The Pipes and Drums of the Police Service of Northern Ireland, Aughintober and Marlacoo & District were the toast of the local piping and drumming scene on Saturday evening as they lifted Scottish Championship titles at Levengrove Park, Dumbarton.
Drum majors Kathy Hunter (Manorcunningham) and Paula Braiden (Cullybackey) also lifted titles in their respective grades.
The season of success shows no sign of stopping for PSNI as they made it four major championships in a row. There was also the added bonus of a victory for the PSNI drum corps.
Speaking after the competition, PSNI pipe major Robert Cupples said he was delighted with the result.
“We have been building momentum throughout the season and today I felt we were at another level,” he said.
“We have got to be positive about today’s result, but I feel we have another gear left to reach. It has been an unbelievable season by anyone’s standards.”
Robert had a word of praise for the winning PSNI drum corps under the direction of leading drummer Barney Megoran.
“It was a terrific result for the drummers,” he said.
“They have been knocking on the door all season and they have been working so hard over the past two weeks and it paid off.
“There are some terrific drum corps in grade two and this win has come at the right time.”
Only a dozen Northern Ireland bands along with 29 drum major made the trip to Scotland but there was silverware brought back at nearly every level.
With the fourth major championship of the season taking place just two weeks before the World Championships, results at Dumbarton could, potentially, have an impact on what happens in the weeks ahead.
Field Marshal Montgomery, St Laurence O’Toole and Inveraray & District went into Saturday’s grade one contest with a major victory apiece, however it was Inveraray who would emerge as winners and land the prize for best drum corps. St Laurence O’Toole claimed second place followed by Shotts & Dykehead, Field Marshal, Scottish Power and Police Scotland Fife.
The margin of victory for Inveraray was a massive seven points having claimed first placings from all four adjudicators.
Aughintober may just be hitting their stride at the perfect time in grade 3a. They took the honours at the Ulster Championships last weekend and with a band and drumming double at the Scottish they are approaching top form at the right time.
Colmcille, who themselves have enjoyed an excellent season in 3a, were also in the prizes as they claimed fourth place.
Five points was the margin of victory for Marlacoo & District in grade 3b.
The Co Armagh band was the only local competitor at this level but they were comfortable winners ahead of 2622 (Highland) Squadron R.A.F..
In grade 4a there was prizes for Raphoe and Tamlaght O’Crilly as they placed third and fourth respectively.
Grade 1: 1, Inveraray and District, also best drums; 2, St Laurence O’Toole; 3, Shotts and Dykehead Caledonia; 4, Field Marshal Montgomery; 5, Scottish Power; 6, Police Scotland Fife.
Grade 2: 1, Pipes & Drums of the Police Service of Northern Ireland, also best drums; 2, Lomond and Clyde; 3, Johnstone; 4, The Glasgow Skye Association; 5, Buchan Peterson; 6, Mackenzie Caledonian.
Grade 3a: 1, Aughintober, also best drums; 2, Portlethen and District; 3, City of Inverness; 4, Colmcille; 5, Kintyre Schools; 6, Vale of Atholl.
Grade 3b: 1, Marlacoo and District; 2, 2622 (Highland) Squadron R.A.F; 3, Wallacestone and District; 4, Prestonpans Royal British Legion; 5, Methil and District; 6, Gradlon Piping Society – France. Best drum corps: Boswell Castle.
Grade 4a: 1, Ullapool and District, also best drums; 2, Burntisland and District; 3, Raphoe; 4, Tamlaght O’Crilly; 5, Dunbar Royal British Legion; 6, Denny and Dunipace Gleneagles.
Grade 4b: 1, Johnstone; 2, Bowhill & District; 3, Lochryan; 4, Kilmarnock; 5, Davidson’s Mains & District; 6, Elgin and District, also best drums.
Adult: 1, Paula Braiden, Cullybackey; 2, Liam Renton, Inveraray and District; 3, Lauren Hanna, Drumlough; 4, Andrea McKeown, Battlehill; 5, Vikki Singer, McDonald Memorial; 6, Alicia Dickson, Matt Boyd Memorial.
Juvenile: 1, Gibb Fraser, Coalburn IOR; 2, Emma Barr, Field Marshal Montgomery; 3, James Kennedy, Whitewater; 4, Zoe McDowell, Aughintober; 5, Caitlin Graham, Upper Crossgare; 6, Gemma McDowell, Tullylagan.
Junior: 1, Kathy Hunter, Manorcunningham; 2, Emily Crooks, McNeillstown; 3, Jamie Cupples, Killeen; 4, Kathryn McKeown, Battlehill; 5, Rachael Lowry, Armaghbreague; 6, Jason Nicholl, Tullylagan.