SEVENBALL. Well, that's what you've been waiting to find out, isn't it?

The final victors in a battle of the bands that's been going on so long that half the acts from the heats have split up by now.

Heck, the Rolling Stones were still in short trousers back then, in the freezing wilds of February, and even legendary mullet-haired Fibbers doorman and compere Steve sported a trim short-back-and-sides. Possibly.

Anyway, to begin at the beginning. No less than six bands lined up for this year's Fibbers/Evening Press Battle Of The Bands final, after a dead-heat in one of the semis put paid to the usual way of things.

While last year's final, regular readers will recall, featured only one York-grown band against some of Yorkshire's finest talent, this year the situation was reversed, with only Halifax's Jacob challenging five York acts, in the final clash to win £1,000 and a recording session.

First up were youthful bands Coma and Peachie, who both laboured against malfunctioning amps and poor sound. Both were a grab-bag of indie and rock influences, with Coma only sounding like contenders when they really locked into their churning, eighties-influenced guitar riffs.

Their infamous cover of Guns'N'Roses' Sweet Child O'Mine brought tears to the eyes of the ageing rockers at the back, but elsewhere, they could have done with playing everything twice as fast and for half as long.

Peachie, who were to scoop the third prize slot, were a more diverse bunch, from Charlatans-meet-Starsailor acoustic grooving, to more rewarding The Hives-meet-The Stooges new-wave territory by the set's end.

Favourites of the contest, Morgan 4, were a slick, professional, but ultimately not terribly exciting act.

They are The Seahorses making their workmanlike way through the mid-1990s Manic Street Preachers songbook, well-played, nicely-sung by trained musicians, but ultimately, a band who announce that they're "up for it tonight" because they once heard Liam Gallagher say it - not because they had any intention of actually trying to engage the crowd in their own right.

However, their retro indie sound was ultimately well-realised enough to earn them second place and 500 quid.

Joint favourites and eventual winners Sevenball have shot up several leagues during this year's contest.

For years, (since this reviewer first encountered them in their late-nineties student days), they've been an underachieving indie band blessed with an outstanding singer.

Tonight, everything clicks, and they stand out a mile, knocking out a vast churning platform of Led Zep meets Pearl Jam meets Radiohead riffery for mainman Luke Ritchie to howl his lungs out over - ultimately making it a sound all their own.

They have the advantage that the sound engineers seem to know their set inside out, but they turn in an undisputedly awesome performance, and the set of the night.

Teen punks Duck Sick were the entertainers of the night, though sadly not winning anything, despite getting the best crowd reaction and holding the attention of the audience throughout the venue.

They deal in deceptively chaotic (but secretly well-drilled) punk rock, with a hint of ska, led by the manic Dan Gott, who manages to sound like the Dead Kennedys' Jello Biafra and Faith No More's Mike Patton, while being far, far, too young to have heard of either, surely.

Out-of-towners Jacob are a gaggle of odd-looking individuals - just like bands are supposed to be.

Diminutive, cue-ball bald singer Beaky let rip his emotive vocals while writhing to their hypnotic, widescreen rock, which hinted at The Bends-era Radiohead, and even underrated nineties Smiths wannabes Gene.

Again, an impressive set from a quality act, but by then, even the hardiest were beginning to flag, and it was down to Press arts guru Charles Hutchinson, and an entity known only as MulletMan, to reveal the winner and put the seal on Battle Of The Bands.

At least until New Year.