The long trip to Blackpool for the Grand Shield contest, in the hope of opening the door to the British Open is set for a repeat journey next year as Friary was placed 8th out of the field of 20 bands. Band Chairman David Wicks commented: “Although we were well prepared, sadly our performance on the day just didn’t quite match what we’d achieved in rehearsals. It was a good performance, but not an outstanding one which is what we needed to secure one of the top two places to qualify for the Open. We’re disappointed, of course, but at the same time this is our fourth consecutive top ten finish which is certainly no mean achievement.”
As brass band website 4barsrest neatly put it: “The Grand Shield remains arguably the most difficult contest in the banding world to escape from let alone win, with numerous highly competitive top level bands enduring a form of Blackpool purgatory — sometimes years on end before they finally make the trip to Symphony Hall.”
Congratulations to Whitburn, who only the previous weekend competed in the Europeans, and Hepworth who produced the outstanding performances of the day to take first and second, and also our fellow London & Southern Counties band Redbridge. Their fourth place in the Senior Cup means they will compete in next year’s Grand Shield with Friary. Finally, our thanks go to our deps and especially to Nigel Taken. We are most grateful for all his hard work and encouragement on our musical journey to Blackpool.