IT was a cold and rainy day at the first major championship event of the 2006 pipe band season.
The Scottish Championships were held at Dumbarton Scotland and although only 16 of our bands travelled over for the event, they were successful in winning 3 major championship titles as well as winning 7 other prizes.
Grade 1 Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band with Pipe Major Richard Parkes clinched the first title in this year's major championship table.
The band won first and second in piping second in drumming and first in ensemble to win on ensemble preference over The House of Edgar Shotts and Dykehead.
Adjudicators were Harry Stevenson and George Shepherd (Piping) Alistair Aitken (ensemble) and Jim Hutton (drumming).
The second title was won in Grade 3A and it went to newly promoted Battlehill from Co. Armagh under Pipe Major Mark Faloon. The band had a comfortable lead of 6 points over their nearest rivals to win the Scottish championship title. Banbridge and Annsborough, two Co. Down bands, came third and fourth in Grade 3A.
The old, old story of adjudicating of who's right and who's wrong came to the fore again this season when Annsborough were awarded second and twelfth in piping by the two piping judges. Linlithgow won the drumming in this grade.
The third title went to McNeillstown in 4A with Pipe Major Darren Frew and they also won the drumming championship. Drumlough were second and Raffrey took fourth place.
In Grade 2 Killeen gave a great performance to take fourth place with Ravara in the final sixth placing. Gortaclare were fifth in Grade 3B and were the only band from Ulster competing in this grade.
The drum majors also had a successful day when they won 9 out of the 15 prizes at the championships. Kathy Megarry from Upper Crossgare won the senior drum majors championships title and Ryan Ferry from Aughintober won the Juvenile grade.
Next week the bands return to home ground when the Co. Fermanagh section holds their annual Pipe Band Championships in Enniskillen.
Forty bands have entered for this event including two in Grade 1 - Ballinderry Bridge and Ballycoan. For the first time there will be four Co. Fermanagh bands competing against each other in Grade 4B.
The Co. Antrim Festival will be held in Ballymena Showground's on Saturday June 3, commencing at 12 noon.
Forty pipe bands and 39 drum majors are entered for the Festival, which will include a solo under 17 piping competition judged by Glenn Cupples.
Three bands have entered for Grade 1-Ballinderry Bridge, Ballycoan and Bleary as well as a good entry of 6 bands in Grade 2.
For the entertainment of the spectators there is also hoped to have a parachute jump before the Finale takes place.
Adjudicators for Ballymena will be J. Campbell, J. Moles, H. Stevenson and J. Simpson for piping, S. Steele and M. Wilson for drumming and A. Aitken and M. Mackenzie for ensemble.
On Saturday June 17 the contest will be in Banbridge with the Co. Down Piping Festival again starting at 12 noon.
Grade 1 - 1st. Field Marshal Montgomery. 2nd. House of EdgarShotts & Dykehead (Best Drums). 3rd. Robert Wiseman Dairies-Vale of Atholl. 4th. Strathclyde Police. 5th. Scottish Power. 6th Boghall & Bathgate.
Grade 2 - 1st. Tayside Police. 2nd. Torphichen & Bathgate. 3rd. Polkemmet. 4th. Killeen. 5th. Buchan. 6th. Ravara. Best Drums Lomond & Clyde.
Grade 3A - 1st. Battlehill. 2nd. Coalburn. 3rd. Banbridge. 4th. Annsborough. 5th. MacKenzie Caledonia. 6th. Tyne & Wear Fire. Best Drums-Linlithgow.
Grade 3B - 1st. Dunoon Argyll (also best drums) 2nd. Williamwood. 3rd. Annan. 4th. Clan Pipers Frankfurt, 5th. Gortaclare. 6th. Beeston
Grade 4A - 1st McNeillstown (also best drums). 2nd. Drumlough. 3rd. Kilsyth Thistle. 4th. Raffrey. 5th. Strathclyde University. 6th. Lanark.
Grade 4B - 1st. Concord (plus best drums). 2nd. Kirkcaldy & District. 3rd. Grampian Corby. 4th. Fraserburgh RBL. 5th. Clydesbank. 6th. Burntisland & District.
Senior Drum Majors - 1st. Kathy Megarry. 2nd. Ian Young. 3rd. Paula Braiden. 4th. A. Morton. 5th. G. Craig. J
uvenile - 1st. Ryan Ferry. 2nd. Donna Gillespie. 3rd. C. Clydesdale. 4th. E. Clydesdale. 5th. J. Murray.
Junior - 1st. A. Symon. 2nd. Samantha Gordon. 3rd. I. Burns. 4th. L. Robinson. 5th. L. Renton.