Friary Guildford Band maintained their iron grip on the silverware at the Southern Counties Amateur Bands’ Association Solo, Quartet and Ensemble contest at Burgess Hill on Saturday, winning both the Quartet and Ensemble classes for the fifth successive year. ‘We know that there was some determined opposition, bent on taking the titles away from us,’ explained Band Chairman, Nigel Stevens, ‘But we managed to pull it off once again.’ In the Open Solo classes, it was Friary all the way again, with newlyweds Lauren Straker (flugel horn) picking up first place for the Slow Melody with a superb rendition of Body & Soul, and Richard Straker (cornet) taking the Air Varie prize with Hejre Kati, closely followed by Richard’s brother Chris (euphonium) who took second place. Friary players have won both Open Solo classes since their inception five years ago. Trombonist Roland Knight, a Friary stalwart, took 6th place in the Air Varie class. Pianist Lynda Cole was praised by Solo Class adjudicator Nick Garman for accompanying over twenty solos during a long day of playing. Friary Guildford are now working hard on their preparations for the London & Southern Counties Regional Championships, to be held at Stevenage on 16th March. They will be hoping to maintain or improve on last year’s second place and earn a place in the National Finals at the Royal Albert Hall in the autumn for the second year running.