facebook twitter rss vimeo


Report & Results: 2017 Welsh Regional Championships: Third Section

Newport Borough claim their first Area title for nearly 30 years as they are joined in Cheltenham by Gwent valleys rivals Abertillery & District.

Brangwyn Hall
  Newport Borough and Abertilery & District head to Cheltenham

The ten competitors in a keenly fought Third Section contest certainly gave adjudicators Stan Lippeatt and John Maines plenty to think about on Dan Price's enjoyable 'Darkwood' set- work.

In the end though it was one of the most improved lower section bands in Wales that eventually got their hands on the Regional Challenge Shield, as Newport Borough led by Robin Hackett claimed a first Area title since 1989 to return to Cheltenham for a second successive year.

Full of endeavour

They will be joined there by their Gwent rivals Abertillery & District, who gave the judges a head to head comparison after they were drawn next to each other in what was a highly entertaining contest full of enthusiasm, endeavour and no little amount of good quality ensemble and solo playing.

Just missing out was Newtown Silver in third, whilst the remaining top-six places went to Phoenix (Goodwick), Ynyshir and Severn Tunnel.

Formed in 1971, Newport Borough has hit a rich vein of form at the annual Welsh League contest series in recent years under their talented young MD, and came fifth at the Fourth Section National Final in 2016.

Now, with that first taste of Area success to their name for nearly 30 years, they are determined to add to their impressive collection of silverware, as Band Secretary Kirsty Davies told 4BR.

Over the moon

"We are over the moon," she said, as the band and their supporters prepared for a night of celebration. "It's our first year in the Third Section, so to be able to qualify for Cheltenham, and as Area champion is a dream come true.

Robin has done so much to rejuvenate the band, and we've only come out of the top-three in one contest since November 2015. Playing in the Third Section at Welsh League contests has helped us enormously, and the friendship and commitment within the band is brilliant.

We thought we had played well, but so did so many of the other bands on the day. It was a great piece and we hope we get another one like it when we proudly represent Wales at the Finals."

Head to head

The battle for the title eventually came down to a direct comparison between Newport and Abertillery, as another talented young conductor in Josh Ruck brought plenty of evocative character out of the contrasting three movements in a confident performance (aided by their splendid 'Best Instrumentalist' euphonium John Jones) to return the valley's band back to Cheltenham for the second time in three years.

Newport followed, and with the careful appreciation of dynamics and tempo, allied to some fine individual soloists, the title headed to across the M4 to its new home, as the band produced the type of control of volume, pace and warm ensemble sound the judges told the audience they were looking for.

Considered account

Meanwhile, there was a welcome return to Area form for Newtown Silver from mid-Wales, as MD Steve Edwards used his experience to tailor a considered account, as they made a podium mark on their first season back in the Third Section following relegation.

However, there was to be no return to Cheltenham for 2016 Fourth Section National Champion Phoenix (Goodwick) as their colourful and exciting account didn't find as much favour in the box as it did with many listeners in the hall, whilst both Ynyshir and Severn Tunnel produced well directed renditions that showcased their growing potential in rendition of substantive merit.

Behind them it was a case of niggling little errors, inconsistencies and some ensemble nervousness — especially in the tricky opening section, although the quality of solo playing (especially the euphoniums) was excellent in performances that showed that there is an encouraging depth of quality at this level of Welsh banding.

We thought we had played well, but so did so many of the other bands on the day. It was a great piece and we hope we get another one like it when we proudly represent Wales at the FinalsNewport Borough Band Secretary Kirsty Davies


Third Section:

Test Piece: 'Darkwood' (Dan Price)
Adjudicators: Stan Lippeatt and John Maines

1. Newport Borough (Robin Hackett)*
2. Abertillery & District (Josh Ruck)*
3. Newtown Silver (Steve Edwards)
4. Phoenix (Goodwick) (Luke Jenkins)
5. Ynyshir (Garry Davies)
6. Severn Tunnel (Grant Jameson)
7. Usk (Jeff Jones)
8. Briton Ferry Silver (Jeff Pearce)
9. Crosskeys Silver (Mike Davies)
10. Ogmore Valley Silver (Alice Jones)

Best Instrumentalist: John Jones (Euphonium) — Abertillery & District


4BR Shop: Flash the plastic!

June 22 • There is a great deal on the iconic plastic pTrumpet through the 4BR Shop at the moment thanks to Band Supplies.


Jagger makes stone's throw move to sop

June 22 • Rob Jagger has made the move from bumper-up to soprano cornet for Grand Shield champion Hammonds.

Bass trom

Are you in the market for a bass trombone?

June 22 • If you are looking for a pro level bass trombone then John Packer has one ready and waiting for a new home...


Muggeridge takes Flight with life saving CD

June 22 • Former Fairey Band baritone player Keith Muggeridge has launched a fund raising CD to say thank you to the brilliant Air Ambulance Service that helped save his life.

The Marple Band - The Marple Band presents Music from Musicals

Saturday 23 June • Stockport Grammar School. Buxton Road. Stockport SK2 7AF

Elland Silver Band - Elland Silver Band

Saturday 23 June • Blackley Blackley Church Prospect View Elland HX5 0TD

Blidworth Welfare Band - Organist Keith Hearnshaw

Saturday 23 June • St Andrews Church, The Green, Swanwick, Derbys DE55 1AN

Besses o' th' Barn Band - Charity Celebration Concert

Saturday 23 June • St Thomas Church, Warrington Road, Ashton-in-Makerfield WN4 9PL

York Railway Institute Band - Dan Thomas - Euphonium

Saturday 23 June • Central Methodist Church. St Saviourgate. York. YO1 8NQ YO1 8NQ

Lydbrook Band

June 22 • Lydbrook Band are recruiting a 2nd Trombone to our join our Championship section band . This is a great opportunity to be part of the premier band in the Royal Forest of Dean.

Garforth Brass

June 21 • GARFORTH BRASS are looking to recruit a SOLO CORNET to complete their 2018 team. Only one rehearsal a week on a Sunday evening from 6.15pm till 7.45pm at Garforth Methodist Church, Church Lane, Garforth, LS25 1NW. Easy access from A1/M1 and Leeds/York.

Amesbury Town Band

June 21 • Players and beginners of any standard are always warmly welcomed especially some more solo cornets, Eb horns and a spare percussionists to help out existing players. Feel free to drop in even if you just fancy a blow or want to try another instrument

Derek Renshaw

ABBA Member
Conductor, Band Trainer and Adjudicator.