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2004 Welsh Regional Championships

4BR casts it eye over the runners and rider of the Welsh Regional Championships, which takes place over the weekend of 13th/14th March.

Brangwyn Hall, Swansea
Saturday 13th March
Sections: 1, 2, 3
Sunday 14th March
Sections: Championship, 4

There is a real sense that something is happening with Welsh banding at present, although it seems to be happening primarily in the Championship Section.

For the first time ever, four bands from the Principality will compete at the National Finals in the Albert Hall in October, after both Tredegar and BAYV Cory booked automatic qualification places on the strength of their 2nd and 3rd places respectively on “Enigma Variations”. With two other places up for grabs, the Top Section contest come Sunday 14th will be one to savour.

Elsewhere though, things don’t look quite as rosy. The decision to drop the “Champion Band of Wales” title from the series of three local contests in South Wales means the future of contesting in the Principality away from Swansea could be in terminal decline, as there is now very little for the bands even at the lowest levels to actually play for. That may also account for the pretty poor showing at the Lower Section National Finals in Dundee, where the Welsh could only come away with two 6th places for the efforts of the eight travellers.

There is a feeling that there is a need for a regarding in the lower sections if those results are not to be repeated at Harrogate again this year, although this would possibly cause problems as only the Fourth section has a proper contesting “quorum”. There is some good news though, as there are at least three new bands at the contest this year, which boosts the numbers competing up to 56 this year.

Alan Gibbs and his excellent team will be pleased with that, but if there is to be a real renaissance in the Welsh Banding, then it should come from the bottom up, and not as it appears at the moment, from the top down.

Number of competing bands:

2003: 51
2002: 47
2001: 47
2000: 49
1999: 55
1998: 58
1997: 56

Other Years:

1994: 48
1993: 39
1990: 40
1989: 42
1987: 47
1986: 45
1985: 42
1983: 39
1978: 46

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