Pipe bands: Northern Ireland claims five British titles

Aughintober Pipe Band took the top prize in grade 3a
Aughintober Pipe Band took the top prize in grade 3a

Northern Ireland can toast five new British champions after the first major contest of the 2016 season took place in Paisley, Scotland, on Saturday.

The Police Service of Northern Ireland led the charge for honours by lifting the grade two British title, followed by Aughintober who claimed the top prize in grade 3a.

Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band pictured at the British Championships at Paisley

Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band pictured at the British Championships at Paisley

Northern Ireland’s drum majors dominated the prizes as they lifted all three titles. Jamie Cupples (Killeen) landed the junior award; Caitlin Graham (Upper Crossgare) claimed the juvenile title while Lauren Hanna (Drumlough) lifted the adult crown.

There was also plenty of place prizes to celebrate as many of the travelling bands and drum majors featured in the prize lists.

Inveraray and District are the new Grade One British champions. They took first place and prize for best drum corps ahead of Field Marshal Montgomery who had to settle for second place.

St Laurence O’Toole, Scottish Power, Spirit of Scotland and Shotts and Dykehead Calendonia completed the top six.

It was closely contested in grade two with PSNI taking first place on ensemble preference ahead of Buchan, who also landed the drumming title for the grade.

Aughintober lifted the grade 3a British title with plenty to spare. Nine points was the margin of victory over second place Portlethen & District. Colmcille were also in the prizes taking fourth place.

Prestonpans RBL took the honours in grade 3b but hot on their heels were Major Sinclair Memorial just a point behind in second place. A further place back were Matt Boyd Memorial as they claimed third on ensemble preference from Bothwell Castle.

Portavogie were the sole local entrant in grade 4a and they will no doubt be happy having taken fourth place in their first major contest at this level.

The bands in grade 4b had a long day as they negotiated the morning qualifying sections in order to earn a place in the final which was held in the afternoon.

Clontibret, regular competitors on the Northern Ireland contest circuit, won the grade and took the prize for best drums with Bessbrook Crimson Arrow second on ensemble preference.

Sgt Walker Memorial and Major Sinclair Memorial’s junior band also made the final but missed out on prizes.


Grade 1: 1, Inveraray & District, also best drums; 2, Field Marshal Montgomery; 3, St Laurence O’Toole; 4, Scottish Power; 5, Spirit of Scotland; 6, Shoots & Dykehead Caledonia.

Grade 2: 1 on ensemble preference, PSNI; 2, Buchan, also best drums; 3, Johnstone; 4, Glasgow Skye Association; 5, Lomond & Clyde; 6, Mackenzie Caledonian.

Grade 3a: 1, Aughintober; 2, Portlethen & District; 3, Stockbridge; 4, Colmcille; 5, New Ross & District; 6, Kintyre Schools. Best drums: University of Bedfordshire.

Grade 3b: 1, Prestonpans RBL; 2, Major Sinclair Memorial; 3 on ensemble preference, Matt Boyd Memorial; 4, Bothwell Castle, also best drums; 5, Ayr Pipe Band Society; 6, Wallacestone & District.

Juvenile: 1, Dollar Academy. Best drums: George Watson’s College.

Grade 4a: 1, City of Inverness, also best drums; 2, Lanark & District; 3, Kinross & District; 4, Portavogie; 5, Burntisland & District; 6, Ullapool & District.

Grade 4b: 1, Clontibret, also best drums; 2 on ensemble preference, Bessbrook Crimson Arrow; 3, Johnstone; 4, Lochryan; 5, Bowhill & District; 6, Mid Argyll.

Drum Majors

Adult: 1, Lauren Hanna, Drumlough; 2, Geertjan Van Rooij, Balagan, Denmark; 3, Alicia Dickson, Matt Boyd Memorial; 4, Joanne Graham, Bleary & District; 5, Andrea McKeown, Battlehill; 6, Richard Henderson, Lochmaben.

Juvenile: 1, Caitlin Graham, Upper Crossgare; 2, Gibb Fraser, Coalburn IOR; 3, Emma Barr, Field Marshal Montgomery; 4, Lana Gibson, Ballyboley.

Junior: 1, Jamie Cupples, Killeen; 2, Abigail Wenlock, Cullybackey; 3, Jason Nicholl, Tullylagan; 4, Kathy Hunter, Manorcunningham; 5, Rachel Lowry, Armaghbreague; 6, Zara Cupples, Cullybackey.