Let battle to avoid the drop commence!

1 Sep 2015

Newly-promoted Rothwell Temperance and Woodfalls will be immune from relegation this year but both bands will be keen to emulate last year's 'newcomers' - Flowers and Hammonds Saltaire - and achieve a result that would virtually guarantee their British Open place beyond next year.  Flowers and Hammonds both placed in the top-6 last year and, barring an incredible result this year, will be safe from relegation for at least one more year.

It's a different story for those bands that found least favour with the adjudicators last year, including Co-operative Funeralcare, this year making a 25th consecutive appearance (with five top-4 placings in this spell to boot).  Past form is largely irrelevant though and Co-op will need to put in a very good performance if they are to avoid a debut trip to Blackpool for the Grand Shield next year (having previously qualified in the Free Trade Hall, Manchester in 1988, and then as special invitees as National Champions in 1991).

This year's and last year's placings will be added together and the two bands with the highest aggregates are likely to receive an invitation to next year's Grand Shield!  Here is the bottom end of the table, showing placings from last year, to which this year's placing will be added.

11  Leyland
12  Milnrow
15  Co-operative Funeralcare
16  Carlton Main Frickley Colliery
17  Kirkintilloch

It is most probable that the two bands relegated will be from the five shown above but 'great escapes' have happened before (see below).  Based on their respective current rankings, the bands in pole position for relegation this year are Kirkintilloch and, by the narrowest of margins from the other three, Leyland.

Recent history suggests that a combined placings tally of less than 30 will be needed to survive - perhaps no more than about 27 or 28 - but it's not an exact science as demonstrated below (relegated bands each year shown in red).  Bands indicated '*' are those that were in 'pole position' for relegation prior to the contest.

Some examples of noteable (miraculous?) 'escapes' in recent years are Carlton Main (15th in 2009, then 8th in 2010), Co-operative Funeralcare (14th in 2011, then 7th in 2012) and, pride of place, Tredegar (15th in 2012, then 1st in 2013)

24  Carlton Main Frickley Colliery
24  Kirkintilloch
25  Milnrow
26  Leyland *
26  Hepworth
27  Virtuosi GUS *

20  Carlton Main Frickley Colliery
20  Desford Colliery
21  Leyland
22  Virtuosi GUS
23  Hepworth
30  Beaumaris
32  Reg Vardy *

26  Hepworth
29  Reg Vardy
29  Rothwell Temperance
30  Kirkintilloch *

21  Virtuosi (GUS)
22  Leyland
25  Co-operative Funeralcare
30  Hepworth (Cookson Homes) *
31  Tongwynlais Temperance *

23  Carlton Main Frickley Colliery
25  Hepworth (Cookson Homes)
26  Virtuosi (GUS)
26  Kirkintilloch
32  Whitburn *

26  Fairey *
26  Whitburn
28  Hammonds Saltaire *
30  BTM

22  Fairey
23  Kirkintilloch *
25  Scottish Co-op
26  YBS
26  Rothwell Temperance
29  Flowers *
plus Sellers International (defunct)

23  Brighouse & Rastrick
23  Rothwell Temperance
25  Kirkintilloch
30  Reg Vardy *
31  Aveley & Newham *

26  Reg Vardy
29  Sellers International *
35  Ashton-under-Lyne *
36  Yorkshire Imperial Urquhart Travel

21  Grimethorpe Colliery (UK Coal)
22  Desford Colliery
23  Whitburn
35  Tredegar *

26  Yorkshire Imperial Urquhart Travel
27  Grimethorpe Colliery (UK Coal)
27  Tredegar
31  Cwmaman Institute *
34  Carlton Main Frickley Colliery *

21  Cwmaman Institute
23  Kirkintilloch
23  Ever Ready *
25  Besses o' th' Barn
25  Leyland
32  Travelsphere Holidays *

27  Travelsphere Holidays
27  Ever Ready
28  Kirkintilloch *
31  CWS (Glasgow)
36  Carlton Main Frickley Colliery *
38  Glossop Old *
plus Todmorden Old (defunct)