Big thank you from

Locals end magnificent season on another high  

Pipe Bands by Mervyn McConnell

THE famous Cowal Highland Gathering was held in Dunoon last Saturday and once again Ulster bands reigned supreme in the top grades.

Thousands packed the stadium where there was something to suit everyone's interest from highland dancing, athletics, solo piping, tossing the caber and of course the pipe band championships.

Field Marshal Montgomery claimed their fourth major championship title of 2002 with Pipe Major Richard Parkes and Leading Tip Andrew Scullion.

Richard fielded 13 pipers and with beautiful playing and sound there was no-one in the Park to touch them.

It was indeed a superb performance from this year's Grade 1 world champions which also secured them the overall Champion of Champions 2002 award.

In Grade 2, Ballycoan completed a perfect season by winning the Cowal Championships - their fifth major title this year, tinder the leadership of Pipe Major Alfic Rea and Leading Tip Barney Megoran.

The band also took the Champion of Champions trophy in Grade 2.

Undoubtedly they are now looking forward to next season when they will compete in the elite Grade 1.

Bleary & District also did well to take 3rd placing in this grade.

And what a terrific achievement it was for Pipe Major Jackie Moore and North Belfast Pipe Band when, in their first major competition this year, they took the championship crown in Grade 3A.

Their Leading Tip Bobby Rea also had a magnificent win in this grade to lift the Cowal championship title in drumming.

Syerla won the 2002 Champion of Champions trophy in drumming in Grade 3A.

Ulster bands took four out of the six places in Grade 4A with Altnaveigh Memorial winning the top prize.

The icing on their cake was winning the double of Champion of Champions in both piping and drumming. Gortaclare were 3rd, Annsborough 4th and Bellaghy 5th.

Ryan Ferry from Aughintober won the Junior drum major championship title with Jennifer Elvin from Letterkenny winning the juvenile grade.

This Saturday, 7 September, two special events will take place.

The Northern Ireland Branch of the RSPBA are presenting a Pageant to celebrate the Queen's Golden jubilee and it will take place at the Magee Clock on Bangor Promenade at 3pm. A host of artists will be appearing at this event and a collection will be .taken up for one off Her Majesty's charities.

And the Newtownstewart Highland Games will take place at 10am and will feature outdoor solo piping and drumming competitions. Previous winners in this competition were Ryan Canning in 1999 and Robert Watt in 2000 and 2001.

Grade 1 1st Field Marshal Montgomery; 2nd Shotts & Dykehead (Also Best Drums); 3rd Scottish Power; 4th Strathclyde Police; 5th Dysart & Dundonald; 6th.Boghall & Bathgate.
Grade 2 1st Ballycoan; 2nd Clan Gregor Society (also best drums); 3rd Bleary & District; 4th ASCO Buchan; 5th Boghall & Bathgate; 6th Dumfries & Gallowav Con.
Grade 3A lst North Belfast (also best drums); 2nd MacNaughton's Vale of Atholl; 3rd Muhl Pipes and Drums; 4th Royal Burgh of Stirling; 5th Coalburn; 6th Lanarkshire.
Grade 3B 1st Inverkeithing; 2nd Pontefract; 3rd West Midlands Police; 4th Greater Manchester County FS; 5th Fintan Lalor; 6th Inverness.
Grade 4A 1 st Altnaveigh Memorial; 2nd Arbroath (also best drums); 3rd Gortaclare; 4th Annsborough; 5th Bellaghy; 6th Milngavie.
Grade 4B lst Tweedvale. (also best drums); 2nd Williamwood; 3rd Oldmeldrum RBL; 4th 71 Engineer Reg.; 5th Kirkcudbright; 6th Kenmore Kinning Park.
Junior Drum Majors 1st Ryan Ferry; 2nd Laura J. Lawson; 3rd Laura McComb; 4th Gail Gordon; 5th C .Clydesdale; 6th Samantha Gordon.
Juvenile 1st Jennifer Elvin; 2nd Teresa McMechan; 3rd Alan Morton; 4th Wendy Ferry; 5th Barry Pureel); 5th Victoria Singer.
Senior 1st John Noble; 2nd Brian Wilson; 3rd Paula Braiden; 4th Grant Craig; 5th.Ian Young.
Champion of Champions
Grade 1 Field Marshal Montgomery. Drumming - Shotts & Dykehead.
Grade 2 Ballycoan. Drumming - The Clan McGregor Society.
Grade 3A MacNaughton Vale of Atholl. Drumming - Syerla.
Grade 3B Inverkeithing & District also drumming.
Grade 4A Altnaveigh Memorial also drumming.
Grade 4B Williamwood. Drumming - Tweedvale.

Ulster Star