Doncaster band to appeal brass band contest disqualification

A Doncaster brass band has hit the wrong note after being disqualified from a prestigious brass band contest.

Hatfield Band was kicked out of the Yorkshire Regional Brass Band Championships for fielding an unregistered player - along with the famed Black Dyke Band which also ran into trouble at the contest in Bradford earlier this month.

But although already having had one appeal rejected, the band is determined to clear its name.

Hatfield spokesman Dr Robert Brown said: “The band have had a turbulent and difficult few years. A decision such as this could have long term repercussions and lead to people leaving the band. We are determined to appeal the decision.”

The Yorkshire Committee issued a statement earlier this week which said: “Following the Yorkshire Regional Championships on March 7/8 the Regional Committee found it necessary to look into possible discrepancies with regard to player registration with two competing bands.

“After investigation, both bands were found to be in contravention of rule 9(a) of the National Rules of the National Brass Band Championships of Great Britain and were notified of their disqualification from the regional championships.

“Both bands lodged an appeal which were heard by the Regional Committee on March 21.

“The appeals were not allowed and therefore Black Dyke Band are disqualified from the Championship Section contest and Hatfield Band are disqualified from the First Section contest of the Yorkshire Regional Championships 2015.”

Peggy Tomlinson, regional secretary, said: “This is a most regrettable situation for all concerned.

“I can only hope that this serves as a stark reminder to all bands to double check player registrations well before contest day, giving time to rectify any problems, and making sure they are in order.”

Dr Brown said the band had recovered from the death of long-serving conductor Graham O’Connor and losing several key players to see the band qualify for the National Championships in Cheltenham last autumn.

He said: “The band put in a very good performance and had had a very good year. They are well on course for returning to their former glory.”

At the Yorkshire contest at Bradford’s St George’s Hall, Hatfield finished in third place in the First Section - the second level of brass banding - enough to secure promotion to the Championship section, the “Premiership” of the brass band world.

But after being kicked out, they have been told they will remain in the section they are in - and could be demoted further if results go against them in future competitions.

Added Dr Brown: “Getting promoted would have put the band in a position to attract sponsorship and better players. Now we are in the position where players could leave.

“The rule we have broken is a very broad rule and although we understand that rules are rules, we feel that in this case, its not black and white.”

The band are presenting their evidence to the organisers of the National Brass Band Championships in a bid to see the decision reversed.

Added Dr Brown: “We want them to look at all the evidence we will be presenting them with before a judgement is made.”