26 pipe bands competed last Saturday at the Banbridge Indoor Full Bands competition held in Banbridge High School, in what is the only surviving indoor full band event to take place in the pipe band world.
Claiming the first spoils of the 2009 season in Grade 2 was Ravara under Pipe Major Sam Connolly. Runner up place went to Killeen who also took the best drum corps award.
These are two excellent bands and competition will be strong between them for the rest of the season. Third place went to Southern band Arklow. Bands from Co. Donegal had a very successful day out when they claimed first place in Grades 4B, 4A and 3B. Manorcunningham were the winners in 3B with Letterkenny & District in 4A and Thiepval Memorial in 4B.
Pipe Major Glen Ferry led his band Aughintober to victory in Grade 3A, with their new Leading Drummer Chris Johnston, formally of St. Laurence O'Toole and ex leading tip of Ballycoan, securing top honours for the band by winning best drum corps. Adjudicators were L. Ingram and Denver Cardwell for piping, Alan Ronaldson for Ensemble and Adrian Hoy for drumming.
The first of the local outdoor competitions will take place on Saturday May 9 with the Co. Tyrone championships held at Dungannon Rugby Club.
Then on Saturday May 16 the Scottish Championships will be held in Levengrove Park, Dumbarton and many of our pipe bands will travel over to compete at this the first of the five majors of 2009.
May 23 is the date for the East Antrim championships which will take place in Ballyclare, and the last of the May events will be the Co. Fermanagh competition on May 30 at the Lakeland Forum Broadmeadow Enniskillen.
The 36th annual RSPBA County Antrim pipe band and drum major championships sponsored by Carrickfergus Borough Council will be held on Saturday June 6 in Woodburn Playing Fields Carrickfergus commencing at 12 noon.
Entries close on Tuesday May 19 and bands will be notified in writing of the draw number and approximate time of play. Forms should be sent to Mrs Elyse Ussher, 4 Temple Road Upper Ballinderry, Lisburn BT28 2PD.
As well as the pipe band and drum majors competition there will be a range of activities for all the family running in parallel with the competition.
The 55th annual Mid-Ulster championships will take place on Saturday June 13 in Cookstown High School Sports arena with all grades, as well as drum majors, competing for the top prizes.
Entries close on Saturday May 23 and please note that entries will only be accepted by post.
The draw will be made on Wednesday May 27 in the Royal Hotel Cookstown.. Please post entries to Mrs Gloria Aicken, 11 Locksley Gardens, Finaghy, Belfast. BT1O IDEA.
Results of Banbridge
Grade 4B - 1st. Thiepval Memorial. 2nd. Lisnamulligan (also best drums). 3rd. Upper Crossgare. 4th. Closkelt.
Grade 4A - 1st. Letterkenny. (also best drums). 2nd. Matt Body. 3rd. Moneygore. 4th. Tamlaught.
Grade 3B - 1st. Manorcunningham. (also best drums) 2nd. Colmcille.
Grade 3A - 1st. Aughintober (also best drums). 2nd. Raffrey. 3rd. Upper Crossgare. 4th. Cottown.
Grade 2 - 1st. Ravara. 2nd. Killeen (also best drums). 3rd. Arklow.