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Welsh Regional Championship

4BR trawl many past results to bring you this preview and therefore we occasionally make mistakes. If you do spot one, then please email us the correct information and we'll amend the article as soon as possible.

First Section:

Brangwyn Hall, Swansea
Saturday 16th March
Adjudicator: Steve Sykes
Commences: After results of 2nd Section

Competing Bands: Abergavenny Borough (D. Childs): Ammanford Town (C. Hogg): Deiniolen (J. Cant): Markham and District (N. Seaman): Pontardulais Town (C. Buckley): RAF St. Athans Vol (A. Bourne): Rogerstone (C. Thomas): Thomas Coaches Mid Rhondda (A. Gibbs): Tongwynlais Temperance (N. Seaman): Treherbert and District (G. Sheppard): Tylorstown Valley Lines (L. Phillips)

A real strong line up of bands in the first section should bode well for a hard fought contest, with all 11 bands more than capable on their day of at least gaining one of the two qualification spots on offer.

Two promoted bands and one relegated from the championship section add spice to some solid performers from last year that includes just the one band from North Wales. Should prove an interesting days work for Mr Sykes in the box.

Abergavenny Borough has been hogging all the headlines as they have teamed up with the fourth member of the Child's family to conduct at the contest in its history. David Childs follows father Robert, uncle Nicholas and grandfather John and will be keen to emulate the successes of them all. Abergavenny are a very solid outfit with plenty of good players in key positions. They boast an impressive record at the contest, but have yet to secure that final step to a podium or qualification spot in recent years. A record that reads from 1997 of 8th, 6th, 4th, 7th and 6th is good but they are capable of better and have played in the championship section contests locally where they came 9th at the Miners contest in Porthcawl and 7th at Ebbw Vale. Could this be the year for them and the start of another Childs conducting career?

Ammanford come to the contest as reigning Champion Band of Great Britain in the Second Section following their fine win (off a number 1 draw) at Preston last year. Jim Davies however doesn't take them this time around, but they have plumbed for the experienced Colin Hogg instead. They also came 2nd at Burry Port and 6th at Ebbw Vale last year and will be hoping to make a mark here this time around. Three years in the second section where they came 7th in '99, 6th in 2000 and 2nd last year is a good foundation, but the step up is large. We will wait and see how well they do.

Deiniolen were 9th last year which was the first time in 5 years that the band had suffered a result worse than they had achieved the year before. Two promotions as winners of the third section in 1997 and runners up in the second in 1999 was conformation of their progress, and in 2000 they were a very well deserved 4th.

Markham and District has the experienced Nigel Seaman at the helm as they seek to continue their upward push back to the Championship section. They had been making steady progress in the first section over the past few years and came 5th in '97 followed by 7th, 3rd,3rd again and 4th last year to gain the promotion. They are also one of the busiest contesting bands around and they won at Ebbw Vale, came 2nd at Burry Port, 7th at Pontins, 3rd at Treorchy, 7th at Wychavon and 2nd at Weston so they take the contest stage well prepared.

Pontardulais have been improving each year under the steady influence of the vastly experienced Brian Buckley and although they were 5th last year, it still conformed that they are a band to fear at this level. They too entered all the local contests in 2001 and came 3rd at Burry Port, 4th at Treorchy and Ebbw Vale and 8th at the Miners Contest at Porthcawl. Two promotions in the last five years in 1997 and 1999 is testament to their improved standard and they will be hoping at least to repeat their 3rd place here of 2000.

RAF St. Athan were promoted this year following two good years in the third section in which they came 4th here in 2000 and 5th last year. They also won the second section title in 1999. They are conducted by Alan Bourne who continues to do such good work with the band and they came 3rd at Burry Port, 2nd at Treorchy and 3rd at Ebbw Vales last year all in the third section.

Rogerstone were 4th last year - their first back in the section following winning the second section title here in 2000. They had three years in the second section when they came 5th in both '98 and '99 before winning the title and were in fact relegated from the first section in 1997 even though they came 3rd at that year's contest. They have changed conductors to Ceri Thomas as well and last year they came 4th at Burry Port and 3rd at both Ebbw Vale and Treorchy. They also won the Milton Keynes contest.

Mid Rhondda return back to the first section following a three year period in the top section where they were unlucky not to have come higher at times than they did at the contest. They were 8th in 1999 and 9th in both 2000 and 2001, but at the same time were playing really well and wining prizes at other Championship contests. They were 7th at the Senior Cup and 9th at Wychavon as well as 5th place at both Burry Port and Porthcawl and 4th at Ebbw Vale in the top section. They ended the year coming 3rd at Treorchy and they will be hoping that they can make an immediate return to the top section. Mid Rhondda also came 10th at the Milton Keynes contest.

Tongwynlais came 7th last year, which was a bit of a disappointment following 3rd place in 1999 and 2nd in 2000. They were relegated from the championship section after coming 10th and 9th in '97 and '98, but with Nigel Seaman at the helm they will be confident of putting up a strong challenge this time around. Some good experienced old heads around the stand should keep things in check and they will be hoping to repeat their success at Weston, as well as their 4th place at Wychavon. They were 3rd in the top flight at Burry Port, 8th at Pontins, 7th at Porthcawl, 4th at Treorchy and 3rd at Ebbw Vale, so they have been busy. Should be up there come the results.

Treherbert and District had a successful 2001 and will be hoping to carry that form into this year as well. They were runners up here last year and went on to come 12th at the National Finals. They were also 4th at the Mineworkers contest in Blackpool. They won at Bugle and Ebbw Vale and were 2nd at Treorchy and 6th at the Porthcawl Miners contest. A good record here from 1999 onwards when they came 5th and 4th in 2001, so they will be hoping for at least another qualification spot. Treherbert came 9th at the Milton Keynes contest.

Tylorstown Valley Lines came 3rd last year, and that was the fourth consecutive year that they have improved on their result of the previous year at the contest. They were 5th in the first section in 1997 and then they have followed this up with 8th, 7th, 5th and 3rd, so they are heading in the right direction. They also came 5th at Burry Port, Treorchy and Ebbw Vale, so they are consistent if nothing else. Should be capable of doing well again and hopefully aiming for a qualification trip to Torquay.

2001 Result:

1. Beaumaris
2. Treherbert and District
3. Tylorstown Valley Lines
4. Rogerstone
5. Pontardulais
6. Abergavenny

4BR Prediction:

1. Tongwynlais
2. Abergavenny
3. Mid Rhondda
4. Treherbert and District
5. Pontardulais
6. Tylorstown Valley Lines

Dark Horse: Ammanford

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