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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.

Second Section:

Brangwyn Hall, Swansea
Saturday 16th March
Adjudicator: Robert Childs
Commences: After results of 3rd Section

Competing Bands: Cwmbran (J. Burns): Lewis Merthyr (L. Harries): Llanrug (P. Hughes): Penclawdd (tba): Rhyl (L. Lawrie)

The smallest section of competing bands in the whole country will be put before the ears of Robert Childs, but it still won't be an easy task. The draw isn't going to be a factor this time around, but there is enough talent in the bands here to make the task difficult enough. Robert Childs knows the piece very well though so any waffle will surely be penalised. Short but sweet then.

Cwmbran are in the second section for the first time in many a year after an extended period in the third section where they made steady and solid progress year on year. John Burns is a young and talented MD and he led the band with great style during 2001. They were 2nd here last year after four years in which they came 4th, 8th, 5th and 5th in the lower section. They were 8th at the National Finals and came 4th at Treorchy and 2nd at Ebbw Vale. A good young band with lots of talent, they could be up there again.

Lewis Merthyr is a band with a very impressive past record of contest achievement in Wales over the years and were in fact Champion Band of Wales in 1984 and won the Welsh Regional title as well. They also went on to represent Wales at the European Championships. The intervening years were not so kind though and at one point they were very close to extinction. With an admirable determination though they have returned and this year sees them back at the contest for the first time since 1998 when they came 8th in the top section. They were 6th at the Burry Port contest in the first section, so they could do well here. Lets hope it is the start of a return to the top.

Llanrug were promoted this year following their 3rd place last year in the third section. That was their second promotion in four years following their win in the fourth section in 1998. Since then they have challenged each year for the top prize and came 7th in 1999, 2nd in 2000 and 3rd last year, so they will hoping for more of the same.

Penclawdd are another band that has tasted success at the top level in Wales and in fact won the championship section title in 1986. Tony Small isn't conducting the band this time around due to unfortunate circumstances at last year's contest, but he has been instrumental in maintaining a strong banding outpost in the far reaches of West Wales. The band won the Third section as far back as 1979 and went on to claim the second section title in 1983 as well, before their crowning glory in 1986. They were relegated to this section following four years in the first section in which they came 7th in 1998, 6th in both 1999 and 2000 and 8th last year. By one of the quirks of the system in Wales they played in the Championship section during 2001 at local contests and came 6th at both Ebbw Vale and Burry Port and 7th at Treorchy.

Rhyl have been comfortable contenders in this section since they were promoted following their win in the third section in 1999 and in 2000 they were 2nd and last year were 3rd. They were 15th at Pontins, but will be hoping to repeat the form that saw them come runners up in 2000 at least. They haven't as far as we know got any recent form as such so they could be a bit of a mystery.

2001 Result:

1. Royal Oakley
2. Ammanford
3. Rhyl Silver
4. Markham and District
5. RAF St Athans
6. Newport Borough

4BR Prediction:

1. Lewis Merthyr
2. Penclawdd
3. Rhyl
4. Llanrug
5. Cwmbran

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