2008 Welsh Regional Championship - First Section: Runners & Riders


Not quite James Hook outside half, but James Cook Circumnavigator for the bands to tackle here to claim a place at Harrogate.

BrangSaturday 8th March
Adjudicator: Alan Morrison
Test Piece: James Cook - Circumnavigator – Gilbert Vinter

Commences: Follows Second Section 

AbergavennyAbergavenny Borough
Gareth Ritter

Last 12 Years:
2007: DNC
2006: 9th in Championship Section (N. Weeks) (rel)
2005: 10th (A. Williams)
2004: 8th in First Section (P. Harper) (prom)
2003: 2nd (L. Price)
2002: Winners of First Section (D. Childs)
2001: 6th (B. Howard)
2000: 7th (B. Howard)
1999: 4th
1998: 6th
1997: 8th
1996: Winners of First Section

A welcome return to the contest for Abergavenny after they failed to make it to the starting line last year. 

The band has been rebuilding of late but has still put in some decent performances such as at Porthcawl where although they came 9th there were signs that they were back on track. Still have plenty of good players in the ranks and a talented MD at the helm – it may prove beneficial on the weekend.    

Ammanford Town
Jayne Thomas 

Last 12 Years:
2007: DNC
2006: DNC
2005: 4th (C. Hogg)
2004: 5th (C. Hogg)
2003: 5th (C. Hogg)
2002: 7th (C. Hogg)
2001: 2nd in Second Section (T. Jenkins) (prom)
2000: 6th (J. Davies)
1999: 7th
1998: DNC
1997: 6th (rel)
1996: 6th 

Another band making a welcome return, Ammanford has also been rebuilding this time under the baton of Jayne Thomas.

They made their first appearance of the season at Pothcawl and even though they eventually came 11th there were signs there that the structures are in place to start back on the road to recovery. Plenty of enthusiasm and no shortage of talent, a good solid result could be more good news this weekend.      

Gwyn Evans

Last 12 Years:
2007: 2nd in Second Section (G. Evans) (prom)
2006: Winners of Third Section (P. Hughes) (prom)
2005: DNC
2004: 3rd (P. Hughes)
2003: 6th (P. Hughes)
2002: DNC
2001: Winners of Third Section
2000: Winners of Fourth Section
1999: DNC
1998: DNC
1997: DNC
1996: DNC

The organisation of Beaumaris may have changed with something of an amalgamation of their two bands, but the results are the same – good quality solid banding.

They pushed very close to winning the Second Section at Harrogate and have improved since then – especially if the form at Porthcawl a few weeks ago is anything to go by. There they beat a number of championship bands to claim 3rd place under the direction of Morten E. Hansen. They should looking to come in the prizes here once again then. 

Gavin Saynor

Last 12 Years:
2007: 7th (G. Saynor)
2006: 8th (W. Williams)
2005: Winners of Second Section (G. Saynor) (prom)
2004: 4th (W. Williams)
2003: 5th (R. Wyatt)
2002: 9th in First Section (J. Cant) (rel)
2001: 9th (E. Landon)
2000: 4th (R. Wyatt)
1999: 4th in Second Section (prom)
1998: 2nd
1997: Winners of Third Section (prom)
1996: Winners of Third Section 

Gavin Saynor continues to work wonders at Deiniolen and is ensuring that the band prospers under his careful and talented tutelage.

In the last two years they have improved with solid performances, and perhaps they could count themselves a touch unlucky not to have come higher last time out. They are up against a strong field this year again but you sense they will move closer to the podium places once more.  

MarkhamMarkham and District
Adrian Morton

Last 12 Years:
2007: 6th (N.Seaman)
2006: 4th (N. Seaman)
2005: 7th (N. Seaman)
2004: 2nd in Second Section (N. Seaman) (prom)
2003: 7th in First Section (A. Jones) (rel)
2002: 10th (N. Seaman)
2001: 4th in Second Section (N. Seaman) (prom)
2000: 3rd (N. Seaman)
1999: 3rd
1998: 7th
1997: 5th
1996: 8th 

No Nigel Seaman this year to direct Markham as he continues his recovery in the Midlands from being run over by a wayward female driver before Christmas! He will be heartened to learn though that Markham are continuing on their way in pretty good form and were Welsh League runners up in 2007. 

At Butlins they came 7th, to carry on the good work of a pretty impressive last 12 months or so. They have been strong contenders here in the last few years too, so expectations will be high to get back to Harrogate for the first time since 2004.   

NewbridgeNewbridge Celynen
Paul Holland 

Last 12 Years:
2007: Winners of Second Section (P. Holland) (prom)
2006: Winners of Second Section (P. Holland)
2005: 2nd in Third Section (P. Holland) (prom)
2004: 4th (P. Holland)
2003: Winners of Third Section (P. Holland)
2002: 8th (K. Gibbs)
2001: 3rd in Fourth Section (K. Gibbs) (prom)
2000: 3rd (D. Short)
1999: 8th
1998: 12th in Third Section (rel)
1997: 14th
1996: 2nd in Fourth Section (prom)

The form horse now for some time in the lower sections. Newbridge can put the frighteners up championship bands now and showed that at Porthcawl recently where they beat everyone except Tredegar to claim second place under Frank Renton.

If they play like that then last year’s Second Section National winners will be making yet another trip back to Harrogate for sure.   

Tony Small

Last 12 Years:
2007: 4th (T. Small)
2006: 2nd (T. Small)
2005: 8th (T. Small)
2004: 3rd (T. Small)
2003: 2nd in Second Section (T. Small) (prom)
2002: Winners of Second Section (N. Seaman)
2001: 8th in First Section (T. Small) (rel)
2000: 6th (T. Small)
1999: 6th
1998: 7th
1997: 8th in Championship Section (rel)
1996: 8th 

Great to see Tony Small continuing to produce a never ending supply line of brass band talent in the West Wales outpost of Penclawdd. The number of players who have benefited from his teaching must run into the thousands now.

The current crop has been maturing nicely for some time and could well be in shape to push for a qualification place once more. They were good value for their 4th place here last year and if they have upped their form since then it could be enough to force their way into the prizes at least.   

PontPontardulais Town
Paul Jenkins

Last 12 Years:
2007: 5th (P. Jenkins)
2006: 5th (P. Jenkins)
2005: 3rd (A. Jones)
2004: 4th (M. Faro)
2003: 8th (D. Mahoney)
2002: 6th (B. Buckley)
2001: 5th (B. Buckley)
2000: 3rd (B. Buckley)
1999: 2nd in Second Section (prom)
1998: Winners of Second Section
1997: 2nd in Third Section (prom)
1996: 3rd 

The 2007 Welsh League champions from the Bont continue to improve under the talented stewardship of Paul Jenkins and they put in a fine account of themselves at both Butlins where they came 8th and Porthcawl recently where they eventually ended up in 8th place against a strong field of rivals.

That should hold them in good stead here and if they can maintain that form then they will be confident of pushing for a podium place once again. 

RAFRAF St. Athan Voluntary
Alan Bourne

Last 12 Years:
2007: 8th (A. Bourne)
2006: 3rd in Second Section (A. Bourne) (prom)
2005: 2nd (A. Bourne)
2004: 3rd (A. Bourne)
2003: 6th (A. Bourne)
2002: 11th in First Section (A. Bourne) (rel)
2001: 5th in Second Section (A. Bourne) (prom)
2000: 4th (A. Bourne)
1999: Winners of Second Section
1998: 8th
1997: 9th
1996: 5th 

Alan Bourne continues to do some fine work with the lads and lasses at RAF St Athan, and although they could only manage 8th place last year that was something of a blip in what has been a pretty consistent period of success for the band. 

They came 10th at Porthcawl against a strong field but there were signs there that they could well fancy their chances on the weekend with plenty of solid playing on display. If they win they may even get a fly past by the Red Arrows – you never know. 

Thomas Coaches Mid Rhondda
Alan Gibbs

Last 12 Years:
2007: 3rd (A. Gibbs)
2006: 6th (A. Gibbs)
2005: 9th in Championship Section (A. Gibbs) (rel)
2004: 7th (A. Gibbs)
2003: 8th (A. Gibbs)
2002: 2nd in First Section (A. Gibbs) (prom)
2001: 9th (N. Seaman) (rel)
2000: 9th (N. Seaman)
1999: 8th
1998: Winners of First Section
1997: 4th
1996: 2nd

Alan Gibbs and Mid Rhondda continue to work hard and prosper in the First Section – testament to good solid virtues of brass band conducting from the MD. 

They were perhaps a touch unlucky last year not to get the nod to go to Harrogate and will be determined to put that particular record straight, whilst they showed in coming 7th at Porthcawl that they are getting towards the right form at the right time.     

Past Qualifiers:

2007: Northop Silver, Treherbert
2006: Northop Silver, Penclawdd
2005: Parc and Dare, Wrexham Brass
2004: Parc and Dare, Wrexham Brass
2003: Treherbert and District, Abergavenny Borough
2002: Abergavenny Borough, Thomas Coaches Mid Rhondda
2001: Beaumaris, Treherbert and District
2000: Rhos Silver, Tongwynlais Temperance
1999: Burry Port, Rhos Silver
1998: Thomas Coahes Mid Rhondda, Rhos Silver
1997: Beaumaris, Burry Port
1996: Abergavenny, Thomas Coaches Mid Rhondda
1995: Beaumaris, Tongwynlais Temperance

Welsh Bands at the Finals:

2007: 2nd, 11th
2006: 8th, 10th
2005: 5th, 10th
2004: 2nd, 13th
2003: 13th, 16th
2002: 2nd, 11th
2001: 3rd, 12th
2000: 10th, 16th
1999: 6th, 14th
1998: 11th, 14th   

4BR Prediction:

This looks to be a fine contest in the making this year with a number of quality bands that are more than capable of winning let alone gaining one of the two qualification places that are up for grabs. 

Given the form shown early this season then it would be foolish to ignore the claims of Newbridge once more, whilst Beaumaris will also be strong contenders too. If both show the form that was on display in Porthcawl then it will be a bun fight between them for the first prize.

Close on their heels though could be the likes of Mid Rhondda, Markham, Deiniolen and Penclawdd with Abergavenny as our dark horse. 

1. Newbridge (Celynen)
2. Beaumaris
3. Mid Rhondda
4. Markham & District
5. Deiniolen
6. Penclawdd

Dark Horse: Abergavenny


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