Drummer hitch for Aylsham band

Richard BatsonA young Norfolk band is facing its biggest ever gig in a national talent competition without its regular drummer after he injured an arm in a mountain biking accident.Richard Batson

A YOUNG Norfolk band is facing its biggest-ever gig in a national talent competition without its regular drummer after he injured an arm in a mountain biking accident.

The Sharps are playing at the semi-final of a UK-wide Live and Unsigned contest in London on Sunday - with hopes of reaching the final at the O2 arena.

But the band of 19 and 20-year-olds who have played together since they formed at Aylsham High School, look likely to have to perform without drummer Sam Evans.

He is at home in Norfolk nursing a badly injured shoulder suffered during a mountain biking jump on Felmingham Heath near his home - while his colleagues draft in a new group member for the big day.


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'It's a shame, but accidents happen,' said Sam, whose fall two weeks ago saw him airlifted to hospital by air ambulance.

'I was really getting into mountain-biking but took a jump a bit too fast. The next thing I knew an hour had passed and I did not know where I was. I phoned my mum who called an ambulance, and they sent a helicopter.'

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His dislocated shoulder means no drumming for two weeks, and his chances of recovering in time for the semi final at the Beck Theatre in Hayes are less than 50:50.

The Sharps' Plan B is to use another Aylsham lad Guy Porteous, who is studying music with guitarist Keiran Morgan in Southampton, on guitar, while all-rounder Kieran switches to drums, which he used to play for Norwich band The Moo.

The pair are currently working on the two songs for the semi-final - one of their own called Play The Game Again and a Beatles cover For No-One, just in case Sam does not recover in time.

Darby Dorras, the band's other guitarist, said: 'It's a disaster. We really feel we have a chance. Obviously we're pleased that Sam hasn't hurt himself worse than he did, but we can't help feeling gutted.'

There were thoughts of asking him to drum one-handed, but the extent of the injury ruled that out.

Live and Unsigned is the biggest original music competition in the UK for unsigned bands and artists, promoting originality in formats from heavy rock to rap, and with a prize pot of �75,000.

In the quarter finals judges praised the 'raw energy' of the Sharps, whose other member is Keiran's twin brother Callum.

Live and Unsigned events director Chris Grayston said: 'It's tough for the guys - especially Sam - but the show must go on, so good for them!'

For more information and tickets for Live & Unsigned go to the www.LiveandUnsigned.UK.com

Hear the Sharps' original songs at www.myspace.com/thesharps

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