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Report & Results: 2014 NWABBA Rochdale Contest

The welcome return to contesting at Rochdale Town Hall sees Milnrow claim the honours with section awards to Hazel Grove, Stalybridge Old, Pilling Silver Jubilee.



Brass band contesting returned to Rochdale Town Hall in splendid style on the weekend, as 27 competitors provided excellent own choice test piece entertainment for a large, supportive audience.

Polished Milnrow

In the joint Championship/First Section, a polished reprise off the number 1 draw of the recent British Open set work, ‘Vita Aeterna Variations’ saw Milnrow claim the £450 first prize under the baton of conductor Mark Bentham.

Solo euphonium player Mike Morris picked up the ‘Best Instrumentalist’ award for his fine individual contribution, as the North West band showed its quality in repelling the strong challenge of Skelmanthorpe’s confident rendition of ‘Dances & Alleluias’ and Pemberton’s atmospheric ‘Journey to the Centre of the Earth’.

In what proved to be an enjoyable contest, other eclectic choices from the competitors included major works from the likes of Edward Gregson, Philip Wilby and George Lloyd.

Resurgent Hazel Grove

In the Second Section, a resurgent Hazel Grove picked up its third victory in four contest outings by claiming the £450 first prize with a full blooded rendition of Philip Sparke’s ‘The Saga of Haakon the Good’.

It proved to be a great day for the Beasley family with Nigel leading the band with the baton and with Gareth taking the ‘Best Instrumentalist’ award for his fine euphonium contribution.

There were a number of well directed performances for adjudicator Andrew Warriner to enjoy, with Skelmanthorpe’s ‘Kingdom of Dragons’, pipping Besses Boy’s ‘Blazon’ to come runner-up.

Long overdue Stalybridge

There was a long overdue return to the winner’s enclosure for Stalybridge Old in the Third Section, as one of the oldest bands in the UK benefitted from the vast experience of MD David Ashworth and his interpretation of the iconic test piece, ‘Labour & Love’.

It proved good enough to repel the strong challenge of National Finalists Dinnington Colliery, who performed ‘Between the Two Rivers’, with the improving Slaithwaite claiming another podium finish with their performance of ‘Rhapsody in Brass’.

Pilling double

There was as second successive contest victory for Pilling Jubilee Silver as the North West band delivered a regal ‘Henry V’ to claim the Fourth Section crown and £450 first prize.

Under the direction of Len Charnock, and with soprano player Ben Duke taking the ‘Best Instrumentalist’ award, they also managed to repel the excellent efforts from podium finishers Greenfield and Sale Brass, both of who chose to play ‘The Dark Side of the Moon’.


The contest day was also hailed as a huge success by the organisers, who were delighted at the support shown by the competing bands, as well as the enthusiastic response from an audience, who were equally pleased to see the Rochdale contest return for the first time since 2000.

Chairman Richard Milton told 4BR: “We couldn’t have asked for anything better, and our thanks go to the bands and supporters for making it such an encouraging return to a great contest venue.

We have already got a provisional date in the diary for 2015 and plans for a sustainable future for the contest, so watch out for more news.”


Championship/First Section:

Adjudicator: Ian Brownbill

1. Milnrow (Mark Bentham)
2. Skelmanthorpe (Martin Hall)
3. Pemberton Old DW Wigan (Stig Maersk)
4. Longridge (Mark Peacock)
5. Wardle Anderson Brass (Steven Walsh)
6. Whitworth Vale & Healey (John Binns)
7. Diggle (Alan Wycherley)
8. Haslingden & Helmshore (David Holland)

Highest placed First Section Band: Longridge
Highest placed NWABBA Member Band: Milnrow
Best Instrumentalist: Mike Morris (euphonium) Milnrow

Second Section:

Adjudicator: Andrew Warriner

1. Hazel Grove (Nigel Beasley)
2. Skelmanthorpe Prospect (Philip Garlick)
3. Besses Boys (James Holt)
4. Pemberton Old Wigan DW 'B' (Peter Ashley)
5. Delph (Jonathan Davies)
6. Middleton (Martyn Evans)

Highest placed NWABBA Member Band: Hazel Grove
Best Instrumentalist: Gareth Beasley (euphonium) Hazel Grove

Third Section:

Adjudicator: Ian Brownbill

1. Stalybridge Old (David W. Ashworth)
2. Dinnington Colliery (Jonathan Beatty)
3. Slaithwaite (Rob Westacott)
4. Parr St Helens (John Ludden)
5. Lostock Hall Memorial (Brian Harper)
6. Littleborough (Adrian Woodhead)
7. Lofthouse 2000 (Andrew Whitaker)

Highest placed NWABBA Member Band: Stalybridge
Best Instrumentalist: (cornet) Stalybridge

Fourth Section:

Adjudicator: Andrew Warriner

1. Pilling Jubilee Silver (Len Charnock)
2. Greenfield (Tom Haslam)
3. Sale Brass (Joshua Hughes)
4. Blackley (Daniel Price)
5. Denton Brass (Matthew Bailey)
6. Skelmersdale Prize (David Chapman)

Highest placed NWABBA Member Band: Pilling Jubilee Silver
Best Instrumentalist: Ben Duke (soprano) Pilling Jubilee Silver

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