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Post Match Analysis:
Welsh Regional Championships 2002

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


1. Penclawdd (Nigel Seaman): 5 192
2. Rhyl (L. Lawrie): 3 189
3. Llanrug (P. Hughes): 1 186
4. Lewis Merthyr (L. Harries): 2 185
5. Cwmbran (J. Burns): 4 185

There is a saying that small is beautiful, but ask any bloke. Size matters. A section made up of five bands may sound an easy way of gaining qualification, but you still have to put in a quality performance to make the grade, and for 80% of the bands on show here, the quality was missing.

Not so the winners, Penclawdd Brass from West Wales who put in a performance of real note on the difficult set work of Ewald’s “Symphony for Brass” that gave adjudicator Robert Childs perhaps his easiest task of the whole weekend. It was a very clear winner. Penclawdd have a core of experienced players around the stand, and many of them have played at a higher level. This was evident in the way in which they didn’t overblow and were able to make light of most of the technical demands of the Michael Hopkinson arrangement.

Robert Childs in the box had a complete understanding of the nuances and intricacies of the score as he had recorded the work a few months earlier with his own band, and it was obvious that Penclawdd stuck closely to his interpretation. Nigel Seaman directed the performance with the knowledge he has gleaned as a top class tuba player with the National Orchestra of Wales and as a resident conductor of some of the best bands in the Principality over the years. It was clear and well defined and was a class above the rest of the field. The win was the bands first at the contest since they took the top section prize way back in 1986. Perhaps this is a sign that they are on the way back.

Second place went to Rhyl who gave a decent showing of the music but never really mastered all the detail. There were good moments and a couple of very good moments, but for the most part it was a solid and unspectacular account that wasn’t in the same league as Penclawdd. Still, it gave them second place and a trip to Torquay and shows that they have made further progress since winning the third section title here in 1999.

Third place went to Llanrug who were a further three points behind Rhyl. They too had their moments, but it was an account that suffered from nerves and far too many small blips and blobs that robbed them of their chance of really challenging for a qualification spot, but was certainly the best of the other two performances on show.

Fourth place went to Lewis Merthyr who were making a welcome return to the contesting stage and followed Llanrug on as second band of the day. Not the greatest of performances, but one that they can certainly build on and hopefully start the return back to the glory days when they ruled the roost here in 1984. Finally, Cwmbran came fifth and they too found the technical as well as musical nuances of the piece a little too much and although they performed well, they lacked consistency and at times the tuning in the quieter moments suffered. Still, another band with plenty of talent to work with.

Robert Childs won’t have many easier days than this in the box in which to make a decision, and it must be said that Penclawdd sounded a class and a half above the rest of the small field. Below them it was a bit more evenly matched, but even so, Rhyl were clear runners up on a day when the set test proved a bit too hard for the other challengers.

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