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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.

Third Section:

Brangwyn Hall, Swansea
Saturday 16th March
Adjudicator: Colin Hardy
Commences: 11.30am

Competing Bands: Blaenavon Town (B. Davies): Briton Ferry (M. Faro): Crosskeys Silver (L. Bowden): Ebbw Vale (C. Thomas): Harlech (H. Evans): Newbridge Celynen (K. Gibbs): Pontypool Brass (M. Jones): Royal Buckley (D. Roberts): Trefor (G. Jones): Ynyshir Welfare Stack of Tiles (A. Gibbs)

Ten of the best Third Section bands line up to take the short trip across the River Severn and down the road to Cornwall to tackle Kenneth Downie's "St Austell Suite" - an a very enjoyable trip it should be as well.

There is a good mixture of bands here in this section with three from the north, one that has just been relegated and two who have just been promoted, so the contest should be close. The bands will have to try and catch the ear of Colin Hardy, who has a lot of experience at this level and he will surely be looking for the bands that can master the basics and add a sprinkling of good quality Welsh musicality to the piece. Cornwall and Wales share a lot in common so hopefully the bands will get to grips with it with relish.

Blaenavon Town came up from the Fourth Section following their promotion in 2000 and came 6th in their first year and 4th last year, so they are heading in the right direction. They have also been busy on the local contesting scene and came 2nd at Burry Port, Weston and Ebbw Vale and won Treochy, so they could well be in with a shout.

Briton Ferry are a band that has really improved over the last year or so and come to the contest after a very successful 2001 in which they were promoted from the lower section, came 4th at the National Finals, won the Ebbw Vale contest and were 2nd at both Burry Port and Treorchy. They will be hoping the good form continues into 2002. Crosskeys meanwhile were promoted from the fourth section following their 2nd place in 2000 and they held their own here last year when they came 5th. They were 9th at Burry Port and won Ebbw Vale, so they be looking to maintain their progress.

Ebbw Vale were 6th last year after being relegated from the second section following two years in which they had come 10th and 7th and so they will be looking for a repeat of their win here in this section in 1998. They came 11th at Pontins and won the Burry Port and came 5th at their home town contest in the 2nd section. Harlech has made steady progress in the two years in this section following their promotion as champions in 1999 and were 11th in 2000 and 9th last year. They will be looking to extend that upward trend on the weekend.

Newbridge Celynen are back in the third section for the first time since they were relegated in 1998. These three years they came 8th, 3rd and 3rd last year pushed them back. Conducted by ex Black Dyke trombone player Kevin Gibbs, they won the Burry Port contest and came 2nd at Treorchy and 3rd at both Weston and Ebbw Vale. Pontypool meanwhile didn't compete last year after promising so much in coming 3rd the year before. That followed their relegation from the second section the year before, so they will be keen to return back as soon as possible. They were 5th at the Ebbw Vale contest last year.

Royal Buckley also didn't compete last year and are therefore a welcome returnee to the contesting field, although they have been relegated as a result. They survived quite comfortably in the higher section and came 6th in 1999, 9th in 2000 and 5th in 2001. They didn't compete at last year's Pontins so they are a bit of a mystery for us at the moment.

Trefor are in this section following relegation after they came 7th in the second section last year and didn't compete the year before. Another band we don't know a great deal about in contesting terms so they also come to the competition as a mystery package. Ynyshir Welfare, Stack of Tiles have been a busy band in the last year and have also been solid performers in this section over the past four years in which they have come 11th in '97, 2nd in '98, 9th in '99 and 7th last year. They won at Treorchy in the second section and came 3rd at both Weston and Ebbw Vale and 4th at Burry Port. A band to possibly look out for.

2001 Result:

1. Beaumaris "B"
2. Cwmbran
3. Llanrug
4. Blaenavon Town
5. Crosskeys Silver
6. Ebbw Vale

4BR Prediction:

1. Briton Ferry
2. Ynyshir Welfare
3. Bleanvaon Town
4. Crosskeys
5. Newbridge Celynen
6. Ebbw Vale

Dark Horse: Harlech

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