National Finals: Second Section Runners and Predictions
Published in Contest on 2013-09-13 by Empty Chairs
More news from National Finals
On Saturday September 21st eighteen second section bands will be competing in the National Championship of Great Britain Final.
Glyn Williams and David Hirst will be the adjudicators to listen to Kenneth Downie's “Purcell Variations”. Composed to commemorate the tercentenary of Purcell's death, this piece is based on the hymn tune 'Westminster Abbey' and offers variety, vitality and technical movements.
Bathgate - Scotland
A fifth visit to the finals for the current Fife Brass Band Festival Champions, Bathgate. The West Lothian band is one of the oldest in Scotland. This will be Andy Shaws third contest with the band since taking over the helm this year and they will be hoping for a swift return to the first section.
Bilton Silver (Rugby) – Midlands
Bilton have become regular attenders to the Finals with visits in 2011 and 2012. The current Midlands Area Champions are promoted to the 1st section for 2014 and a string of top quality performances in their Area. Last year they came second in the Finals and are strong contenders for the top spot this year.
Hoover Bolton – North West
A tenth trip to the finals for Hoover Bolton and the fifth in the last ten years. They were 3rd section Finals champions in 2004 and they will be hoping to celebrate their confirmed promotion to the 1st section with another success. Trevor Halliwell, former principle cornet of Wingates, will be at the helm.
Cornerstone – Yorkshire
A first trip to the Finals for the young Cornerstone Brass that was formed in 2008. Becoming Yorkshire champions back in March saw the band promoted to back to the 1st section and there is every chance this Salvation Army offshot can perform well as well at the finals. One to watch.
Elland Silver – Yorkshire
Last year Elland came second in the 3rd Section Finals and they will undoubtibly be hoping to equal (or beat) that result this year. David Essex (the former Black Dyke Horn, not the singer) will be leading them but it will prove hard work is this high quality section to recreate former successes at the first time of asking.
Epsom & Ewell Silver – London & Southern Counties
Epsom are turning the corner after being relegated in 2011 followed by a disappointing result in 2012. Coming second in the areas in March and qualifying for the Finals should have been a big boost to the confidence, and even if they don't win the top spot next weekend they are well placed with a good result in the Areas next year guaranteeing promotion for 2015.
Goodwick Brass - Wales
Another regular attender to the Finals this will be their fourth consecutive visit for the Ebbw Vale, Welsh Area, Blaenavon and Fishguard Champions. With in impressive run of results Matthew Jenkins, former Cory Euphonium, will be confident that the band will be able to shine on the Finals stage.
Hitchin Band – London & Southern Counties
Last years 3rd Section Finals Champions, Hitchen Band, make a swift return to the Finals as London and Southern Counties 2nd Section Champions. If winning is a pattern then the band under the baton of Craig Patterson will be considering themselves in with a great shot of a top place.
City of Cardiff (Melingriffith) 2 – Wales
Promoted to the 2nd section last year the current National Eisteddfod and Miners Welfare Champions secured a Finals appearance with second place. The City of Cardiff Brass Band is an impressive setup, and the oldest band in Wales is also one of the most forward thinking so success in the Finals is quite probable.
Middleton – North West
There was some uncertainty earlier in the year regarding qualifications from the North West Areas. Fourth placed Middleton were finally confirmed as finalists back in April. This will be their fourth visit to the Finals where they have had success being crowned 3rd section champions in 1983 and 2007.
Pendennis Brass Falmouth – West of England
A sixth visit to the Finals for Pendennis. Already promoted to the 1st section for 2014 the band has seen a steady set of results at Weston-super-Mare and Exmouth and the Cornish band will be hoping to take the same calm measured approach to Cheltenham.
Ripon City – North of England
Ripon are another band who are regular Finals attenders. This will be their 16th and 3rd consecutive appearance in the National Championships with the band becoming North of England 2nd Section Champions at the first time of asking.
Swindon Pegasus – West of England
The current West of England 2nd Section Champions have been placed in every contest they have entered since Graeme Lewis took over the baton in 2012. There is no reason to suspect they might not be able to achieve the same again at Cheltenham.
Unison Kinneil – Scotland
The current Scottish Champions take a seventeenth trip to the finals and their first this millennium. There most recent contest outing was to the Senior Trophy as part of the Spring Festival and they will be hoping to take that standard of playing forward to the Finals.
Ware Brass – London and Southern Counties
The first trip to the finals for a decade for Ware brass comes after a fews years of solid results that has seen the band promoted to the 1st section from 2014. Phillip Littlemore has the experience to build a solid performance that could see Ware near the top.
Whitworth Vale & Healey - North West
A third consecutive Finals appearance for Whitworth Vale after securing promotion to the 2nd section last year. The current North West Area and Buxton Festival Champions will be feeling positive about their chances too after finishing fourth on their last two appearances in the 3rd section. With two firsts and a second so far in 2013 Whitworth Vale are one to watch.
Wigston – Midlands
Wigston are promoted to the 1st section from 2014 and their long serving MD Garry Sleath will be confident of another creditable result at the Finals.
York Railway Institute – North of England
For the fourth year running York Railway Institute make an appearance on the Finals stage. Last year they came ninth with a number one draw so this year they will be hoping for a more favourable draw and the chance to better that result. This will be Gordon Eddison's last appearance as musical director with the band and he will be hoping to go out in style.
All the bands in the 2nd section at Cheltenham are on form so picking a top 6 and a winner is tricky business. We will not let that stop us however so we think that Bilton Silver, Cornerstone, Goodwick Brass, Unison Kinneil, Ware Brass and Wigston are going to be up there in the running for a top spot.
If we're going to put our fictional fiver on anyone, well we will plump for Cornerstone but in a field this tight anyone could be in the reckoning.