Belfast Pipe Band Championships: McNeillstown pushed hard to maintain perfect record

The pipes & drums of the PSNI played well as they won the uncontested Grade 1 category at Stormont on Saturday
The pipes & drums of the PSNI played well as they won the uncontested Grade 1 category at Stormont on Saturday
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The Civil Service Grounds at Stormont hosted the Belfast Pipe Band Championships on Saturday on what was a dull day with the light rain only coming for the closing stages.

There was an entry of 35 bands and drum majors watched by a good attendance of spectators which looked smaller due mainly to the large but immaculately kept grounds on which the competitions took place.

The High Sherriff of Belfast, Alderman Tommy Sanford, was the Chieftain of the Day and he presented the prizes at the finale.

The Pipes and Drums of the PSNI won the uncontested Grade 1, however, in fairness to them they played well which augurs well for Saturday’s UK Championships in Lurgan Park.

Closkelt returned to winning ways with a polished performance in Grade 2 ahead of Manorcunningham and Ravara who won the drumming prize.

Battlehill were well worth their win in Grade 3A with a solid performance reflected in the award of four straight ones from the adjudicators.

McNeillstown made it four wins out of four in Grade 3B but it was a close thing as they tied on points with an improving Tullylagan who won the piping but lost out on ensemble preference.

In 4A Augharan are getting up a head of steam as they recorded their third win in a row with Kildoag winning the drumming.

Grade 4B remains up in the air as the William Kerr Memorial became the fourth different winner while Altnaveigh Memorial lifted the drum corps prize.

World champion Adult drum major Emma Barr won her second title of the season while Jamie Cupples lifted his second in the Juvenile section.

Benjamin Walker inflicted defeat on Louis Anderson for the first time this year in the Junior section while Carys Graham made it three wins in a row in the Novice section.


Grade 1: 1st PSNI [also Best Pipes, Drums, Bass Section & M&D].

Grade 2: 1st Closkelt [also Best Pipes], 2nd Manorcunningham, 3rd Ravara [also Best Drums, Bass Section & M&D], 4th St Mary’s.

Grade 3A: 1st Battlehill [also Best Pipes, Drums & M&D], 2nd Quinn Memorial, 3rd Matt Boyd Memorial, 4th St Mary’s Derrytrasna [also Best Bass Section].

Grade 3B: 1st McNeilstown [also Best Drums & Bass Section], 2nd Tullylagan [also Best Pipes], 3rd Major Sinclair Memorial [also Best M&D], 4th Cleland Memorial.

Grade 4A: 1st Augharan [also Best Pipes], 2nd Cullybackey [also Best Bass Section & M&D], 3rd Kildoag [Best Drums], 4th Cloughfin.

Grade 4B: 1st William Kerr Memorial [also Best Pipes & M&D], 2nd Ballyboley, 3rd Broughshane & District [also Best Bass Section], 4th Mountjoy, 5th Altnaveigh Memorial [also Best Drums].

Drum Majors

Adult: 1st Emma Barr, 2nd Lauren Hanna, 3rd David Brownlee, 4th Andrea McKeown, 5th Jason Price.

Juvenile: 1st Jamie Cupples, 2nd Rachel Lowry, 3rd Kathy Hunter. 4th Abigail Wenlock, 5th Kathryn McKeown.

Junior: 1st Benjamin Walker, 2nd Louis Anderson, 3rd Louise Smiton, 4th Lee Nicholl, 5th Grace Thompson.

Novice: 1st Carys Graham, 2nd Mia Buckley, 3rd Harry Mills, 4th Christie Steele, 5th Jorja Turkington.