Report & Results: 2019 NWABBA Rochdale Contest

Oldham Band (Lees) lead the prize winners at the popular NWABBA Rochdale contest with wins for Diggle, Hade Edge, Whitworth Vale & Healey and Tewit Silver

  Oldham Band (Lees) led the prize winners at Rochdale Town Hall on the weekend.

There were a series entertaining battles between ambitious bands in the ornate surroundings of Rochdale Town Hall at the popular NWABBA contest.

The prize winners were headed by Oldham Band (Less) under MD John Collins, who took the Championship Section honours, the £450 first prize and Charles Fradley Memorial Cup, thanks to an excellent rendition of Peter Graham's former Royal Albert Hall test-piece, 'On Alderley Edge'.


It certainly impressed adjudicator Andrea Price, who called it "a performance to be proud of"as they beat off the strong challenge of rivals Shepherd Group Brass playing 'Tallis Variations' with Freckleton's 'Paganini Variations' in third.

Oldham's principal cornet Alan Hobbins also took the 'Best Instrumentalist' award with their 'Best Percussion' section also getting in on the silverware.

On their Facebook page, the band stated: "We went out to challenge ourselves on a piece and to improve as a band, and that we did. Well done to everyone involved and to our very own Alan Hobbins and percussion team!"


There was plenty of musical ambition on show in the First Section, with Alan Widdop drawing on his years of contest experience by leading Diggle to the Jack Milburn Memorial Shield and £450 first prize with a cultured rendition of Percy Fletcher's 'Epic Symphony'.

The band's principal cornet Mike McLean took the 'Best Instrumentalist' award for his fine individual contribution as they took the honours ahead of Lindley playing 'Land of the Long White Cloud' and Flixton's rendition of 'Legacy'.

Keen battle

Six bands took to the stage in a keenly fought Second Section battle, with Hade Edge carrying on their excellent 2019 form by claiming the Watney Championship Trophy and £450 with a fine victory under conductor Chris Binns playing 'Tallis Variations'.

Flugel player Sally Crago took the 'Best Instrumentalist' award for her outstanding playing as Diggle repelled the challenge of rivals Meltham & Meltham Mills performing the 2020 Butlins test-piece 'Goldhopiggen', with Besses o' th' Barn taking third with 'Essay'.


Chris Binns certainly enjoyed his day out in Rochdale as earlier he led Whitworth Vale & Healey to success in the Third Section — continuing their tremendous run of 2019 form that has also seen them win at Buxton and Bolsover.

Their well structured account of Gilbert Vinter's rarely heard 'Vizcaya' saw them claim the A&J Trophy and £450 first prize ahead of Pilling Jubilee Silver's 'Henry the Fifth' with Eccleston Brass in third playing 'Renaissance'.

Cleethorpe's euphonium player Rob West took the 'Best Instrumentalist' award for his fine playing in their performance of 'The Mermaid of Zennor'.


It was particularly encouraging to see seven bands play seven different works in the Fourth Section.

However, it was National Champion Tewit Silver who maintained their remarkable unbeaten 2019 contesting record (five wins out of five) under MD Martin Hall with a cracking reprise of their Cheltenham winning 'Beecher Variations'.

Second place went to Dobcross Silver's super rendition of 'Music from Kantara' with Skelmersdale's 'Kaleidoscope' gaining third. Dobcross euphonium player Brent Warren took the 'Best Instrumentalist' award.

It was another excellently run day at Rochdale by the contest organisers, with the event now becoming a hugely popular fixture in the autumn contesting calendar.

We went out to challenge ourselves on a piece and to improve as a band, and that we didOldham Band (Lees)

Championship Section:

Adjudicator: Andrea Price

1. Oldham Band (Lees) (John Collins)
2. Shepherd Group (Richard Wilton)
3. Freckleton (Matt Shaw)

Best Instrumentalist: Alan Hobbins (principal cornet) — Oldham Band (Lees)
Highest Placed NWABBA Member Band: Oldham Band (Lees)
Best Percussion (Championship/First Section): Oldham Band (Lees)

First Section:

Adjudicator: Andrea Price

1. Diggle (Alan Widdop)
2. Lindley (Mike Golding)
3. Flixton (Matthew Ryan)
4. Middleton (Kevin Gibbs)
5. Crewe Brass (Matt Pithers)

Best Instrumentalist: Mike McLean (principal cornet) — Diggle
Highest Placed NWABBA Member Band: Diggle

Second Section:

Adjudicator: Andrea Price

1. Hade Edge (Chris Binns)
2. Meltham & Meltham Mills (Tom Haslam)
3. Besses o'th' Barn (Trevor Halliwell)
4. Delph (Phil Goodwin)
5. Allerton Brass (Adam Taylor)
6. Blackpool Brass (Max Stannard)

Best Instrumentalist: Sally Crago (flugel) — Hade Edge
Highest Placed NWABBA Member Band: Besses o'th' Barn

Third Section:

Adjudicator: David Ashworth

1. Whitworth Vale & Healey (Chris Binns)
2. Pilling Jubilee Silver (Steve Hartley)
3. Eccleston Brass (John Wood)
4. Stalybridge Old (James Atkins)
5. Cleethorpes (Brian Harper)
6. Golborne (Joshua Hughes)
7. Greenalls (James Hall)

Best Instrumentalist: Rob West (euphonium) — Cleethorpes
Highest Placed NWABBA Member Band: Whitworth Vale & Healey

Fourth Section:

Adjudicator: David Ashworth

1. Tewit Silver (Martin Hall)
2. Dobcross Silver (Jason Smith)
3. Skelmersdale (Ben Coulson)
4. Blackley (Adrian Smith)
5. Cadishead Public (David Holland)
6. St John's Band Mossley (Paul Towle)
7. Fairfield (Buxton) (Simon Lewis)

Best Instrumentalist: Brent Warren (euphonium) — Dobcross Silver
Highest Placed NWABBA Member Band: Dobcross Silver

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