THE annual competition organised by the Co. Antrim section of the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association was held last Saturday in blazing sunshine at Ahoghill Village and attracted a large crowd of bands people and supporters.
This competition is unique in that it is the only one where the President of the Northern Ireland branch, Mr Tom McCarroll, leads the officials in a parade of the village before going on to the playing fields for the championships.
Chieftain of the Day was Councillor William Wright.
This year there was an added touch of entertainment for the crowd with a performance by the popular Harpur's Hill Primary School Steel band.
It was good for everyone to hear a Grade 1 contest again at a local level and this one produced a duel between Ballycoan and Ravara.
Ballycoan took 1st prize and best pipes and Ravara won runner up place and the trophies for Marching & Deportment, . best bass and best drums. The winners of the other grades were Bleary & District (Grade 2), Killadeas. (Grade 3A), Quinn Memorial (Grade3B), Seven Towers (Grade 4A) and Queen Elizabeth (Grade 4B).
There was a special individual piping competition organised by the Co. Antrim section to run in conjunction with the bands contest.
Eleven young people entered for this event, which was adjudicated by Bobby Brannigan. The winners were 1st Mairead Wilson, 2nd Jamie Gibson and 3rd Lindsay McArthur, with William Fisher winning the prize for best newcomer.
On 28 June Bobby Brannigan and Colin Moffett will be heading off to France to judge the solo piping qualifying rounds for the French Festival, which will take place in August.
Next week's competition is in Cookstown and there is a massive entry for this event.
Organised by Gloria Patterson and the Mid Ulster section, there will be 55 bands competing along with 41 drum majors in what is one of the' longest running competitions to be held in Ulster.
The line up is as follows; four in Grade One, nine In Grade Two, 11 in Grade 3A, eight in Grade 3B, 12 in Grade 4A and 11 in Grade 4B.
This will be the first appearance of the 2002 world champions Field Marshal Montgomery in a local competition this year. On 17 May they competed at the Scottish championships in Dumbarton, which they won, and the week before that they took first place at the Malahide competition in the South of Ireland. Pipe Major Richard Parkes will have a busy day for as well as leading his band to compete in Grade 1 he will be adjudicating in one of the lower grades.
Other adjudicators will be George Summors and Jim Baxter from Scotland and Adrian Hoy from Cullybackey.
The second of this year's five majors will take place with the British Championships in Pitlochry on 21 June.
Then on 28 June the Co. Down section will host their annual pipe band competition, which will be held in Banbridge. This is always a popular event and attracts a large crowd of supporters and bands people alike.
Grade 1. 1st Ballycoan plus best pipes. 2nd. Ravara plus M&D, best bass and best drum.
Grade 2. 1st Bleary & District plus best pipes, best bass and best drums. 2nd Cullybackey plus M&D. 3rd Killeen. 4th Monkstown Mossley
Grade 3A. 1st Killadeas plus M&D and best pipes. 2nd Tullintrain. 3rd Syerla. 4th Finvoy. Best bass and Best Drums North Belfast
Grade 3B. 1st Quinn, Memorial plus M&D and best pipes. 2nd Hollymount. 3rd Bready plus best brass and best drums 4th Altnaveigh.
Grade4A. 1st Seven Towers plus best bass and best drums. 2nd Marlacoo plus best pipes. 3rd Sgt Walker plus M&D 4th Colmcille.
Grade 4B. 1st Queen Elizabeth plus best drums. 2nd Antrim plus best pipes. 3rd Cleland memorial plus M&D. 4th Monkstown Mossley. Best bass went to McNeillstown.
Novice Juvenile. 1st Lindsay Hamilton. 2nd Samantha Gordon. 3rd Jonathan M'Kee. 4th Craig Clydesdale
Junior. 1st Ryan Ferry. 2nd Elizabeth Sloan. 3rd Laura McCombe. 4th Emma Chambers. 5th Simon Kerr. 6th Caroline Clydesdale.
Juvenile. 1st Teresa McMechan. 2nd Paul Spence. 3rd Ian Scott. 4th Danielle Sharvin. 5th Donna Gillespie. 6th Rachel Corr.
Senior. 1st Brian Wilson. 2nd Ian Young. 3rd Paula Braiden. 4th Kathy Megarry. 5th David Brownlee.