THE 2007 Grade 1 world champion band - Field Marshal Montgomery - continued their winning form last Saturday when they won the North West championships in convincing style.
The final local outdoor contest of 2007 was held at Ramore Head, Portrush on one of the rainiest days all season. In spite of this many supporters and spectators braved the weather to see the pipe bands compete in this special event.
Local band Drumlough were back to their best when they took the Grade 3B section with a first place win and also winning the trophies for best pipes, best drums and best bass. This give them the added award of the coveted champion of champions for overall best pipe band of the 2007 season.
Another local band to do well last Saturday was Upper Crossgare when they won first place as well as best pipes and best drums in Grade 4B. Banbridge Pipe Band, who were unable to compete all season due to lack of personnel, competed at the North West championships and won a fourth placing in Grade 3A.This will be a great encouragement to their new Pipe Major Lee Anderson who takes over the reins completely next season from Alan Gourley.
T he annual parade of Portrush town following the competition is always a great attraction as holiday makers line the pavements to see and hear the champion bands and drum majors march down the Main Street.
Northern Ireland was able to boast this year of having eight world champions on parade. Three bands - Field Marshal Montgomery, Cullybackey, Cullenfad; four drum corps - Cullybackey, Annsborough, Gransha and Dr. Wright Memorial and finally Ryan Ferry world juvenile drum major champion. All received the well-deserved applause, not only of the spectators, but also of their fellow bands people as they paraded into the arena before the start of the Finale.
Cleland Memorial Pipe Band from Bangor finished their trip to the worlds on a sad note as all of their drums, which were in a trailer, were stolen from their hotel on the Saturday night. This is a big loss to the band and one which everyone can sympathise with. Hopefully they will be able to replace them in good time for next season.
Tommy Millar and the BBC were at the contest in Portrush and have recorded some of the pipe bands competing in the event. He hopes to use these recordings at a later date on his radio 'Touch of Tartan' programme.
The final major competition of the year will be the Cowal Highland Gathering at Dunoon Scotland on Saturday August 25 with 135 bands competing for the championship titles. This event will also decide on who is champion of champions of the five major events - European, Scottish, British, Worlds and Cowal.
Grade 1 - 1st. F. M. Montgomery (also best pipes, best drums & best bass) 2nd. Cullybackey. 3rd. Ballycoan.
Grade 2 - 1st. Cullybackey. (Also best pipes, best drums, and best bass). 2nd. Ravara. 3rd. Seven Towers. 4th. Killeen.
Grade 3A - 1st. Robert Malcolm Mem. (Also best pipes, best drums and best bass). 2nd.Aughintober. 3rd. Annsborough. 4th Banbridge
Grade 3B - 1st. Drumlough (also best pipes, best drums and best bass). 2nd. Raffrey. 3rd. Killen. 4th.Augharonan.
Grade 4A - 1st. Killadeas (best drums and best bas). 2nd. Cullenfad. (Also best pipes). 3rd. Gransha. 4th. Dromara. Best North West band -Colmcille.
Grade 4B - 1st. Upper Crossgare. (best pipes, best drums) 2nd. Bready Ulster Scots. (Also best bass) 3rd. Moneygore. 4th. Dc Wright Memorial.
Novice Drum Majors - 1st. Laura Abraham. 2nd. Emma Barr. 3rd. Rachel Caldwell. 4th. Elizabeth Morrow. 5th. Bethan Martin.
Junior - 1st. Lorna Robinson. 2nd. Dale Fisher. 3rd. Lauren Muldrew. 4th. Lauren Hanna. 5th. Stephen Gilchrist.
Juvenile - 1st. Ryan Ferry. 2nd. Linzi Hamilton. 3rd. Samantha Gordon. 4th. Emma Chambers. 5th.Gemma McKinney.
Senior - 1st. Brian Wilson. 2nd. Paula Braiden. 3rd. Ian Young. 4th. Alicia Dickson. 5th. Jason Paquio.
Grade 1 - Cullybackey also drums.
Grade 2 - Cullybackey also drums.
Grade 3A - Annsborough also drums
Grade 3B - Drumlough. Best drums -Killen. Grade 4A - Killadeas. Best Drums - Gransha.
Grade 4B - Dr. Wright Memorial. Best Drums - Bready Ulster Scots.
Novice Drum Majors - Lauren Abraham Junior - Lorna Robinson
Juvenile - Ryan Ferry
Senior - Paula Braiden.