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2004 Welsh Regional Championships

Second Section:
13th March

Test Piece: Kaleidoscope – Philip Sparke
Adjudicator: Melvin White

Wales has a fine record of achievement in the Second Section on a national basis over the years, and can go back as far as 1949, when Rhyl Silver took the title. Since then, Lewis Merthyr, Pontardulais, Rogerstone, Tredegar, Penclawdd and Ammanford have all gone on to be victorious.

In recent year though, only Ammanford have saved the blushes of the Welsh at the contest, and last year in Dundee the two representatives, Penclawdd and Llanrug could only return home with 12th and 14th place. Both though were unlucky and should have come higher – especially Llanrug who we tipped to possibly win the title after hearing them play. Penclawdd have since been promoted, but Llanrug in particular will be looking to return to the Finals to make amends.

They will have to beat some decent bands though, with Conway and Ynyshir promoted up from the Third Section, and Markham coming down from the First. Many of the bands have shown good form of late as well, so with a fine testing set work, Melvin White may have a hard task to pick the winners.

Blaenavon Town
Conductor: G. Edwards

Last Eight Years:
2003: 4th (B. Davies)
2002: Winners 3rd Section (prom)
2001: 4th 3rd Section
2000: 6th 3rd Section
1999: 2nd 4th Section
1998: N/K 4th Section
1997: DNC
1996: N/K

The band from the home of 4BR came 4th last year, their first back in the section for a number of years, and although they are no longer in partnership with Bryn Davies, they will be looking to continue on their upward path under their new MD, G. Edwards.

The band won the Third Section here back in 1975, and repeated it 27 years later in 2002. They will be hoping that they won’t have to wait that long again before their name appears on the silverware again.

Briton Ferry
Conductor: C. Jenkins

Last Eight Years:
2003: 3rd (M. Faro)
2002: 2nd 3rd Section (prom)
2001: 2nd 4th Section (prom)
2000: 7th 4th Section
1999: 7th 4th Section
1998: N/K 4th Section
1997: N/K 4th Section
1996: N/K 4th Section

Briton Ferry are no longer directed by Mike Faro, so it will be interesting if new MD, C. Jenkins can carry on the great progress the band has made over the last few years and repeat or even better last year’s fine 3rd place.

They ended last year with a disappointing 19th place at Pontins, so can they shrug that off and start 2004 with a result that carries on their fine run here.

Conway Town
Conductor: K. Jones

Last Eight Years:
2003: 2nd in Third Section (prom) (K. Jones)
2002: Winners 4th Section (prom)
2001: 6th 4th Section
2000: DNC
1999: DNC
1998: DNC
1997: DNC
1996: DNC

Conway are certainly a band on the up. After many a year away from the Regionals they returned in 2001 where they came 6th in the Fourth Section, and then followed that with a win, promotion and a runners up place here in the Third last year.

That led the band to Dundee where they came a very creditable 6th place under Keith Jones so they will be looking to carry on making that sort of impression here this time around as well.

Conductor: N. Watson

Last Eight Years:
2003: 9th (J. Burns)
2002: 5th
2001: 2nd 3rd Section (prom)
2000: 5th 3rd Section
1999: 5th 3rd Section
1998: 8th 3rd Section
1997: 4th 3rd Section
1996: N/K

Neil Watson takes over the baton at Cwmbran, who will be looking to gain a first win at the contest here since 1979. They gained promotion from the Third Section under the direction of John Burns, but after coming a good 5th in 2002, they fell away somewhat to come 9th and last 12 months ago.

They will therefore need a good result to stop the threat of relegation, but with an experienced MD and some talented youngsters in the ranks they should be more than capable of doing it.

Conductor: W. Williams

Last Eight Years:
2003: 5th (R. Wyatt)
2002: 9th 1st Section (rel)
2001: 9th 1st Section
2000: 4th 1st Section
1999: 4th in 2nd Section (prom)
1998: 2nd in 2nd Section
1997: Winners 3rd Section (prom)
1996: Winners 3rd Section

Deiniolen had an amazing record at the contest in the mid 1990’s, when they had a hat trick of wins in the Third Section between 1995 and 1997. They followed that up with promotion right to the First Section, but returned to the second last year where they came a creditable 5th under R. Wyatt.

Roger Thorne took the band into 16th place at Pontins late last year, so they will make the trip down to Swansea determined to start 2004 off with a good result. Can they better last year’s effort though under new MD, W. Williams?

C. B. BuckleyLewis Merthyr
Conductor: C. B. Buckley

Last Eight Years:
2003: 7th (L. Harries)
2002: 4th
2001: DNC
2000: DNC
1999: DNC
1998: 8th Championship (rel)
1997: 7th Championship
1996: 4th 1st Section (prom)

Lewis Merthyr returned to the contest in 2002 after three years away when they went through the wringer a bit. Their welcome return was spearheadedby the popular Lawrence Harries who sadly died last year. He took then to 4th place on their return and 7th place last year, so the experienced Brian Buckley will be hoping to reverse the fortunes.

20 years ago the band won the Championship Section here under Denzil Stephens, and went on to represent Wales at the European Championships, so even though they could only manage 9th place at the Mineworkers Contest late last year, it would be great to report another triumph for them two decades after that most famous of wins.

G. SaynorLlanrug
Conductor: G. Saynor

Last Eight Years:
2003: Winners (G. Saynor)
2002: 3rd
2001: 3rd 3rd Section (prom)
2000: 2nd 3rd Section
1999: 7th 3rd Section
1998: Winners 4th Section (prom)
1997: 11th 3rd Section (rel)
1996: N/K

Last year’s winners return once more to take the title – and they must be one of the favourites to do so. That victory under the baton of YBS tuba star Gavin Saynor led them to Dundee (with camera crew) where they were very unlucky not to have come away with the top prize, as their efforts only found 14th place with the judges.

This experienced band though went on to win Pontins in fine style and we think they could well be the band to beat here this time as well.

Markham and District
Conductor: N. Seaman

Last Eight Years:
2003: 7th in First Section (rel) (A. Jones)
2002: 10th
2001: 4th 2nd Section (prom)
2000: 3rd 2nd Section
1999: 3rd 2nd Section
1998: 7th 2nd Section
1997: 5th 2nd Section
1996: 8th 2nd Section

Another famous Welsh banding name return back to the Second Section after their relegation of 2003. They found life a bit tougher in the First Section and late last year came 22nd out of 23 bands at Pontins.

Nigel Seaman though is a fine MD, and with the added bonus of Philippe Schartz on solo cornet from the National Orchestra of Wales, they will be confident of making an impression here and possibly gaining a qualification place for Harrogate into the bargain.

RAF St. Athan Voluntary
Conductor: A. Bourne

Last Eight Years:
2003: 6th (A. Bourne)
2002: 11th 1st Section (rel)
2001: 5th in Second Section (prom)
2000: 4th in Second Section
1999: Winners in Second Section
1998: 8th in Second Section
1997: 9th in Second Section
1996: 5th in Second Section

The band from the important airforce base in South Wales returned back to the Second Section after a hard outing in the more rarefied atmosphere of the First Section in 2002 where they could only come home 11th.

Alan Bourne continues to work hard with the band and 6th place last year was well deserved. They went on to come 13th at Pontins, so they can be expected to put up a confident showing here this time.

A. GibbsYnyshir Stack of Tiles
Conductor: A. Gibbs

Last Eight Years:
2003: 3rd in Third Section (prom) (A. Gibbs)
2002: 3rd in Third Section
2001: 7th in Third Section
2000: 9th in Third Section
1999: 2nd in Third Section
1998: 11th in Third Section
1997: 10th in Third Section
1996: 6th in Third Section

Ynyshir were Fourth Section Champions here way back in 1975, and although they haven’t got their name back on the winners roll of honour since, they came mighty close in 1999 and again in both 2002 and 2003.

Alan Gibbs has really developed the band well in the last few years and last year they were very close indeed to gaining a trip to Scotland for the Finals. At the end of last year they came 6th at the Mineworkers Contest, so we think they will be looking to make a mark in the higher section here.

Results archive:
Full results of previous year's contests together with a results summary can be found in our results archive.

Past Qualifiers:

2003: Llanrug, Penclawdd
2002: Penclawdd, Rhyl
2001: Royal Oakeley, Ammanford Town
2000: Rogerstone, Rhyl
1999: RAF St. Athans, Pontardulais Town
1998: Pontardulais, Deiniolen
1997: Rhos, Treherbert and District
1996: Burry Port, Rhos
1995: Burry Port, Rhos

Welsh bands at the Finals:

2003: 12th, 14th
2002: 10th, 17th
2001: 1st, 16th
2000: 13th, 14th
1999: 5th, 12th
1998: 5th, 10th

4BR Prediction:

Another close run thing this one. A couple of bands do stand out as the favourites though and it would be a brave man to bet against Llanrug and Gavin Saynor making it two in a row here this year. They have the experienced players to really make the most of a difficult set work, so we think they will be booking another trip to the Finals (although we don’t know if the camera crew will be going too).

Behind them we think it could be a close run thing between Markham and Deiniolen, with Ynyshir, RAF St Athan and Briton Ferry making up the top six. Our dark horse tip is Conway.

1. Llanrug
2. Markham
3. Deiniolen
4. Ynyshir Welfare
5. RAF St. Athan
6. Briton Ferry

Dark Horses: Conway Town

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