Field Marshal Montgomery claimed the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association’s British Championship title for the seventh consecutive time at Bathgate, Scotland, on Saturday.
The result for Field Marshal was one of a number of excellent performances by Ulster bands and drum majors, with Bleary & District lifting the grade two title and drum majors Lauren Abraham (Ballybriest) and Kathy Hunter (Manorcunningham) also returning home as champions.
More than 120 bands had travelled to the West Lothian town of Bathgate for the first major championship of the 2015 season.
Field Marshal saw off the challenge of 10 other bands to lift the grade one championship by a five-point margin from nearest challengers Inveraray & District. Shotts & Dykehead edged into third place ahead of St Laurence O’Toole on ensemble preference with Greater Glasgow Police and Boghall & Bathgate completing the top six.
The grade one drumming title was won by Eric Ward’s Greater Glasgow Police drum corps.
Into grade two and there was a fantastic first place for Bleary & District, who claimed top spot with four points to spare on second-placed Buchan Peterson, who also lifted the drumming prize. Manorcunningham, from Co Donegal, grabbed sixth place.
Isle of Islay ran out winners in grade 3a however they were closely followed by Ballybriest in second place with Drumlough taking fourth. Raffrey just missed out on a place in the prizes as they finished seventh.
Ballybriest’s fine season continued as they also lifted the drumming title for grade 3a.
Colmcille, from Londonderry, missed out on the grade 3b British title by the narrowest of margins as they were edged into second place on ensemble preference to Portlethen & District. Upper Crossgare claimed fourth place and lifted the drumming title for the grade.
There were no local entrants in grade 4a which was won by Arbroath Royal British Legion with the drumming going to Denny and Dunipace.
Portavogie featured in the prizes in grade 4b where they claimed fourth place. The Co Down band put up a strong showing in the qualifying section to earn a place in the final.
British champion drum majors are Liam Renton (Inveraray); Lauren Abraham (Ballybriest) and Kathy Hunter (Manorcuningham).
Grade 1: 1, Field Marshal Montgomery; 2, Inveraray & District; 3 on ensemble preference, Shotts & Dykehead; 4, St Laurence O’Toole; 5, Greater Glasgow Police, also best drums; 6, Boghall & Bathgate.
Grade 2: 1, Bleary & District; 2, Buchan Peterson, also best drums; 3, Lomond & Clyde; 4, Johnstone; 5, MacKenzie Caledonian; 6, Manorcunningham.
Grade 3a: 1, Isle of Islay; 2, Ballybriest, also best drums; 3, City of Discovery; 4, Drumlough; 5, Craigmount Caledonia; 6, Coalburn IOR.
Grade 3b: 1, on ensemble preference, Portlethen & District; 2, Colmcille; 3, Wallacestone & District; 4, Upper Crossgare, also best drums; 5, East Kilbride; 6, Prestonpans RBL.
Juvenile: 1, Dollar Academy. Best drums: George Watson’s College.
Grade 4a: 1, Arbroath RBL; 2, Methil & District; 3, Denny and Dunipace, also best drums; 4, Perth & District; 5 on ensemble preference, Ullapool & District; 6, Williamwood.
Grade 4b: 1, Lanark & District, also best drums; 2, Dunbar RBL; 3, Carnoustie; 4, Portavogie; 5, Johnstone; 6 on ensemble preference, COP Pipes and Drums.
Novice: 1, Dollar Academy, also best drums.
Junior: 1, Kathy Hunter, Manorcunningham; 2, Jason Nicholl, Tullylagan; 3, Lana Gibson, Major Sinclair; 4, Tyrone Graham, Wm Kerr; 5, Lee Nicholl, Tullylagan; 5, Jamie Cupples, Killeen.
Juvenile: 1, Lauren Abraham, Ballybriest; 2, Gibb Frazer, Coalburn; 3, Emma Barr, PSNI; 4, Caitlin Graham, Upper Crossgare; 5, Joanne Graham, Wm Kerr; 6, Cameron Finch, Boghall & Bathgate.
Adult: 1, Liam Renton, Inveraray; 2, Lauren Hanna, Drumlough; 3, Paula Braiden, Cullybackey; 4, Geertian Van Rooji, Balagan, Denmark; 5, Alicia Dickson-Hamilton, Matt Boyd Memorial; 6, Brian Wilson, Lomond & Clyde.