Pipe Bands by Mervyn McConnell
Mervyn McConnell reports on another triumph for Field Marshal Montgomery

LAST Saturday the 2006 British Pipe Band Championships took place in the beautiful town of Pitlochry and it ended in another triumph for Lisburn based Field Marshal Montgomery..

The championships were last held in Pitlochry in 2003 and a huge effort by the Pitlochry Major Events Group supported by the Perth and Kinross Council made it possible for the event to return once again to the town.

Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band under the leadership of Pipe Major Richard Parkes clinched the British title in Grade 1 with points to spare. Strathclyde Police were runners up with Shotts and Dykehead third and winners of the drumming title.

In Grade 2 the first place trophy went to Tayside Police with Ravara under Pipe Major Sam Connolly taking third. Seven Towers with Pipe Major David Reid were in fourth place. This was the first Grade 2 major competition that Seven Towers had competed in this season and they were delighted with the result.

No other Ulster bands were in the prize list at Pitlochry, but our drum majors had a very successful day when they took almost all the prizes in each of the three grades. In the fifteen prizes eleven were won by entrants from Northern Ireland.

Kathy Megarry from Upper Crossgare won the senior title, Ryan Ferry from Aughintober the juvenile title and Samantha Gordon from Banbridge the junior title. Saturday July 1 will see the All Ireland Pipe Band Championships take place in Peoples Park, Letterkenny Donegal with a total of 61 bands competing for Ireland's top prize.

Strathclyde Police from Scotland, who were runners up at the British Championships, will be over to challenge bands for the Irish crown in Grade 1. University of Luton from England will also be competing in Grade 2.

The usual two weeks holiday break will mean that the next competition will be on Saturday July 22, with the North Down Championships held in Bangor.

Phoenix Honda Glasgow Skye Pipe Band with Pipe Major Campbell will be competing at this competition in Grade 2.

Then on Saturday July 29 the third of this year's five major events will be the European Championships held in Greenock Scotland.

The much anticipated "On Home Ground" volume 2, the tenth CD from the Simon Fraser University Pipe Band Canada, four times world champions, is now available.

"We've saved the best for last," said Pipe Major Terry Lee. "This CD features the band and its soloists in top form, accompanied by a superb Celtic ensemble."

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Grade 1 - 1st Field Marshal Montgomery. 2nd Strathclyde Police. 3rd House of Edgar-Shotts & Dykehead (also best drums). 4th Robert Wiseman Dairies Vale of Atholl. 5th Scottish Power. 6th. Simon Fraser University.

Grade 2 - 1st. Tayside Police (also best drums) 2nd. Bucksburn & District. 3rd. Ravara. 4th Seven Towers. 5th. Torphichen & Bathgate. 6th. Royal Scots Dragoon Guards.

Grade 3A - 1st. City of Edinburgh. 2nd. Denny & Dunipace. 3rd. MacKenzie Caledonia. 4th. Bo'ness RBLS (also best drums). 5th. Inverkeithing & district. 6th. Pride of Murray.

Grade 3B - 1st. Beeston & District (also best drums) 2nd. Wallacestone. 3rd. Dunoon Argyll. 4th. Pitlochry & Blair Atholl. 5th. Turriff. 6th. Rothesay.

Grade 4A - 1st. University of Strathclyde. 2nd. Kilsyth Thistle (also best drums) 3rd. Tweedvale. 4th. City of Brechin. 5th. Lanarak. 6th. Kirkcudbright Maclellan.

Grade 4B - 1st. Grampian Corby. 2nd. Kirkcaldy. 3rd. Clydeband. 4th. Fraserburgh RBL. 5th. Burn tisland. 6th. Ellon & District. Best drums Newtowngrange.

Novice - 1st. Kintyre Schools. 2nd. North Lanarkshire Schools. 3rd. George Watsons College. 4th. Boghall & Bathgate Caledonia. 5th. Robert Wiseman Dairies Vale of Atholl. 6th. Lochgelly High School

Drum Majors - Senior. 1st. Kathy Megarry. 2nd. Brian Wilson. 3rd. Paula Braiden. 4th: Alistair Patterson. 5th. Victoria Singer.

Juvenile - 1st. Ryan Ferry. 2nd. Donna Gillespie. 3rd. Caroline Clydesdale. 4th. Jemma Clydesdale. 5th. C Brown. Junior - 1st. Samantha Gordon. 2nd. Craig Clydesdale. 3rd. I Burns. 4th. L Renton. 5th. MMcKinney

Ulster Star