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2004 Welsh Regional Championships

Fourth Section
Sunday 14th March

Test Piece: Partita – Edward Gregson
Adjudicator: Steve Pritchard - Jones

The Fourth Section has been a bit of a barren wasteland of national success over the years for the Welsh. Beaumaris won the title both in 1991 and 2000 (with their B band), but before that you have to go back to 1971 and the victory of Ebbw Vale, and before that to 1957 and Gwaun Cae Gurwen. In fact there has only been other victory at this level, and that was in the real black and white high pitched instrument days of 1953 when Ystalyfera Public took the title. The Welsh as a nation are not great travellers, but this has been a pretty lamentable record.

Last year, Harlech and Ogmore Silver were flag bearers in Scotland, but they could only come away with a 6th and 8th – not bad, (that was the sixth consecutive year the Welsh had claimed a top six place), but in reality they were not close to taking home the top prize.

There is some good as well as bad news at the contest this year as well. The good news is that Abergynolwyn, Cwmtawe Youth and Holywell make their debuts, whilst Glyneath, Newport Borough and Llwycoed return. The bad is always that we lose someone, and this time Blaenafon Concert and Oakdale are missing.

Still, it should be a fine contest for Steve Pritchard - Jones to adjudicate upon, so lets hope 2004 signals a further improvement in the musical health of the Welsh at this level, and the possibility that whoever gets the nod for Harrogate will be able to push for a long overdue sixth National title.

Conductor: A. Williams

Last Eight Years: Debut

It’s always nice to report that a new brass band makes it’s contesting debut, and so we wish Abergynolwyn all the best on their first appearance here.

Aberystwyth Youth
Conductor: A. Phillips

Last Eight Years:
2003: 4th (A. Phillips)
2002: DNC
2001: DNC
2000: 4th
1999: 4th
1998: N/K 4th Section
1997: 15th 3rd Section (rel)
1996: N/K
Aberystwyth Youth return for the second successive year under the baton of A. Phillips, and they will be confident of possibly claiming one of the qualification places on offer for Harrogate. Three consecutive fourth places here in their last three appearances will be something they will want to improve upon.

Crwbin Enzo Construction
Conductor: A. Jones

Last Eight Years:
2003: 13th (J. Jones)
2002: 12th
2001: 11th
2000: DNC
1999: DNC
1998: DNC
1997: DNC
1996: DNC

The exotically named Crwbin Enzo Construction will be certainly hoping for an upturn in fortunes at this contest, after three years in which they have dropped further down the prize list. Last year they touched rock bottom, so given their new found lease of life under their sponsors they will be looking to put down some firm foundations and build for success.

Conductor: W. Cross

Last Eight Years:
2003: DNC
2002: 3rd
2001: 5th
2000: 11th
1999: 13th in Third Section (rel)
1998: 9th
1997: Winners Fourth Section (prom)
1996: 3rd

Glyneath didn’t compete here last year, but return hoping to start up again where they left off in fine style in 2002 when they came 3rd. Before that they won they section back in 1997, so they have shown that they know what is needed to succeed here. Bill Cross conducts them again.

Goodwick Brass
Conductor: D. Wheeler

Last Eight Years:
2003: 9th (D. Wheeler)
2002: 8th
2001: 7th
2000: DNC
1999: 15th
1998: DNC
1997: DNC
1996: DNC

Goodwick are another band that have dropped away a little over the last three years here. 7th place in 2001 has been followed by 8th in 2002 and 9th last year, so they too will be looking for an improvement.

Gwaun Cae Gurwen
Conductor: R. Williams

Last Eight Years:
2003: 10th (R. Williams)
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

A real famous old brass banding name both in Wales and the UK return once more hoping to gain some success to add to a long historical CV that includes Championship Section wins here in the 1950’s and placings at the British Open in the 1920’s. 10th place in the last two years means they have possibly laid down the foundations for a leap up the prize table.

Conductor: D. Davies

Last Eight Years: Debut

Another band from the North of the Principality who are making their debut here this year. It’s a long trip down from the island of Angelsey, but we hope it won’t be in vain. Good luck to them.

Conductor: A. Davies

Last Eight Years:
2003: DNC
2002: DNC
2001: DNC
2000: DNC
1999: 14th
1998: N/K
1997: N/K
1996: N/K

A welcome return for the band that hails from just outside Merthyr Tydfil. Alan Davies has been working hardwith the band, developing a lot of talented youngsters, so they could be ready to make their mark here and possibly gain their first bit of silverware since they were Third Section Champions back in 1983.

Newport Borough
Conductor: M. Davies

Last Eight Years:
2003: DNC
2002: DNC
2001: 6th in Second Section (rel)
2000: 7th in Second Section
1999: 6th in Second Section
1998: 4th in Second Section
1997: 4th in Second Section
1996: 10th in Second Section

Newport make a return back here for the first time since 2001, when the band were riding high in the Second Section under Steve Legge and Mark Hutcherson of Tredegar and BTM. Those couple of years away have meant that they have dropped down the sections, so they start off their new campaign at the bottom of the contesting tree. Lets hope they start to regain former glories.

Ogmore Valley
Conductor: I. Barnett

Last Eight Years:
2003: 2nd (I. Barnett)
2002: 11th
2001: 10th
2000: 10th 3rd Section (rel)
1999: 8th 3rd Section
1998: 13th 3rd Section
1997: 6th 3rd Section
1996: N/K

Ogmore claimed the runners up spot here last year, and that led them to an appearance at the National Finals in Scotland where they put up a decent showing in coming 8th under the popular MD Ivor Barnett. That was a great iprovement on the previous two years, and they will certainly be looking for a repeat or even improvement to gain their first title here for well over 25 years.

Pontypool Brass
Conductor: M. Jones

Last Year: 9th in Third Section (rel)
Last Eight Years:
2003: 9th in Third Section (rel) (M. Jones)
2002: 6th
2001: DNC
2000: 3rd
1999: 8th 2nd Section (rel)
1998: 9th 2nd Section
1997: 6th 2nd Section
1996: 7th 2nd Section

Pontypool have dropped through the sections of late – they were doing well enough in the Second Section back in 1997 and nearly returned there a year later. Apart from that though they have gradually fallen away and this year is in the Fourth Section for the first time in living memory. They will though be hopeful of returning back to winning ways and possibly recording their first title victory here since they were crowned Second Section winners in 1995.

Radyr and Morganstown
Conductor: G. Hann

Last Eight Years:
2003: 4th (G. Hann)
2002: 5th
2001: DNC
2000: DNC
1999: DNC
1998: DNC
1997: DNC
1996: DNC

Possible favourites to take the title, and to add another Welsh title victory to a famous old banding name herein the Principality. Those with longer memories will remember the name of Mellingriffith, and Radyr are direct descendents of them. 5th in 2002, 4th last year. Can they go at least two places better and gain a trip to Harrogate?

Severn Tunnel
Conductor: A. MacDonald

Last Eight Years:
2003: 6th (R. Griffiths)
2002: 9th
2001: 9th
2000: 5th
1999: 13th
1998: N/K 4th Section
1997: DNC
1996: N/K

The band that hails from a railway depot and long tunnel under the Severn, will be looking to make another improvement in their fortunes here. A. MacDonald who took Rogerstone to some success a little while ago, take over the baton from Rhodri Griffths, and the band will be looking to push for a podium place at least.

Vale of Glamorgan
Conductor: D. Short

Last Eight Years:
2003: 11th in Third Section (rel) (D. Short)
2002: DNC
2001: 8th
2000: 8th
1999: 10th
1998: N/K 4th Section (prom)
1997: 3rd 4th Section
1996: 4th 4th Section

Vale of Glamorgan return to the Fourth section for the first time since 1998. Since that promotion they found life a bit tough in the higher section, so it will be interesting to see how they get on. David Short takes the band here again this year, and they will be looking for a good result.

Ystradgynlais Public
Conductor: A. Morgan

Last Eight Years:
2003: 11th (A. Jones)
2002: 13th
2001: DNC
2000: 12th
1999: 8th
1998: N/K 4th Section
1997: N/K 4th Section
1996: N/K

They may have only moved up two places last year, but it was two places in the right direction for Ystradgynlais. A new MD in the shape of A. Morgan will be looking to keep up that forward momentum, so a top 10 place is the least of their ambitions.

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

Past Qualifiers:

2003: Harlech, Ogmore Valley
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:

2003: 6th, 8th
2002: 5th, 7th
2001: 4th, 18th
2000: 1st, 18th
1999: 3rd, 10th
1998: 14th, 16th

4BR Prediction:

The last couple of years in the Fourth section have proved to be both enjoyable and exciting for the average neutral listener. We think this year won’t be the exception either as there are plenty of bands more than capable of winning here on the day if things go right for them.

With that in mind we therefore go for a first victory under a new name for the Radyr and Morganstown Band, followed by Aberystwyth Youth to join them on the trip to Harrogate. Behind them should be a close old scrap, but we opt for Ogmore to take third place, followed by Gwaun Cae Gurwen, Severn Tunnel and Goodwick. Our dark horses are Llwydcoed.

1. Radyr and Morganstown
2. Aberystwyth Youth
3. Ogmore Valley
4. Gwaun Cae Gurwen
5. Severn Tunnel
6. Goodwick

Dark Horse: Llwydcoed

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