2007 Welsh Regional Championship - Championship Section


Can anyone stop Buy As You View from claiming their first double hat trick of titles here on the weekend. The odds are stacked very much in their favour.

Sunday 18th March
Adjudicator: Geoffrey Whitham
Test Piece: Isaiah 40 Robert Redhead

Commences: After 4th Section
Draw: 1.00pm

Jason Katsikaris 
4BR Ranking:  29

Last 11 Years:
2006: 6th (J. Katsikaris)
2005: 2nd (B. Hurdley)
2004: 5th (D. Stowell)
2003: 4th (D. Stowell)
2002: 6th (D. Stowell)
2001: 7th (G. Pritchard)
2000: 4th (G. Pritchard)
1999: DNC
1998: 2nd
1997: 4th
1996: 3rd

It may be asking a bit much of BTM to claim their first Regional win here since 1993, but they are currently the best equipped of BAYV's rivals to push them all the way.

Since the Australian Jason Katsikaris arrived the band has made real progress and they ended 2006 as runners up at Pontins and then came 3rd at Yeovil and winners at Porthcawl. They are now full of confidence and it isn't misplaced, although they will have to up their game here from the form they showed 12 months ago. Kensington could well beckon if they do.  

bURRYBurry Port Town
Michael Thorne
4BR Ranking: 30

Last 11 Years:
2006: 2nd (M. Thorne)
2005: 7th (M. Thorne)
2004: 8th (D. Evans)
2003: 3rd (D. Evans)
2002: 5th (P. Bailey)
2001: 8th (M. Thorne)
2000: 7th (M. Thorne)
1999: Winners of First Section
1998: 3rd in First Section
1997: 2nd in First Section
1996: Winners of Second Section

Burry Port were excellent value for their runners up spot last year although nerves got to them at the Finals somewhat and they came 20th and bottom of the pile. That should not take away from the fact that they are a band very much on the up as they showed during 2006 and have plenty of very fine young players in the ranks and a quality MD.

They recently came 3rd at Porthcawl, which was a decent warm up but they also came behind two of their rivals for those priceless qualification places. Can they turn the tables on BTM and Parc & Dare then and send themselves back to London in October? They have the talent if they can play to form. 

BAYBuy As You View 
Dr. Robert Childs
4BR Ranking: 2

Last 11 Years:
2006: Winners (R. Childs)
2005: Winners (R. Childs)
2004: Winners (R. Childs)
2003: Winners (R. Childs)
2002: Winners (R. Childs)
2001: 4th (R. Childs)
2000: Winners (J. Wise)
1999: 3rd
1998: Winners
1997: 2nd
1996: 5th

You would be hard pressed to get a Welsh bookie to give you anything other than odds-on that BAYV (they will become Cory once again in the near future) will claim their sixth consecutive title this weekend. They are simply a rugby field length ahead of the rest here.

If they play to form then victory should be assured, but they know that winning here hasn't given them the launch pad for major titles in recent years and they will be keen for that to change in 2007. All the players you need to shine on a piece like this and an MD determined to create a little bit of Welsh history as well anything else will come as a seismic shock.    

cwmCwmaman Institute Tower Colliery
Ian Porthouse
4BR Ranking: 44

Last 11 Years:
2006: 8th (J. Hudson)
2005: 3rd (J. Hudson)
2004: 3rd (J. Hudson)
2003: 7th (J. Hudson)
2002: 4th (J. Hudson)
2001: 5th (J. Hudson)
2000: 6th (J. Hudson)
1999: 5th
1998: 4th
1997: 5th
1996: 7th

The former Grand Shied winners were well off the pace last year as the John Hudson era came to a rather low-key end. On their day they have the ability to raise their game to a very high standard and the decision to team up with Ian Porthouse should fill them with confidence.

That has already been shown in the past few months too, starting with 7th place at Pontins, 4th at Yeovil and 5th at Porthcawl. Maybe not earth shattering results but ones that showed a great deal of potential and would have built confidence. A win is perhaps out of the question but a qualification place and a return to London for the first time since 2004 could well be on the cards.    

ParcParc and Dare
Craig Roberts
4BR Ranking: 47

Last 11 Years:

2006: 3rd (C. Roberts)
2005: Winners of First Section (prom) (C. Roberts)
2004: Winners of First Section (C. Roberts)
2003: 10th in Championship Section (rel) (C. Roberts)
2002: 8th (C. Roberts)
2001: 6th (C. Roberts)
2000: 5th (C. Roberts)
1999: 7th
1998: 5th
1997: 9th
1996: 4th

Last year saw Parc & Dare finally return to the big time in style when they claimed one of the qualification places for London with a performance of real merit under Craig Roberts. The great Major Parkes took them in London where they sounded too light to really come any higher than they did in 19th spot, but the potential was there to be heard.

A very encouraging start to 2007 for the joint Welsh League champions too as runners up at Porthcawl, and that will have boosted the confidence even more. They will know they will have to hit top form though if they are to return to London once more. Worth a bob or two at the bookies to do just that perhaps.  

TongTongwynlais Temperance
Gareth Pritchard
4BR Ranking: 37

Last 11 Years:
2006: 7th (G. Pritchard)
2005: 6th (G. Pritchard)
2004: 6th (M. White)
2003: 5th (I. Holmes)
2002: 3rd in First Section (prom) (N. Seaman)
2001: 7th in First Section (J. Davies)
2000: 2nd in First Section (A. Morton)
1999: 3rd in First Section
1998: 9th (rel)
1997: 10th
1996: DNC

The form band of the contenders at the moment. Tongwynlais ended 2006 with a fine 3rd place at Pontins and then really produced two top class efforts at Butins to claim 3rd place against a very strong field. They were excellent that weekend.

Rather overcooked it at Porthcawl, but that was perhaps more to do with over confidence than anything else and that may have given them the jolt to the system they need to make their mark here at last. They have flattered to deceive here in recent years, but the combination with Gareth Pritchard has started to gell and they will surely fancy their chances of making it to London.

Michael Fowles
4BR Ranking: 19

Last 11 Years:
2006: 4th (M. Fowles)
2005: 4th (D. Evans)
2004: 2nd (R. Gray)
2003: 2nd (T. Wyss)
2002: 3rd (S. Bastable)
2001: Winners (S. Bastable)
2000: 2nd (S. Bastable)
1999: 2nd
1998: 6th
1997: 3rd
1996: Winners

The last band to beat BAYV in Swansea have been through some tough times of late, but still manage to produce performances of merit wherever they go. Won loads of money in 2006, but not the two prizes they really wanted a return to either Birmingham or London.

Have again worked hard but failed to impress at Butlins where they came 7th and didn't defend their titles at either Yeovil or Porthcawl. Mike Fowles will surely have them well prepared but they are not the force they once were and are still rebuilding. Could find it hard to make it back to the Royal Albert Hall if they are not on the very top of the game.

WrexhamWrexham Brass (Newi)
Wayne Ruston
4BR Ranking: 139

Last 11 Years:
2006: 3rd in First Section (W. Ruston) (prom)
2005: 2nd (W. Ruston)
2004: 2nd (W. Ruston)
2003: 6th (W. Ruston)
2002: 9th in Championship Section (rel) (W. Ruston)
2001: DNC
2000: Winners of First Section (as Rhos Silver) (prom) (I. Davey)
1999: 2nd (as Rhos) in First Section
1998: 2nd (as Rhos) in First Section
1997: Winners of Second Section (as Rhos) (prom)
1996: 2nd in Second Section (as Rhos)

Wayne Ruston continues to do excellent work with Wrexham, and their promotion to the Championship Section was well deserved after just missing out on a trip to Harrogate last year.

It is however a major step up in class and they will be up against some hard nosed opposition in Swansea on the weekend. Lots of talented players and MD, they will be well prepared we are sure, although they will have to up their game from the form they showed at Pontins late last year when they came 7th in the First Section to take more than a couple of scalps.   

Past Qualifiers:
2006: Buy As You View* Burry Port, Parc & Dare
2005: Buy As You View*, BTM, Cwmaman
2004: Buy As You View*, Tredegar*, Cwmaman, Beaumaris
2003: Buy As You View Cory*, Tredegar, Burry Port Town
2002: Buy As You View Cory, Seindorf Beaumaris
2001: Tredegar, Point of Ayr, BAYV Cory*
2000: Buy As You View Cory, Tredegar*, Point of Ayr**
1999: Point of Ayr, Tredegar
1998: Cory, BTM
1997: Point of Ayr, Cory
1996: Tredegar, Northop
1995: Tredegar, Northop
1994: Cory, BTM, Tredegar*
1993: BTM, Tredegar
1992: Tredegar, Cory
1991: BTM, Parc and Dare***, Mid Rhondda
1990: Tredegar, BTM
1989: Parc and Dare, BTM

*Pre Qualified
** Point of Ayr did not take their place at the Finals
*** Parc and Dare were later disqualified and their place taken by Mid Rhondda 

How Welsh Bands did at the Finals:
2006: 4th, 19th, 20th
2005: 3rd, 15th, 16th
2004: 4th, 5th, 11th, 18th 
2003: 2nd, 3rd, 18th
2002: 2nd, 17th
2001: 5th, 7th, 15th
2000: 1st, 5th
1999: 3rd, 18th
1998: 6th, 19th
1997: 6th, 8th,
1996: 11th, 16th
1995: 9th, 18th
1994: 5th, 12th, 14th
1993: 2nd, 10th
1992: 8th, 9th
1991: 5th, 22nd
1990: 12th, 17th
1989: 16th, 21st  

4BR Prediction:

With just the eight bands here this year and two additional qualification places up for grabs, there is a great deal to play for for all the bands. Can't see anything other than a BAYV win, but the battle to join them in London will be fascinating. Anyone of the other seven bands can claim those two priceless spots but we think it may well be BTM and Tongwynlais who will eventually do it with Parc & Dare close on their heels.

Cwmaman and Burry Port could also feature in the scrap too with Tredegar if they can really up their form.

2. BTM
3. Tongwynlais Temperance
4. Parc & Dare
5. Burry Port
6. Cwmaman

Dark Horse: Tredegar


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