Harrogate hosts the 19th running of a separate Lower Section national finals event and there is (as you would expect) some clear favourites, some long shots and (if you look carefully) some real value to be had at the bookies. First Section They’ve been playing their chances down but the punters’ clear fancy here are Freckleton @ 9/4 which in a field of EIGHTEEN rates as a steaming hot favourite. 14th at The Grand Shield last time out was about right for them and shows they’ll hold their own next term if they win here at get back in the Championship section. Yes they were beaten by the only other first section band at the event Hammonds Saltaire, but they’re not here to challenge them this time are they! Friary Guildford (5/1) have attracted lots of late money so they must be looking very good in the paddock. Winners last time out at SCABA Crawley but it was a cracking 4th spot at The Senior Trophy (and promotion up a level for next year) that really caught the eye. BartonTown (11/2) are an unusually well regarded North of England runner here at the finals. Last year’s runners-up are making their FIFTH consecutive appearance at these finals, 6th place in the 4th Section in 2006 being their worst result. What is unusual for one of these ‘super-nova’ bands is that they haven’t managed to collect a national crown along the way so they’re due, they are definitely due. They haven’t had a run out since the areas so they’ll be well rested and looking for some breakfast. Paddy will give you no better than 4/7 on the winner being one of these three. Three bands that are getting ignored by the punters are Bournemouth Concert (14/1), Meltham & Meltham Mills (16/1) and Wrexham Brass (18/1), ignore them at your peril!! Bournemouth haven’t become a bad band since winning the West of England in 2005. M&MM are Yorkshire champions (never a mean feat) and came a strong 2nd to Jackfield at Butlins in a field of TWENTY-FOUR prior to that. Wrexham were 2nd to Tredegar at the Eisteddfod last time out but are another band that had a fine return at The Spring Festival finishing 5th behind Friary in The Trophy HebdenBridge (14/1) are popular with the punters but I think they’ve got a lot to find in this field.