Big thank you from

Sun shines as champions topple  

Pipe Bands by Mervyn McConnell

IT was a bright sunny day in Portrush for the 37th Northwest Pipe Band championships where a kaleidoscope of tartan colour was on parade.

Chieftain of the Day, Councillor Mrs Olive Church, Mayor of Coleraine, welcomed the spectacle of the massed bands, which she said was eagerly awaited by visitors, residents and traders alike.

One of the most interesting things about pipe band contests is that the results are not usually a foregone conclusion.

This was proved especially last Saturday when all of the previous week's British Champions were defeated.

Grade 2 Ballycoan were defeated by Bleary & District, Grade 3A Tullintrian were defeated by Syerla, and Grade 4A Quinn lost to Altnaveigh.

There was also a first place win ;for Ballydonaghy Caledonia in 3B. Pipe Major Ken Stewart and Leading Tip Willie Wray, who have only been competing for a short time, were absolutely delighted at winning the overall lst placing as well as best drums and best bass. The band will be heading off next Friday to compete at the world championships in Glasgow.

Bleary & District from Co. Armagh, with Pipe Major Nigel Davidson, were in superb form with playing and sound of the highest quality, which would not have been out of place in Grade l.

One of the finest performances heard in some time was the verdict of one of the adjudicators. Bleary stopped Ballycoan's undefeated run of ten victories, and on this performance will be chasing them all the way for the world title.

Pipe Major Brian McMullan and his Syerla band took the title in Grade 3A by winning best piping and best drums.

After a slight hiccup last week David Hanna's Altnaveigh were back to their winning ways and gave a very strong performance to clinch first place in 4A.

Much credit must go to Pipe Major Darren Frew of McNeillstown as his young band claimed their first time top placing in 4B.

This was only the band's fourth competition in the competitive arena, and needless to say the verdict was received with jubilation.

Only two bands competed in Grade 1 and this was won by Ballycoan, who also won the drumming.

Grade 1 Ist Ballycoan (also best drums); 2nd Ravara; (also best bass).
Grade 2 1st Bleary & District (also best piping and best bass); 2nd Ballycoan (also best drums); 3rd Ballinderry Bridge; 4th Upper Crossgare.
Grade 3A 1st Syerla (also best piping and best drums); 2nd Woodgrange; 3rd Banbridge (also best bass); 4th Tullintrain.
Grade 3B Ist. Ballydonaghy Caledonia (also best drums and best bass); 2nd Finvoy; 3rd Black Raven Lusk; 4th Cottown.
Grade 4A 1st Altnaveigh (best piping); 2nd Convoy; 3rd Quinn; 4th Gortaclare. Mountfield Best drums.
Grade 4B 1st McNeillstown (also best bass); 2nd Queen Elizabeth; 3rd Manorcunningham (also best drums); 4th Cleland Memorial.
Novice Juvenile Drum Majors Ist Jason Morrison; 2nd Simon Kerr; 3rd Linzie Hamilton: 4th David Gordon; 5th Kirsty Harron.
Junior 1st Ryan Ferry; 2nd Laura McComb; 3rd Elizabeth Sloan; 4th Laura]. Lawson; 5th Janet Smyth.
Juvenile 1st Ian Scott; 2nd Jennifer Elvin; 3rd Danielle Sharvin; 4th Wendy Ferry; 5th Alicia Dickson.
Senior 1st Ian Young; 2nd Kathy Megarry; 3rd Paula Braiden; 4th David Brownlee, 5th Brian Wilson

Ulster Star