Field Marshal fly the flag for NI at Cowal Highland Games

Pipe Bands by Mervyn McConnell

THE last of this years major championships took place at Dunoon Scotland last Saturday with the famous Cowal Highland Games and Field Marshal Montgomery brought home the champion of champions trophy. Only six bands from Northern Ireland travelled over to compete at these championships with only Field Marshal Montgomery taking a third place prize in Grade 1 and Cullybackey also a third place prize in Grade 2.

Gone are the days when almost all of our bands went for the weekend to Dunoon to compete in the championships.

One year, not that long ago, all six championship titles were won by bands from Northern Ireland. Whether it is the cost or the venue is unsure but it must cause some concern for the officials at Washington Street, as Northern Ireland is the biggest branch in the association and such a poor turnout of entries must be disappointing.

But there was good news from our drum majors as they collected nine of the fifteen prizes including two top ones.

Brian Wilson won the senior title and Ryan Ferry the juvenile one. The junior title was won by I. Burns from Dumbarton & District.

Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band had the consolation of winning the overall champion of champion's trophy for the 2006 season, with Shotts & Dykehead winning the champion of champion's trophy in drumming.

Tayside Police won both the Cowal titles in Grade 2 making them champion of champions in their grade. The World Pipe Band Championships, which took place in August, was recorded by BBC Scotland and will be televised on Sunday September 3 from 6pm until 6.50pm. The programme can also be seen on Sky Channel 971 at the same time.

The programme is presented by Jackie Bird and features some of the most memorable moments from the event as well as behind the scenes footage of the bands and interviews with the judges, pipe majors and pipers. Expert commentary comes courtesy of esteemed world judge Bob Worrall.

There will be performances from Simon Fraser University Pipe Band from Vancouver, Field Marshal Montgomery with Pipe Major Richard Parkes MBE, Strathclyde Police, 78th Fraser Highlanders, Laurence O'Toole and Shotts & Dykehead, as well as others.

Also featured are special films with four of the top four bands on their run-up to the championships including Canada's Simon Fraser University as they attempt to raise funds at the North American Highland Games for their trip to the worlds.

"But," said Julie Whiteside from BBC Scotland, "at the end of the day there can only be one winner and BBC Scotland captures the ecstasy of the victorious band - Field Marshal Montgomery - the moment they were crowned World Champions."

This is one programme every pipe band supporter shouldn't miss.

The solo results of the competition held on the Friday before the North West Pipe Band Championships two weeks ago were as follows: Piping under 14 - 1st. G. Harris. 2nd. D. Cinnamond. 3rd. J. Gardner. Piping under 16 - 1st. J. Lamberton. 2nd. A. McPherson. 3rd. L. J. Lawson. Drumming under 12 - 1st. B. McVeigh. 2nd. L. Burgess. 3rd. W. Sloan. Drumming under 13 - 1st. B. McVeigh. 2nd. B. Campbell. 3rd. I. McComb. Drumming under 16 - 1st. A. McClean. 2nd. G. Bond. 3rd. B. McVeigh.

September 16 is the date for this year's All Ireland Solos, which will take place in the High School Newry. On October 28 this year's world solo drumming championships will take place at Monkstown Community Centre sponsored by Sam Hodgen Andante Percussion from Rathfriland


Grade 4B - 1st. Kirkcaldy & District (also best drums) 2nd. Troon Blackrock. 3rd. Cumnock & District. 4th. Belgian Blend. 5th. Denny & Dunipace. 6th. Clydebank

Grade 4A - 1st. Lanark. 2nd. University of Strathclyde. 3rd. Johnstone. 4th. Kilsyth Thistle (also best drums) 5th. Baul Muluy. 6th. Paris & District.

Grade 3B - 1st. GPSC Milngavie. 2nd. Beeston & District (also best drums) 3rd. Royal Burgh of Annan. 4th. Dunoon Argyll. 5th. William wood. 6th. Cumnock & District.

Grade 3A - 1st. Coalburn. 2nd. Denny & Dunipace (also best drums). 3rd. MacKenzie Caledonia. 4th. Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue. 5th. Deeside Caledonia. 6th. Inverkeithing.

Grade 2 - 1st. Tayside Police (also best drums). 2nd. Torphichen & Bathgate. 3rd. Cullybackey. 4th. Buchan. 5th. Phoenix Honda Glasgow Skye. 6th. Polkemmet.

Grade 1 - 1st. Strathclyde Police (also best drums). 2nd. House of Edgar Shotts. 3rd. F.M.Montgomery. 4th. St.Laurence O'Toole. 5th. Vale of Athol/. 6th. Boghall & Bathgate.

Champion of Champions - Grade 1 - Band - F.M.Montgomery. Drums - Shotts & Dykehead.

Grade 2 - Band - Tayside Police also drums.

Grade 3A - Band - Denny & Dunipace. Drums - Linithgow & District.

Grade 3B - Band - Beeston & District also drums.

Grade 4A - Band University of Strathclyde. Drums- Kilsyth Thistle. Grade 4B - Band - Kirkcaldy & District. Drums - Grampian Corby.

Ulster Star