2010 Welsh Regional Championship - Fourth Section: Runners & Riders


The Welsh quite like all things French even though they beat them at the rugby this year

BrangSunday 21st March
Adjudicator: Colin Hardy
Test Piece: Saint Saens Variations (Philip Sparke)
Draw: 10.00am  
Commences: 11.00am

Wales has an enduring affinity to all things French – especially the way in which they play rugby, and the money they take from the English for crossing into Wales on the bridge they own over the River Severn.


Flair and imagination is appreciated in these parts – and that will certainly be the case when the bands get to grips with Philip Sparke’s wonderful test piece.

This is a piece of Gallic magic – a bit like Serge Blanco running from behind his own line with ball hand and a motley batch of English forwards in front of him…

That said, looking great takes hard work.

Monsieur Blanco may have smoked 40 a day even in his prime but he didn’t exactly shirk the hard work in training either.  The bands will have to do the same if they are to overcome the tricky, but immensely enjoyable challenges the composer has set in their way and gain a place at Harrogate in September.

Flag flying

And when they get there they will have a bit more work to do if they are to fly the flag for Wales in triumph.

The record at Harrogate isn’t great of late – although bands have had a couple of top ten finishes in the last two years. You have to go back to 2000 for the last time the Fourth Section national title came back across Offa’s Dyke.


These nine bands should enjoy the task ahead though, with three debutants and two returnees in the field.

Last year’s winners Pontypool, will be looking to return to Harrogate once again (they came 8th there) boosted by their 2nd place at Blaenavon and their runner up placing in the Welsh League.

Upper Rhondda Brass meanwhile will be hoping that Nigel Seaman’s experience will prove beneficial as they continue to mature nicely after last year’s 4th place.  


Great to see Michael Thorne return with the baton this time with Crwbin, as they look to claim a long overdue finals spot, whilst Newport Borough returns hoping to put behind them the mystery of their 7th place last year. A good result at the Gloucester contest in the Second Section shows that they could be the band to beat.


Of the returnees, it is also good to see Ron Probyn bring back Oakdale after a couple of years away as they build on their promising showing at Blaenavon late last year, whilst Rhyl Silver also make a welcome re-appearance at the contest  for the first time since 2005, boosted by a podium finish at the North Wales Open.


That leaves the debutant trio of Abertillery Youth, who made a highly promising debut at the Blaenavon contest late last year, Mellingriffith 2 under the baton of Tredegar’s appropriately named Dewi Griffths, and Ruthin Town who come to the contest directed by euphonium star John Powell just a couple of years after being reformed.

As for a winner?

Always a difficult one to predict at this level, but Newport Borough look to be the band to beat, with a close old battle to see who joins them in Harrogate between, Mellingriffith 2, Pontypool and Upper Rhondda Brass.

Hard to predict what Ruthin Town, Crwbin and the rest will do, so look out for a few surprises.  
4BR Prediction:
1. Newport Borough
2. Mellingriffith 2
3. Pontypool
4. Upper Rhondda Brass
5. Ruthin Town
6. Crwbin

Dark Horses: Abertillery Youth

Abertillery Youth
Dean Evans

Last 14 Years:

M. Thorne

Last 14 Years:
2009: 5th (R. Davies)
2008: 7th (C. John)
2007: 4th (C. John)
2006: 14th (A. Jones)
2005: 10th (A. Jones)
2004: 13th (A. Jones)
2003: 13th (J. Jones)
2002: 12th (J. Jones)
2001: 11th (J. Jones)
2000: DNC
1999: DNC
1998: DNC
1997: DNC
1996: DNC

Mellingriffith 2
Dewi Griffiths

Last 14 Years:


NewportNewport Borough
Alun Hathaway

Last 14 Years:
2009: 7th (A. Hathaway)
2008: 3rd (M. Davies)
2007: 10th (M. Davies)
2006: 8th (M. Davies)
2005: 12th (M. Davies)
2004: DNC
2003: DNC
2002: DNC
2001: 6th in Second Section (A. Williams) (rel)
2000: 7th (L. Baglin)
1999: 6th
1998: 4th
1997: 4th
1996: 10th

Oakdale Silver
Ron Probyn

Last 14 Years:
2009: DNC
2008: DNC
2007: 7th (R. Probyn)
2006: 12th (R. Probyn)
2005: 9th (R. Probyn)
2004: DNC
2003: 8th (R. Probyn)
2002: 4th (R. Probyn)
2001: 11th in Third Section (R. Probyn) (rel)
2000: 11th (R. Probyn)
1999: 11th
1998: 3rd
1997: 13th
1996: 4th

PontypoolPontypool Brass
Patrick O’Leary

Last 14 Years:

2009: Winners (P. O’Leary)
2008: DNC
2007: 9th (P. Hallahan)
2006: 6th (J. Pippen)
2005: 4th (J. Pippen)
2004: 9th (M. Jones)
2003: 9th in Third Section (rel) (M. Jones)
2002: 6th (M. Jones)
2001: DNC
2000: 3rd in Third Section (A. Williams)
1999: 8th in Second Section (rel)
1998: 9th in Second Section
1997: 6th in Second Section
1996: 7th in Second Section

Rhyl Silver
M. Robinson  

Last 14 Years:
2009: DNC
2008: DNC
2007: DNC
2006: DNC
2005: 7th in Second Section (M. Owen) (rel)
2004: 6th First Section (rel) (G. Westwood)
2003: 9th (N. Birch)
2002: 2nd in Second Section (prom) (L. Lawrie)
2001: 3rd (L. Lawrie)
2000: 2nd (L. Lawrie)
1999: Winners of Third Section (prom)
1998: 5th
1997: 9th
1996: 2nd

Upper Rhondda
Nigel Seaman

Last 14 Years:

2009: 4th (T. Davoren)
2008: 6th (A. Jones)
2007: 5th (R. Griffiths)
2006: 7th (J. Tanaka)
2005: 14th (W. Williams)

Past Qualifiers:

2009: Pontypool, Ebbw Vale
2008: Crosskeys Silver, Severn Tunnel
2007: Crosskeys Silver, Gwaun Cae Gurwen (Blaenafon Concert withdrew before the finals)
2006: Llwydcoed, Crosskeys Silver
2005: Royal Oakley, Llwydcoed
2004: Radyr and Morganstown, Goodwick Brass
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:

2009: 8th, 11th
2008: 8th, 14th
2007: 15th, 17th
2006: 3rd, 19th
2005: 10th, 11th
2004: 4th, 18th
2003: 6th, 8th
2002: 5th, 7th
2001: 4th, 18th
2000: 1st, 18th
1999: 3rd, 10th
1998: 14th, 16th  


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