Brassed Off: The contest season

THE FOOTBALL season is half way through and as I write my column, we have the prospect of ‘minnows’ Bradford City playing at Wembley in the League Cup Final, creating one of those ‘misty eyed’ epic finals that we all love to see. 

Oldham Athletic have bagged another dream tie against Liverpool, which will have gone in either team’s favour by now (Can you sense the pessimism from a Latics fan?)

“What does this have to do with Brass Bands?” I hear you ask. Well, football teams have the golden opportunity to create upsets, unfortunately our local bands don’t experience these ‘round by round’ chances.

We have to turn up on the day, hope for a fortunate order of play, give it our best for ten to fifteen minutes, have a pint or two and leave it in the laps of the ‘Gods’ or adjudicators to give them their proper title.

It is a one-shot quest for glory, where everything is at stake. It is a good job that our local bands can rise to the challenge.

Boarshurst Silver have returned from the Butlins Open Brass Band Festival with the Third Section Champions title, repeating their 2012 achievement. All the hard work put in by the players and conductor Dave Ashworth has paid off again and they seem to be turning their Skegness trip into a ‘happy hunting ground’.

Another band certainly enjoying the long journey to Butlins is Mossley, gaining their third Champions title in a row with victory in the Second Section.

Uppermill made their debut in the First section this year, reaching a very impressive Sixth place overall from a strong section of twenty eight bands.

Contest fever continues for some more of our bands this month. The ‘Brass At The Guild’ Contest in Preston (3rd) will see our area represented again, with Greenfield and Dobcross Youth amongst the competing local bands.

The Dobcross youngsters will be returning to the contest stage a week later at the Winter Gardens in Blackpool, for the Action Research Youth Band Entertainment Contest. I’m sure that they will represent Saddleworth in style.

These early events can act as great bank balance boosters or contest warm-ups, while our remaining bands have decided to focus on what is really the main contest of the year, the North West ‘Areas’. This one performance in March is the banding version of all the FA Cup or League Cup rounds.

The prize?  A place at the finals – our ultimate goal.

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