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2003 Welsh Regional Qualifying Championships

Third Section
Saturday 15th March
Starts 11.30pm

Adjudicator: David Read

Test Piece: Northern Landscapes - Peter Graham

Wales has struggled a little of late at National level in the 3rd Section and you have to go back to 1992 and Beaumaris for the last time a band won the title. That was the second year in a row that a Welsh band had won the title with British Steel Port Talbot the victors the year before. 1967 and Rhymney’s victory was the other time in recent memory that the Welsh had been successful, so it is about time the qualifiers brought back some silverware.

In the past five years the best has been the 4th place of Briton Ferry last year, but other than that it has been a pretty barren spell.

Plenty of decent bands take the stage this year and it will be interesting to see how they cope with a difficult test piece in the shape of Peter Graham’s “Northern Landscapes”. We had the pleasure of sitting next to David Read when this section was on in Bradford and he certainly made the point of looking for clarity and for bands to take time in the slower movements for the music to unfold. Whoever does that on the weekend may find themselves booking the hotel for Dundee.

Beaumaris B
P. Hughes

Last Year: DNC
Last Seven Years:
2002: DNC
2001: Winners 3rd Section
2000: Winners 4th Section
1999: DNC
1998: DNC
1997: DNC
1996: DNC

The second of the Beaumaris bands have a wonderful short record at the contest and on each time they have competed they have come away as victors. They won the 4th Section in 2000 and went on to win the National title as well, whilst in 2001 they were promoted and won again. In Preston they came 14th. They didn’t compete last year and will return eager to add to their trophy haul. A super band from a super organisation.

Conway Town
K. Jones

Last Year: Winners 4th Section
Last Seven Years:
2002: Winners 4th Section
2001: 6th 4th Section
2000: DNC
1999: DNC
1998: DNC
1997: DNC
1996: DNC

Conway first competed here in 2001 when they held their own in the bottom section to come 6th. A year later they returned and they were clear two point winners. Promotion wouldn’t have fazed them in any way and they will make the long trip south with high hopes of continuing their good form.

Crosskeys Silver
K. Bowden

Last Year: DNC
Last Seven Years:
2002: DNC
2001: 5th
2000: 2nd 4th Section (prom)
1999: 6th 4th Section
1998: 2nd 4th Section
1997: DNC
1996: N/K

A band with a rich past of doing well at these Championships, Cross Keys has long been a breeding ground for talented players and conductors alike and can boast the late John Childs and more recently Nigel Weeks as former men who have wielded the baton. They won the second section way back in 1981 and were for a short while a top section band of note. Since then they have dropped back down the sections and won their way out of the 4th in 2000. They came 5th in 2001 but didn’t compete last year, but with the experienced Keri Bowden at the helm they could do well here this time.

Ebbw Vale
A. Browning

Last Year: 7th
Last Seven Years:
2002: 7th
2001: 6th
2000: 7th 2nd Section (rel)
1999: 10th 2nd Section
1998: Winners
1997: 11th 2nd Section (rel)
1996: 6th 2nd Section

Ebbw Vale were National 4th Section champions in 1971 and have over the years spent most of their contesting life in the lower sections. They won the 4th Section title here in 1987 and this title in 1998 when they went to the National Finals and came 14th. They spent just the two years in the higher section before returning in 2001 and since then they have come 6th and 7th. More of the same could be on the cards.

Llanelli and District
R. Owen

Last Year: 7th 4th Section (prom)
Last Seven Years:
2002: 7th 4th Section (prom)
2001: Winners 4th Section
2000: 8th 4th Section
1999: 10th 4th Section
1998: 15th (rel)
1997: 6th
1996: N/K

Rob Owen has worked small miracles with his band from Llanelli and they return back to this section after spending four years in the 4th. They won that section here in 2001 where they went on to come 18th at the Finals. 7th last year was a touch disappointing, but it was enough to gain them promotion and they will be looking to make a mark her this year and at least hold their own.

Newbridge Celynen
P. Holland

Last Year: 8th
Last Seven Years:
2002: 8th
2001: 3rd 4th Section (prom)
2000: 3rd 4th Section
1999: 8th 4th Section
1998: 12th (rel)
1997: 14th
1996: 2nd 4th Section (prom)

Newbridge will be conducted by ex Black Dyke and Tredegar horn player Paul Holland who took over from another ex Black Dyke man Kevin Gibbs who led the band into 8th place last year. That was a solid achievement in their first season back here since 1998 and they had three decent years of success in the 4th section as experience. They could do well and with plenty of young players in the ranks the future looks good also.

Pontypool Brass
M. Jones

Last Year: 6th
Last Seven Years:
2002: 6th
2001: DNC
2000: 3rd
1999: 8th 2nd Section (rel)
1998: 9th 2nd Section
1997: 6th 2nd Section
1996: 7th 2nd Section

Pontypool won this section back in 1989 and spent quite a few years in the 2nd Section battling it out before being relegated in 1999 after coming 8th here. They made a real impression in 2000 when they 3rd under the direction of Alan Williams, but they didn’t compete in 2001 and returned in 2002 to come 6th. That should hopefully give them the basis to mount an even stronger challenge this time.

Royal Buckley
D. Roberts

Last Year: 4th
Last Seven Years:
2002: 4th
2001: DNC
2000: 5th 2nd Section (rel)
1999: 9th 2nd Section
1998: 6th 2nd Section
1997: 6th 2nd Section
1996: 3rd Second Section

Royal Buckley came 4th last year after taking a year off in 2001. That may have been to give the band a chance to recover confidence after being relegated from the 2nd Section in 2000. They hadn’t done to badly in the higher section and came as high as 3rd in 1996. Things have dropped away a little since, but if they have been there once then they will be keen to ensure they return once more.

Seindorf Trefor
G. Jones

Last Year: 5th
Last Seven Years:
2002: 5th
2001: 7th
2000: DNC
1999: 4th
1998: 6th
1997: 3rd
1996: N/K

Trefor have a pretty solid record here since 1997 when they came 3rd under the long serving conductor G. Jones. With the exception of not competing in 2000 they have more than held their own and have improved their position in each of the last two years. More of the same would be welcome we think.

Vale of Glamorgan
D. Short

Last Year: DNC
Last Seven Years:
2002: DNC
2001: 8th
2000: 8th
1999: 10th
1998: N/K 4th Section (prom)
1997: 3rd 4th Section
1996: 4th 4th Section
David Short takes the band this year after they didn’t compete here twelve months ago. Before that they were moored towards the bottom with 10th and two consecutive 8th places under the experienced Ivor Barnett. How they do we don’t really know, but they do wear Tredegar’s old uniforms so hopefully some of their form may rub off on them this year.

Ynyshir Stack of Tiles
A. Gibbs

Last Year: 3rd
Last Seven Years:
2002: 3rd
2001: 7th
2000: 9th
1999: 2nd
1998: 11th
1997: 10th
1996: 6th

The experienced Alan Gibbs will take time out to direct Ynyshir and after coming 3rd here last year they will travel from the Rhondda with hopes of gaining at least one of the two qualification spots on offer. The band won the 4th Section here way back in 1975 but the closest they have come since to having their name engraved as victors was in 1999 when they were runners up here. They went on to come 15th at the Nationals and with them improving each year since 2000 a trip to Scotland may not be beyond them.

Past Winners:

2002: Blaenavon Town
2001: Beaumaris B
2000: Royal Oakeley
1999: Rhyl
1998: Ebbw Vale
1997: Deiniolen
1996: Deiniolen
1995: Deiniolen
1994: RAF St. Athan Vol
1993: Ammanford Town
1992: Ammanford Town
1991: Llansaint Silver
1990: Newtown
1989: Pontypool Brass
1988: Burry Port Town
1987: Tylorstown and Maerdy
1986: South Glamorgan Youth
1985: Newtown
1984: Markham and District
1983: Llwycoed Silver
1982: Ystradgynlais Public
1981: South Glamorgan Youth
1980: No Contst
1979: Penclawdd
1978: Llansaint
1977: BTM
1976: Hymac Rhymney
1975: Blaenavon Colliery

Winning Conductors:

2002: B. Davies
2001: F. Evans
2000: J. Jones
1999: R. Sparkes
1998: B. Williams
1997: R. Wyatt
1996: R. Wyatt
1995: R. Wyatt
1994: A. Bourne
1993: G. Roberts
1992: G. Roberts
1991: D. Garside
1990: S. Edwards

Test Pieces:

2002: St. Austell Suite – K. Downie
2001: Sinfonietta – J. Horovitz
2000: Narnia Suite – G. Burgon
1999: Main Street – E. Ball
1998: Three Saints’ – G. Richards
1997: Tintagel – D. Wright
1996: Divertimento – B. Kelly
1995: A Snowden Fantasy – T.J. Powell
1994: Chorale and Toccata – S. Bulla
1993: The Shipbuilders – P. Yorke
1992: Suite for Brass – M. Arnold


2002: Colin Hardy
2001: G. Pritchard
2000: R. Sparkes
1999: S. Sykes
1998: B. Buckley
1997: A. Hope
1996: N/K
1995: R. Roe

Past Qualifiers:

2002: Blaenavon Town, Briton Ferry
2001: Beaumaris B, Cwmbran
2000: Royal Oakeley, Lalnrug
1999: Rhyl, Ynyshir Welfare
1998: Ebbw Vale, Newtown
1997: Deiniolen, Pontardulais
1996: Deiniolen, Rhyl Silver
1995: Deiniolen, Rhyl Silver

Welsh bands at the Finals:

2002: 4th, 19th
2001: 8th, 14th
2000: 14th, 16th
1999: 10th, 15th
1998: 10th, 14th

Last Years Result:

1. Blaenavon Town – B. Davies 183pts
2. Briton Ferry – M. Faro 181pts
3. Ynyshir Welfare – A. Gibbs 180pts
4. Royal Buckley – D. Roberts 178pts
5. Trefor – G. Jones 177pts
6. Pontypool Brass – M. Jones 176pts
7. Ebbw Vale – C. Thomas 175pts
8. Newbridge Celynen – K. Gibbs 174pts
9. Harlech – H. Evans 173pts

4BR Prediction:

The North Wales bands have a good record here over the past few years, although Blaenavon did win last year. We think it could be the North Walians again as the return of Beaumaris should see them take the stage as slight favourites. Behind them we like the look of Ynyshir, but Conway, Royal Buckley and Trefor should push them all the way. Ebbw Vale and Newbridge could battle it out for the final place in the frame.

1. Beaumaris B
2. Ynyshir Stack of Tiles
3. Conway
4. Royal Buckley
5. Trefor
6. Ebbw Vale

Dark Horses: Newbridge Celynen


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