Welsh Regional Championship
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Brangwyn Hall, Swansea
Saturday 16th March
Adjudicator: Colin Hardy
Bands: Blaenavon Town (B. Davies): Briton Ferry (M. Faro): Crosskeys
Silver (L. Bowden): Ebbw Vale (C. Thomas): Harlech (H. Evans): Newbridge Celynen
(K. Gibbs): Pontypool Brass (M. Jones): Royal Buckley (D. Roberts): Trefor (G.
Jones): Ynyshir Welfare Stack of Tiles (A. Gibbs)
Ten of the best Third
Section bands line up to take the short trip across the River Severn and down
the road to Cornwall to tackle Kenneth Downie's "St Austell Suite" -
an a very enjoyable trip it should be as well.
There is a good mixture of
bands here in this section with three from the north, one that has just been relegated
and two who have just been promoted, so the contest should be close. The bands
will have to try and catch the ear of Colin Hardy, who has a lot of experience
at this level and he will surely be looking for the bands that can master the
basics and add a sprinkling of good quality Welsh musicality to the piece. Cornwall
and Wales share a lot in common so hopefully the bands will get to grips with
it with relish.
Blaenavon Town came up from the Fourth Section following
their promotion in 2000 and came 6th in their first year and 4th last year, so
they are heading in the right direction. They have also been busy on the local
contesting scene and came 2nd at Burry Port, Weston and Ebbw Vale and won Treochy,
so they could well be in with a shout.
Briton Ferry are a band that has
really improved over the last year or so and come to the contest after a very
successful 2001 in which they were promoted from the lower section, came 4th at
the National Finals, won the Ebbw Vale contest and were 2nd at both Burry Port
and Treorchy. They will be hoping the good form continues into 2002. Crosskeys
meanwhile were promoted from the fourth section following their 2nd place in 2000
and they held their own here last year when they came 5th. They were 9th at Burry
Port and won Ebbw Vale, so they be looking to maintain their progress.
Vale were 6th last year after being relegated from the second section following
two years in which they had come 10th and 7th and so they will be looking for
a repeat of their win here in this section in 1998. They came 11th at Pontins
and won the Burry Port and came 5th at their home town contest in the 2nd section.
Harlech has made steady progress in the two years in this section following their
promotion as champions in 1999 and were 11th in 2000 and 9th last year. They will
be looking to extend that upward trend on the weekend.
Newbridge Celynen are back in the third section for the first time
since they were relegated in 1998. These three years they came 8th,
3rd and 3rd last year pushed them back. Conducted by ex Black Dyke
trombone player Kevin Gibbs, they won the Burry Port contest and
came 2nd at Treorchy and 3rd at both Weston and Ebbw Vale. Pontypool
meanwhile didn't compete last year after promising so much in coming
3rd the year before. That followed their relegation from the second
section the year before, so they will be keen to return back as
soon as possible. They were 5th at the Ebbw Vale contest last year.
Royal Buckley also didn't compete last year
and are therefore a welcome returnee to the contesting field, although they have
been relegated as a result. They survived quite comfortably in the higher section
and came 6th in 1999, 9th in 2000 and 5th in 2001. They didn't compete at last
year's Pontins so they are a bit of a mystery for us at the moment.
Trefor are in this section following relegation after they came
7th in the second section last year and didn't compete the year
before. Another band we don't know a great deal about in contesting
terms so they also come to the competition as a mystery package.
Ynyshir Welfare, Stack of Tiles have been a busy band in the last
year and have also been solid performers in this section over the
past four years in which they have come 11th in '97, 2nd in '98,
9th in '99 and 7th last year. They won at Treorchy in the second
section and came 3rd at both Weston and Ebbw Vale and 4th at Burry
Port. A band to possibly look out for.
4. Blaenavon Town
5. Crosskeys Silver
6. Ebbw Vale
1. Briton Ferry
2. Ynyshir Welfare
3. Bleanvaon Town
5. Newbridge Celynen
6. Ebbw Vale
Dark Horse: Harlech