Despite ricking his back with such a crack that he had to have a helping hand to get onto the stage, MD Lee Skipsey still retained enough movement in his arms to direct City of Bradford to a well-deserved title defence success in the top section at the Brass at the Guild contest.
And much like the treatment he will no doubt seek from an osteopath this coming week, he will also enjoy the upwardly mobile improvement his band can still make on Ray Steadman-Allen's 'Seascapes' before they return to contesting action at the Yorkshire Area in a few weeks time.
Here they were good value for their win against opposition that they not only face again in Huddersfield, but also from contenders from the Midlands, the North West and Scotland. Perhaps Lee may be able to persuade the band treasurer to use part of the £400 first prize for a quick soothing massage before rehearsals.
It was good to hear the constructive pre-results remarks from adjudicator Sandy Smith — ones that emphasised the current stage of contest readiness competitors were in some four or five weeks before their Area appearances. As Sandy made clear, these should be used as a preparatory aid for those events. If they do, some of these bands could well surprise a few pre-contest favourites.
City of Bradford will know that they will need to polish areas of balance and intonation of they are to once again seek another Albert Hall qualification place, whilst the same goes for the solid runner-up Thoresby.
The top two also shared the individual awards — with Elizabeth Pearce of Thoresby becoming the first recipient of the Darrol Barry Trophy, presented by Rachael Barry in memory of her much missed and respected husband.
And whilst Strata Brass won't be able to call on the services of Gary Curtin for their Yorkshire Area appearance, they will have taken great encouragement at the confidence displayed in coming third and claiming the qualification place on offer for the Senior Trophy in Blackpool.
Others will also know that the next month or so will need greater in-depth scrutiny of a work that makes serious ensemble demands. All though — from Oldham (Lees) to Johnstone, are in pretty decent shape.
One band that will certainly be looking forward to their Area appearance will be Longridge, after they secured the First Section honours with a rendition of 'Symphony of Marches' that had already had the hallmarks of detailed preparation and understanding from their experienced MD Mark Peacock.
It enabled the North West band to claim the title and £400 first prize ahead of well-directed accounts from podium finishers Roberts Bakery and Hatfield & Askern Colliery, whilst behind them, as Sandy Smith accurately observed, came a series of contenders at various levels of encouraging pre-Area progress.
Earlier in the day there was a long overdue success for Poulton-le-Fylde, as under MD Alex Webb they secured their first victory since 2010 with a fine rendition of the Area set-work, 'Rise of the Phoenix'. It enabled them to end just ahead of well worked accounts from Blackpool Brass and BD1 Brass, who claimed the individual awards between them.
There was to be no hat-trick victory for Eccleston Brass in the Third Section, as on this occasion the North West outfit could only manage a disappointing seventh place as the title (and 'Best Soloist' award) headed into the hands of a rejuvenated Pilling Silver Jubilee.
It was their first success under MD Steve Hartley, and their first contest win since 2016, as they now head to Blackpool buoyed with confidence. Just behind them came Yorkshire's hard-working Emley Brass (who picked up the three individual awards), with a delighted City of Chester in third.
In the Fourth Section it was an impressive Skelmersdale Prize who returned to the top-step of the winner's podium for the first time since their win here in 2015 — aided by a clean sweep of all the individual awards.
Ben Coulsen and his band will be hoping that now proves to be a good omen for the Winter Gardens in a few weeks time, as the last time they qualified for the National Finals was following that success.
Rode Hall Silver maintained their recent run of good contest form as they ended runner-up, whilst Red Admiral Academy served notice that they could well be a band to watch out for at Blackpool as they came third on their senior contesting debut.
Excellent youth battle
With senior outfits marking their territory with their test-piece performances, it was left to eight super youth bands to strut their stuff in the Charter Theatre with their 20-minute programmes.
In the end it was a battle of excellence between two of the UKs finest youth ensembles who will also be heading to the European Championships in Montreux in April.
Youth Brass were aiming for a remarkable sixth title win in a row under Chirs Jeans, but on this occasion Samantha Harrison and her Yorkshire band pipped their Midlands rivals to take the Eric Lindsay Trophy and £400 first prize.
Both however were on well-drilled form, as was third placed Macclesfield Youth, whilst the judges spoke of their delight at the overall standard of playing on show from all the competitors.
Each took a great deal of encouragement from their performances — with a special note reserved for Thomas Robinson aged 7, who took the 'Youngest Player Accolade' and the young timp player from Houghton Area Youth.
According to the organisers they were told that as the band didn't have a set of timps to rehearse on he usually played floor toms, so his performance (and joy) at finally playing a set on stage was obvious. Hopefully he will get the chance to do it again many more times in the future.
Due to some unfortunate delays early in the day, the contest did run over, with the organisers took the opportunity to thank the bands and audience for their patience and goodwill on what is usually an event that runs like clockwork.
And much like the treatment he will no doubt seek from an osteopath this coming week, he will also enjoy the upwardly mobile improvement his band can still make on Ray Steadman-Allen's 'Seascapes'4BR
Adjudicator: Sandy Smith
1. City of Bradford (Lee Skipsey)
2. Thoresby Colliery (Ian McElligott)
3. Strata Brass (Jonathan Bates)
4. Oldham (Lees) (John Collins)
5. Skelmanthorpe (Martin Heartfield)
6. Freckleton (John Pearson)
7. Foresters Brass (John Davis)
8. Johnstone (Lynda Nicholson)
Withdrawn: Wardle Anderson Brass (Sean Conway)
Spring Festival invitation: Strata Brass
Best Soloist: George Newbould (cornet) — Thoresby Colliery
Best Basses: City of Bradford
Best Trombone: Elizabeth Pearce (Thoresby Colliery)
Best Euphonium: Jolyon Stead (City of Bradford)
Adjudicator: Sandy Smith
1. Longridge (Mark Peacock)
2. Roberts Bakery (Paul Lovatt-Cooper)
3. Hatfield &Askern Colliery (Stanley Lippeatt)
4. BTM (Jeff Hutcherson)
5. Haslingden & Helmshore (John Binns)
6. Mossley (Duncan Byers)
7. J36 Brass (TBA)
8. Ripon City (Mark Sidwell)
9. Flixton (Matthew Ryan)
10. Middleton (Kevin Gibbs)
Best Soloist: Gareth Nelson (euphonium) — Longridge
Best Soprano: Will Morley (Roberts Bakery)
Best Basses: Longridge
Adjudicator: Dave Lea
1. Poulton-le-Fylde (Alex Webb)
2. Delph (Jonathan Davies)
3. Blackpool Brass (Len Charnock)
4. BD1 Brass (Lee Skipsey)
5. Pemberton Old Wigan DW B (Mike Goulding)
6. Ireland Colliery Chesterfield (Lindon Bolt)
7. Hazel Grove (Nigel Beasley)
Best Soloist: BD1
Best Basses: Blackpool Brass
Best Horn: (flugel) — BD1
Adjudicator: Brian Rostron
1. Pilling Jubilee Silver (Steve Hartley)
2. Emley Brass (Garry Hallas)
3. City of Chester (Matthew Birkett)
4. Audley Brass (Tom Hancock)
5. Huddersfield & Ripponden Brass (Adam Bell)
6. Thornton Cleveleys (Stephen Craig)
7. Eccleston Brass (John Wood)
8. Lostock Hall Memorial (Joshua Hughes)
Best Soloist: Pilling Jubilee Silver
Best Percussion: Emley Brass
Best Horn: Pilling Silver Jubilee
Best Trombone: Emley Brass (bass trombone)
Best Basses: Emley Brass
Adjudicator: Brian Rostron
1. Skelmersdale Prize (Ben Coulson)
2. Rode Hall Silver (Nigel Butler)
3. Red Admiral Brass (Stuart Barton)
4. Brindle (Matthew Balson)
5. Stacksteads (Fred Bowker)
6. Dobcross Youth (Matt Hindle)
Best Soloist: Skelmersdale Prize
Best Euphonium: Skelmersdale Prize
Best Basses: Skelmersdale Prize
Youngest Player: Emma Naylor (Dobcross Youth)
The British Open Youth at the Guild Festival:
Adjudicators: Ryan Breen & Helen Varley
1. Elland Silver Youth (Samantha Harrison)
2. Youth Brass 2000 (Chris Jeans)
3. Macclesfield Youth (Louise Renshaw)
4. Red Admiral Youth (Daniel Brooks)
5. Oldham Music Centre Youth (Jonathan Leedale)
6. Enderby Youth Band (Trevor Hounsome)
7. Poynton Youth (Michael Eccles)
8. Houghton Area Youth (Brian Adams)
Best Soloist: Solo cornet (Red Admiral Youth)
Best Horn: Oldham Music Centre Youth
Youngest Player: Thomas Robinson (Red Admiral Youth) — aged 7