Report & Results: 2012 SEWBBA Blaenavon26-Nov-2012
Burry Port, City of Cardiff, Goodwick, Ammanford and Ebbw Valley claim Welsh League titles in an exciting day of contesting in the World Heritage town of Blaenavon.
There was an exciting finish to the 2012 Welsh League series on the weekend, as the various domestic titles were decided on an excellent day of contesting at the SEWBBA Brass Band Festival in the World Heritage town of Blaenavon.
There was delight for a rejuvenated Burry Port as their purposeful performance of ‘Year of the Dragon’ under the baton of newly appointed MD Nigel Seaman saw them successfully defend their Blaenavon title.
In the process the West Wales band reclaimed the overall Championship Section Welsh League honours by winning all three legs of this year’s series following victories at Ebbw Vale and Fishguard.
Burry Port’s solo trombone player Geraint Thomas took the ‘Best Trombone’ Award for his fine personal delivery of the fearsome solo in the work’s middle movement.
Return to form
In what proved to be a close run contest for David Hirst to adjudicate, there was a welcome return to form for Markham & District as they benefitted from the experience of Gareth Prichard at the helm to come second courtesy of a colourful rendition of ‘Chivalry’.
The band’s solo euphonium Nathan Davies claimed the ‘Best Instrumentalist’ Award, whilst the fine effort of their tuba quartet was recognised with the ‘Best Bass Section’ award.
BTM ended third under David Maplestone’s direction with their performance of ‘Dances & Arias’ to pip Abergavenny and Pontardulais to the final podium place.
Tylorstown ended sixth, although despite the disappointment at the result their overall consistency throughout the year enabled them to end runner-up to Burry Port in the overall Welsh League standings.
There was a real show of ambition from City of Cardiff (Melingriffith) in the First Section, as they also delivered a ‘clean sweep’ of League victories thanks to a fine rendition of ‘Year of the Dragon’ to secure their second successive Blaenavon and Welsh League title success under the baton of Gareth Ritter.
Meanwhile, MD Gareth Pritchard claimed his second runner-up finish of the day with the improving Lewis Merthyr, as they produced a polished rendition of ‘Dances & Arias’ that featured a fine prize winning contribution from the experienced Darren Morris on euphonium to push the winners close.
The podium finish gained by RAF St Athan under the direction of Alan Bourne on ‘Tallis Variations’ enabled them to tie with Lewis Merthyr in the final Welsh League title placings.
Goodwick Brass rounded off what proved to be a memorable day for the band and their conductor Matthew Jenkins by claiming the Second Section Welsh League title thanks to a fine performance of the Edward Gregson’s ‘Laudate Dominum’ that featured yet another prize winning contribution from their talented principal cornet Luke Jenkins.
Tom Davoren’s experience also paid dividends for Llywdcoed as the recent National finalists rounded off a fine centenary year by coming runner-up both on the day and in the overall Welsh Series standings thanks to their well worked rendition of ‘Purcell Variations’.
Colin Hogg led the ever improving Crwbin into third place with a solid performance of ‘Partita—Postcards from Home’ to just edge out Briton Ferry and Cross Keys.
The welcome visitors of AW Parker Drybrook conducted by Josh Ruck saw the Third Section honours head back over the Severn Bridge.
The Forest of Dean band produced a fine performance of Philip Harper’s Welsh valleys inspired ‘Kingdom of Dragons’ to pip West Walian challengers Ammanford with Melingriffith 2 in third.
Despite missing out on victory on the day Ammanford returned home in celebration as they secured the Welsh League title under conductor Glyn Davies, thanks to their well worked performance of ‘A Haslemere Suite’, whilst M2 ended the season as runner up under Gareth Ritter with their rendition of ‘A St Austell Suite’.
Adjudicator Steve Pritchard-Jones enjoyed a number of fine performances from the 10 competing bands, with Pontypool ending fourth aided by the prize winning efforts of their horn section on, ‘Sword, Jewel and Mirror’, with Upper Rhonnda in fifth with their principal cornet taking the ‘Best Instrumentalist’ award on ‘Four Cities Symphony’.
The only real disappointment for the contest organisers was the lack of entrants in the Fourth Section, where just two bands performed under the scrutiny of adjudicator Steve Pritchard-Jones.
In the event it proved to also be a battle between the bands for the overall League title too, with the fast rising contesting force of Ebbw Valley Brass adding to their recent cross border success in Gloucester under Gareth Ritter’s baton.
Their excellent performance of ‘Laudate Dominum’ gave them a single point victory over rivals Oakdale, who produced a fine rendition of ‘Anglian Dances’.
Ebbw Valley’s talented euphonium player David Johnson gained yet another ‘Best Instrumentalist’ award to add to his growing collection as Ebbw Valley ended their first competitive season by claiming the overall Welsh League title, with a rejuvenated Oakdale as runner-up.
Earlier in the day there were further signs of encouragement for grass roots Welsh banding as BTM New Generation produced a Gold Award performance set under the baton of the inspirational Mark Hutcherson to pip Sliver award winners Blaenavon Town and West Glamorgan Training.
With the season now at an end, 4BR was informed that it was hoped that the recommendations of the recent Brass Band Forum discussion paper will be implemented to encourage further participation by liberalising the contest rules in the lowest sections.
Adjudicator: David Hirst
1. Burry Port (Nigel Seaman) - 195
2. Markham (Gareth Pritchard) - 194
3. BTM (David Maplestone) - 193
4. Abergavenny (Craig Roberts) - 192
5. Pontardulais (Paul Jenkins) - 191
6. Tylorstown (Gary Davies) - 190
Best Instrumentalist: Nathan Davies (euphonium) - Markham
Best Trombone: Geraint Thomas (Burry Port)
Best Bass Section: Markham
Adjudicator Steve Pritchard Jones
1. City of Cardiff (Melingriffith) (Gareth Ritter) - 188
2. Lewis Merthyr (Gareth Pritchard) - 187
3. RAF St Athan (Alan Bourne) - 186
4. Blaenavon Town (Andrew Jones) - 185
5. Penclawdd (Tony Small) - 184
6. Ynyshir (Dean Evans) - 182
Best Instrumentalist: Darren Morris (euphonium) - Lewis Merthyr
Adjudicator: David Hirst
1. Goodwick Brass (Matthew Jenkins) - 187
2. Llwydcoed (Tom Davoren) - 186
3. Crwbin (Colin Hogg) - 185
4. Briton Ferry (Dr Christian Jenkins) - 184
5. Cross Keys (Keri Bowden) - 183
Best Instrumentalist: Luke Jenkins (cornet) - Goodwick
Adjudicator: Steve Pritchard-Jones
1. A W Parker Drybrook (Josh Ruck)—185
2. Ammanford (Glyn Davies) - 184
3. Mellingriffith 2 (Gareth Ritter) - 183
4. Pontypool (Mike Davies) - 182
5. Upper Rhondda (Nigel Seaman) - 181
6. Abertillery & District (Dean Evans) - 180
7. Ogmore Valley (Alice Jones) - 179
8. Mid Rhondda (Alan Gibbs) - 178
9. Tata Steel (Ceri Thomas) - 177
10. Ystradgynlais (Alex Parker) - 176
Best Instrumentalist: (soprano) - Upper Rhondda
Best Horn Section: Pontypool
Adjudicator: Steve Pritchard-Jones
1. Ebbw Valley (Gareth Ritter) - 177
2. Oakdale (Adrian Browning) - 176
Best Instrumentalist: David Johnson (euphonium) - Ebbw Valley
Gold Award: BTM New Generation (Mark Hutcherson)
Silver Award: Blaenavon Town (Evan Smith)
Silver Award: West Glamorgan Training (Jayne Thomas)
Youngest Player in main contest: Oliver Bourne (RAF St Athan) - age 7
2012 Welsh League Championship:
Welsh League Champion: Burry Port
Welsh League Runner-Up: Tylorstown
Welsh League Champion: City of Cardiff (Melingriffith)
Welsh League Runner-Up: Lewis Merthyr & RAF St Athan
Welsh League Champion: Goodwick Brass
Welsh League Runner-Up: Llwydcoed
Welsh League Champion: Ammanford
Welsh League Runner-Up: Melingriffith 2
Welsh League Champion: Ebbw Valley
Welsh League Runner-Up: Oakdale
Eric James Welsh Conductor of the Year: Matthew Jenkins (Goodwick Brass)
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