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2003 Welsh Regional Qualifying Championships

Fourth Section
Sunday 16th March
Starts: 11.00am

John Maines

Test Piece: Lydian Pictures - Simon Dobson

The Fourth Section has been something of a barren wasteland for bands in the Principality on a National level over the years and only Beaumaris who won both in 2000 (with the B Band) and 1991 with the senior band have claimed the title in recent memory. Before that you have to go back to 1971 and Ebbw Vale’s victory and further back to 1957 and Gwaun cae Gurwen, so it hasn’t been the best has it?

At this contest it has been something of a North Wales stranglehold in recent years as well, with six victories in the past eight years going to bands in the north. Who will win this time we will have to wait and see but the standard is pretty good and the bands would have enjoyed working on “Lydian Pictures” .

John Maines is the man to be impressed in the box.

Abertillery and District
G. Ritter

Last Year: 6th
Last Seven Years:
2002: 6th
2001: 4th
2000: 10th
1999: 3rd
1998: N/K
1997: N/K
1996: N/K

Abertillery will be directed here by the talented Gareth Ritter who plays baritone for BAYV Cory and who has done excellent work with his young band in the past 12 months or so. They won this section way back in 1985 and in the last few years have put in a strong challenge coming 3rd in 1999, 4th in 2001 and 6th last year under J. Harris.

Aberystwyth Youth
A. Phillips

Last Year: DNC
Last Seven Years:
2002: DNC
2001: DNC
2000: 4th
1999: 4th
1998: N/K 4th Section
1997: 15th 3rd Section (rel)
1996: N/K

A real welcome return for Aberystwyth Youth who last competed at the Regional Championships in 2000 when they came 4th. That was the second time in a row they had just missed out on a podium place so they will be keen on their return to do well. They actually won this section way back in 1983, so a twentieth anniversary win would be great.

Blaenafon Concert
A. Hicks

Last Year: DNC
Last Seven Years:
2002: DNC
2001: DNC
2000: DNC
1999: 12th
1998: N/K 4th Section
1997: N/K 4th Section
1996: N/K

The second of the bands to hail from the small World Heritage town of Blaenafon (and home of 4BarsRest) Blaenafon make a welcome return to the contest stage after three years away. A young band with bags of enthusiasm and talent they will be directed by ex Tredegar cornet player Andy Hicks who directed them the last time they played when they came 12th in 1999.

J. Jones

Last Year: 12th
Last Seven Years:
2002: 12th
2001: 11th
2000: DNC
1999: DNC
1998: DNC
1997: DNC
1996: DNC

Crwbin make their third consecutive appearance at the Regionals after making their debut in 2001 when they came 11th. They came 12th last year so they will be hoping to make a mark and come a bit further up the prize list. Lets wish them well and hope they can do it.

Goodwick Brass
D. Wheeler

Last Year: 8th
Last Seven Years:
2002: 8th
2001: 7th
2000: DNC
1999: 15th
1998: DNC
1997: DNC
1996: DNC

Another band who are making their third consecutive appearance, Goodwick conducted by D. Wheeler came 15th on their debut in 1999 but didn’t compete the following year. Since then though they have held their own and came 7th in 2001 and 8th last year. Another good solid showing could well be on the cards.

Gwaun cae Gurwen
R. Williams

Last Year: 10th
Last Seven Years:
2002: 10th
2001: 10th 3rd Section (rel)
2000: 7th 3rd Section
1999: 12th 3rd Section
1998: 10th 2nd Section (rel)
1997: 8th 2nd Section
1996: 11th 2nd Section

One of the most famous names of all in Welsh banding, GCG as they are known were a fine Championship band in the 1950’s and came 6th at the Royal Albert Hall in the Championship Section in 1950 under F. Harris. Since those heady days though they have tended to play in the lower sections and dropped from the 2nd to the 3rd in 1999 and then down to the 4thin 2002. They were 10th last time out, but they will be keen for a big improvement this year. The road back to the Albert Hall starts here.

H. Evans

Last Year: 9th 3rd Section (rel)
Last Seven Years:
2002: 9th 3rd Section (rel)
2001: 9th 3rd Section
2000: 11th 3rd Section
1999: Winners (prom)
1998: DNC
1997: DNC
1996: DNC

Harlech were champions here in 1999 and went on to come 10th at the National Finals themselves. They struggled a little in the higher section though and after three years they find themselves back in the 4th where we think they will be able to mount a strong challenge.

Oakdale Silver
R. Probyn

Last Year: 4th
Last Seven Years:
2002: 4th
2001: 11th 3rd Section (rel)
2000: 11th 3rd Section
1999: 11th 3rd Section
1998: 3rd 3rd Section
1997: 13th 3rd Section
1996: 4th 3rd Section

Ron Probyn, one of the real stalwarts of Welsh banding has been conducting Oakdale for many years now and has done a great job in keeping the band going and providing his kids with good quality tuition. They spent most of the last few years in the 3rd Section, but were relegated in 2001 after a couple of bad results. They were 4th last time out here though so they could be pushing for a qualification spot. It would be just reward for a nice man and fine musician.

Ogmore Valley
I. Barnett

Last Year: 11th
Last Seven Years:
2002: 11th
2001: 10th
2000: 10th 3rd Section (rel)
1999: 8th 3rd Section
1998: 13th 3rd Section
1997: 6th 3rd Section
1996: N/K

Ivor Barnett is another real stalwart of the Welsh banding scene and he directed Ogmore into 11th place last year here. They were in the 3rd Section for a few years but came back down after a couple of bad results in 2001. Since then it’s been hard work but this could well the year in which they begin to prosper.

Porthaethwy Menai Bridge
C. Williams

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

Menai Bridge were runners up here last year and we think they could well be the band to beat this time. They were relegated from the3rd Section in 1999 after coming 9th here, but after taking a year away they returned in fine style and have improved ever since. 8th in 2001 and runners up in 2002. The winners podium looks like the next step.

Radyr and Morganstown
G. Hann

Last Year: 5th
Last Seven Years:
2002: 5th
2001: DNC
2000: DNC
1999: DNC
1998: DNC
1997: DNC
1996: DNC

The name of Mellingriffith returned to the contest stage for the first time in 25 years last year when this band finally made it back. Since then they have goe from strength to strength and with former Cory and Tredeger principal cornet Gareth Hann to direct them they have made remarkable progress. 5th last time out, they could well gain a qualification spot or possibly get the famous name on a bit of silverware for the first time sine 1978.

Severn Tunnel
R. Griffiths

Last Year: 9th
Last Seven Years:
2002: 9th
2001: 9th
2000: 5th
1999: 13th
1998: N/K 4th Section
1997: DNC
1996: N/K

Ex Tredegar bass player Rhodri Griffiths has been working hard with the Severn Tunnel band over the past twelve months or so and will make his debut with them at Swansea this weekend. The last few years have been a bit of a struggle here but they did come 5th in 2000. They will be keen to improve on their 9th places of the past two years though.

Ystradgynlais Public
A. Jones

Last Year: 13th
Last Seven Years:
2002: 13th
2001: DNC
2000: 12th
1999: 8th
1998: N/K 4th Section
1997: N/K 4th Section
1996: N/K

Ystradgynlais will make the short trip to Swansea hoping that they can come home with a higher placing than last year when they came bottom of the pile and 13th. They hadn’t competed in 2001 and struggled a bit in 2000 but they must be given full marks for keeping the banding tradition going in the town and making the big effort to come to the contest. We hope they are able to go back home with at least a couple of scalps to their name this time.

Past Winners:

2002: Conway Town
2001: Llanelli and District
2000: Beaumaris B
1999: Harlech
1998: Llanrug
1997: Glyneath
1996: Royal Oakeley
1995: Royal Oakeley
1994: Blaina
1993: Pontardulais Town
1992: Pontardulais Town
1991: Ammanford Town
1990: Cwm Town
1989: Newport Borough
1988: Llansaint Silver
1987: Ebbw Vale
1986: Ystrad Mynach
1985: Abertillery Silver
1984: Newtown
1983: Aberystwyth
1982: Usk Town
1981: Celynen Collieries
1980: No Contest
1979: Celynen Collieries
1978: Coedely Collieries
1977: Ammanford
1976: Ammanford
1975: Ynyshir - Tynmawr

Winning Conductors:

2002: K. Jones
2001: R. Owen
2000: F. Evans
1999: H. Evans
1998: F. Boylin
1997: A. Harris
1996: J. Jones
1995: J. Jones
1994: B. Williams
1993: H. Evans
1992: R. Evans
1991: G. Roberts
1990: D. Lewis

Test Pieces:

2002: Suite in B Flat – G. Jacobs
2001: Sinfonietta Pastorale – H. Geehl
2000: The Haslemere Suite – P. Graham
1999: Indian Summer – E. Ball
1998: Solemn Melody – Walford – Davies and Scenes from a Comedy - Hopkinson
1997: Pennine Moors – D. Barry
1996: Mexican Fiesta – R. Hanmer
1995: Little Suite for Brass No1 – M. Arnold
1994: The Journeyman – R. Steadman - Allen
1993: Impromptu
1992: The Seafarers


2002: C. Hardy
2001: A. Hope
2000: R. Roe
1999: L. Landry
1998: M. Brownbill
1997: D. Masters
1996: N/K
1995: R. Roe

Past Qualifiers:

2002: Conway Town, Porthaethwy Menai Bridge
2001: Llanelli and District, Briton Ferry
2000: Beaumaris B, Crosskeys
1999: Harlech, Blaenavon Town
1998: Llanrug, Cross Keys
1997: Glyneath, Royal Oakeley
1996: Royal Oakeley, Newbridge Celynen
1995: Royal Oakeley, Llanelli Town

Welsh bands at the Finals:

2002: 5th, 7th
2001: 4th, 18th
2000: 1st, 18th
1999: 3rd, 10th
1998: 14th, 16th

Last Years Result:

1. Conway Town – K. Jones 180pts
2. Porthaethwy Menai Bridge – G. Saynor 178pts
3. Glyneath Silver – W. Cross 176pts
4. Oakdale – R. Probyn 175pts
5. Radyr and Morganstown – G. Hann 174pts
6. Abertillery and District – J. Harris 173pts
7. Llanelli and District – R. Owen 172pts
8. Goodwick Brass – D. Wheeler 171pts
9. Severn Tunnel – J. Williams 170pts
10. Gwaun cae Gurwen – R. Williams 169pts
11. Ogmore Valley – I. Barnett 168pts
12. Crwbin – A. Jones 167pts
13. Ystradgynlais Public – A. Jones 166pts

4BR Prediction:

We think the North Wales hegemony will continue in the 4th Section for another year and we think the band to continue it will be the band that were runners up last year, Porthaethwy Menai Bridge. We also think that they will be pushed hard by Harlech, whilst Radyr and Morganstown should gain the last podium place. After that it will be a fight for us between Oakdale, Abertillery and Crwbin with Gwaun cae Gurwen as the band that could upset things as our dark horse. We’ll see.

1. Porthaethwy Menai Bridge
2. Harlech
3. Radyr and Morganstown
4. Oakdale
5. Abertillery
6. Crwbin

Dark Horse: Gwaun cae Gurwen


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