Lets re-organize the Areas

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by stevetrom, Sep 7, 2011.

  1. stevetrom

    stevetrom Well-Known Member

    As I have far too much time on my hands I decided to look at the Area contest (a subject we all love to complain about).

    Inspired by Bishop's Stortford being placed into the Conference North (http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/eng_conf/conference_north_table/default.stm) I wondered if we should re-organize the sections & Area contest radically.

    Based on this years results the number of band competing was:
    Championship - 85
    1st Section - 92
    2nd Section - 101
    3rd Section - 88
    4th Section - 111
    Total - 477

    We all want to play in good contest so if the number of bands in each section was set to:
    Championship - 10
    1st Section - 11
    2nd Section - 12
    3rd Section - 13
    4th Section - 14
    Total - 480

    Re-grade all bands based on 4BarRest world rankings (http://www.4barsrest.com/rankings/system.asp I am sure this extends down to cover all contesting bands) and then assign bands to 8 regional contests based initially on bands stating which contest they would prefer to attend with any adjustments required resolved geographically (http://brassbandresults.co.uk/map/)

    According to my maths the number of bands changing section would be 30 out of 477 (6%) :
    Championship to 1st - 5
    1st to 2nd - 9
    2nd to 3rd - 14
    3rd to 4th - 0
    4th to 3rd - 2

    I know there would be some pain (I'm pretty sure my own band would be relegated) and some extra travelling expense, but surely it would be worth it for all bands to play in Area contests with a reasonable number of bands who are of the same standard.
  2. P_S_Price

    P_S_Price Member

    Which of these Turkeys then are going to Vote for Christmas (Beyond your own)?
  3. stevetrom

    stevetrom Well-Known Member

    They don't vote, they just get told
  4. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    I don't trust the 4BR rankings much at all outside the top few. Far too much error based on input parameters and limitations of the method.

    We'll do as an example - for years when we had a band that performed reasonably well in the championship section, they consistently rated us in the 180s and 190s, below many lower section bands from stronger areas (and when I say "lower section", there were 2nd and 3rd section bands well above us). We were deservedly relegated to the 1st section at the start of this year, after a couple of years of struggling to maintain a true championship standard, but the last contesting thing we did before relegation was to win the open section at Leicester last year, beating several bands who hold significant rankings points. This bumped us up to the giddy heights of about 110th, something we'd not bettered for about 10 years.

    Thus using their rankings would have resulted in a band of championship standard being assigned to the 2nd section and a band of 1st section standard being assigned (correctly) to the top of the 1st section.

    More generally, the problem with these and other rankings is that it is easier for bands that regularly compete against bands that already have points to obtain points. Those bands at the top of the tree work out quite accurately irrespective of geography because they regularly compete against the rest of the best, but those on the tiers below the top are geographically isolated in a contesting sense. If a L&SC, Midlands, WoE, NoE or Scottish band were based in Yorkshire, NW or Wales, they would be valued higher by the system.
  5. Laserbeam bass

    Laserbeam bass Active Member

    I like the idea, and think it could work, but the numbers don't add up for certain areas. If you take the 4th section in Yorkshire or the C section in Wales, these do not meet the optimum number you have identified. Similarly there are areas such as L&SC where there are 20+ bands in the 4th section. By restricting it to 14, at least 6 if not more would have to move to a different area.

    Call me cynical but, I don't think a 4th section band from the south east coast, would be willing to travel 200+ miles to get to an area contest :tongue:

    I think that the boundaries could be redrawn, and this would the allow bands to perform at the area contest closest to them, rather than having to travel past the venue, to get to another, (NoE springs to mind). This would also remove any suggestion of elitism, from certain areas, where you need the old boys network/tie to get an invite to the group.

    Can we do it after a few years though, as we have just been promoted, and I want to play a few decent test pieces before being ceremoniously dumped back down to our old section :)
  6. Accidental

    Accidental Supporting Member

    Nice idea, but I can see more issues than solutions (sorry!)
    I can't really see how this would work because the density of bands (and their relative standards) varies hugely within each exisiting region, let alone across the whole country. Surely the only way you'd get such an even distribution of numbers would be if different sections had different boundaries, or by putting some bands in sections they were either too good or too weak for, in which case you haven't really made anything better. And have you factored in all the 4th section bands who only compete sometimes but might enter more if they thought they had a better chance? I'd also be really wary of using any of the ranking systems as a basis for gradings as they're all subjective and skewed one way or another.

    Perhaps if you had a plan of the new regions and which band went where it would be easier to visualise!
  7. stevetrom

    stevetrom Well-Known Member

  8. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    Just to warn you - I had a quick bash at thinking that through a while back, and a better solution is more difficult to find than one might think... Good luck!
  9. bassmittens

    bassmittens Member

    Perhaps all this eludes to the fact that the situation as it stands is the best possible/most efficient solution across the board??

    Just a thought.
  10. Accidental

    Accidental Supporting Member

    I don't think so, no. There is imho way too much disparity between regions in terms of numbers, and there is a very strong argument for at least tweaking the boundaries to address that, I just don't think Steve's radical solution is the right one!
    Personally I feel the starting point should be evening up the numbers in the top sections, but I don't think that's possible without moving some of the boundaries (including mixing Scottish/Welsh bands with English ones in some places)
  11. stevetrom

    stevetrom Well-Known Member


    we can all have opinions :)

    why just the top sections?

    we all want to play in contests with a good number of bands

    agreed again :)

  12. Accidental

    Accidental Supporting Member

    Agreed - and thank god they're not all the same ;)

    why just the top sections?

    we all want to play in contests with a good number of bands

    Its the nature of the beast - as far as I can see, different densities of bands in different places means that
    As far as I can see, it would be virtually impossible to fix the number of every section in every region. My solution would be to fix the numbers for either the 4th section or the top section and then fill in the rest according to relative standards. For me (and I'm perfectly happy to accept that I'm wrong and/or lots of people disagree with me, this is just the way I see it...!) the obvious thing to do is make sure the top section in each region only includes bands that are really good enough to be called Championship standard, and then filter down from there.
    Last edited: Sep 7, 2011
  13. Statto

    Statto Member

    Quite astute of you MoominDave:) but you shouldn't tar all rankings systems with the same brush (other than the fact that NO ranking can ever claim to be definitively correct!). The idea behind the divisor in the brassstats rankings design is to neutralise some of the effects you describe - prevents bands rising the table too quickly or staying at the top too long simply by accumulating more and more points. The lack of cross-competition between the lower grade bands and the relatively poor accuracy of the ranking system is handled by only publishing the top 50 (even though a great many more bands actually have ranking points at any given time). Similarly, it is difficult, if not impossible, to properly gauge the relative merits of non-British bands (hence, their omission from the rankings - much as I would dearly love to include them).

    NB look out for a change at the top in the next published table;)


  14. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member


    Of the various rankings systems out there, I find yours the most considered. But the 4BR rankings are the ones that everyone always refers to, because i) they have a big platform to shout from, and ii) they didn't hesitate to extend them out into unreliability in the name of inclusiveness... It's a bit of a shame, really.
  15. tgfoxley

    tgfoxley Member

    What's wrong with them as they are, apart from maybe too high a proportion of bands in the lower sections (which could be easily solved within the current system)?
  16. ploughboy

    ploughboy Active Member

    But there isn't an overall issue the same for each region. . .You mention too many bands in the lower sections? that may be the case in the SouthWest, and Midlands for example, but it isn't a problem in Yorkshire, our problem here, to me, is too many bands at the top of the tree. . . . I Yorkshire we should be heading towards a 8/9 band top section with sections of roughly 11 below, that would even out our triangle and make the bands work harder to get promoted (as standards would be tougher down the sections).

    As has also been mentioned, we don't have to do everything over night. If regions decided on a change they could take 2/3 years to slowly move the bands up or down to create a system that works for them.. . . I'm not sure we can use the same system in every area, as there is such an uneven density of bands around the country.