), 10
20. Pleasley Colliery Welfare (Keith Buxton), 16
21. Ifton Colliery (Milne Robinson), 20
22. Whitwell (Simon Gresswell), 5
23. Skegness Silver (Stan Lippeatt), 6
24. Audley Brass (Ian Turner), 14

Withdrew: Ilkeston Brass (David Jones)

* Top four bands qualify for National Finals

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