Pipe bands: Double delight for PSNI at Portrush

PSNI Pipe Band on parade through the crowded streets of Portrush
PSNI Pipe Band on parade through the crowded streets of Portrush

The seaside town of Portrush was awash with tartan on Saturday as the North West Pipe Band Championships was held in the town.

The sounds of pipes and drums filled the air from early morning with the Northern Ireland competition season coming to its conclusion at Ramore Head.

Gilnahirk Pipe Band on parade through Portrush before the start of the competitions

Gilnahirk Pipe Band on parade through Portrush before the start of the competitions

The Pipes and Drums of the Police Service of Northern Ireland enjoyed a fine day as they lifted an array of silverware.

They dominated grade 2 collecting first place overall along with trophies for best pipes and drums, then played up and won the grade one title ahead of Bleary & District, Ravara and Closkelt. Bleary & District collected the grade one drumming prizes with the PSNI lifting the piping award.

In grade two PSNI finished ahead of Closkelt, Thiepval Memorial and Colmcille, who were the winners of the bass section award.

Aughintober proved an unstoppable force in grade 3a where they ran out winners and lifted prizes for best pipes, drums and bass section. Completing the top four were Colmcille, Drumlough and Raffrey.

Alicia Dickson Hamilton (second from right) who won the Adult Grade Drum Major trophy, is pictured at the North West Pipe Band Championships at Portrush on Saturday 20th August with Melissa Burrows and Lauren Kerr and Grace Thompson.

Alicia Dickson Hamilton (second from right) who won the Adult Grade Drum Major trophy, is pictured at the North West Pipe Band Championships at Portrush on Saturday 20th August with Melissa Burrows and Lauren Kerr and Grace Thompson.

Finvoy took the honours in grade 3b and collected the prize for best drums. Marlacoo & District, also best pipes, Matt Boyd Memorial and Major Sinclair Memorial, winners of the bass section prize, also featured in the prizes.

Bangor’s Cleland Memorial ran out victors in grade 4a. Battlehill, McNeilstown, Cullybackey and Tullylagan made up the prize list. Tullylagan won the drumming prize and Tamlaght O’Crilly lifted the bass award. Best North West band was McNeilstown, who also had the best pipes.

Clontibret, from Co Monaghan, took the honours in grade 4b ahead of Gransha, Kildoag, Bessbrook Crimson Arrow, Gilnahirk and Sgt Walker Memorial. Bessbrook had the best pipes, Ballydonaghy won the drumming and Gransha lifted the bass section prize.

In the drum majors competitions there were North West titles for Alicia Dickson (Matt Boyd Memorial), Caitlin Graham (Upper Crossgare), Kathryn McKeown (Battlehill) and Zara Cupples (Cullybackey).

Elizabeth McNicholl, Sarah Connolly, Alison Brown, Rachel Jennings, Lauren Montgomery and Debbie Smith from Ravara Pipe Band

Elizabeth McNicholl, Sarah Connolly, Alison Brown, Rachel Jennings, Lauren Montgomery and Debbie Smith from Ravara Pipe Band

Saturday also saw the conclusion of the RSPBA NI Branch Champion of Champions series.

Bleary & District completed a band, drums and bass section clean sweep in grade one, with PSNI matching that feat in grade 2.

Two other bands making a clean sweep of the prizes were Aughintober in grade 3a and Marlacoo & District in 3b.

Grade 4a saw Battlehill take the band prize with the drumming award going to Tullylagan. Portavogie and Tamlaght O’Crilly shared the bass section prize.

There was a band and drum corps double in Grade 4b for Gilnahirk. The bass award went to Kildoag.

Champion of Champion drum majors are Zara Cupples (Cullybackey), Kathryn McKeown (Battlehill), Emma Barr (Field Marshal Montgomery) and Lauren Hanna (Drumlough).

RESULTS

Grade 1: 1, PSNI, also best pipes and M&D; 2, Bleary and District, also best drums and bass; 3, Ravara; 4, Closkelt.

Grade 2: 1, PSNI, also best pipes, drums and M&D; 2, Closkelt; 3, Thiepval Memorial; 4, Colmcille, also best bass.

Grade 3a: 1, Aughintober, also best pipes, drums and bass; 2, Colmcille; 3, Drumlough; 4 on ensemble preference, Raffrey. Best M&D: Ballybriest.

Grade 3b: 1, Finvoy, also best drum; 2, Marlacoo and District, also best pipes; 3, Matt Boyd Memorial; 4, Major Sinclair Memorial, also best bass and M&D.

Grade 4a: 1, Cleland Memorial; 2, Battlehill; 3, McNeilstown, also best pipes; 4, Cullybackey, also best M&D; 5, Tullylagan, also best drums. Best bass section: Tamlaght O’Crilly.

Grade 4b: 1, Clontibret; 2 on ensemble preference, Gransha, also best bass; 3, Kildoag; 4, Bessbrook Crimson Arrow, also best pipes; 5, Gilnahirk, also best M&D; 6, Sgt Walker Memorial. Best drums: Ballydonaghy.

Drum majors

Adult: 1, Alicia Dickson (Matt Boyd Memorial); 2, Lauren Hanna (Drumlough); 3, Paula Braiden (Cullybackey); 4, Andrea McKeown (Battlehill); 5, David Brownlee (Derryclavin).

Juvenile: 1, Caitlin Graham (Upper Crossgare); 2, James Kennedy (Whitewater); 3, Caitlin Jane Graham (Closkelt); 4, Gemma McDowell (Tullylagan); 5, Lauren Freeburn (Marlacoo & District).

Junior: 1, Kathryn McKeown (Battlehill); 2, Abigail Wenlock (Cullybackey); 3, Kathy Hunter (Manorcunningham); 4, Emily Crooks (McNeillstown); 5, Jason Nicholl (Tullylagan).

Novice: 1, Zara Cupples (Cullybackey); 2, Leanne Crooks (Syerla & District); 3, Carys Graham (Upper Crossgare); 4, Lee Nicholl (Tullylagan); 5, Louise Smiton (Closkelt).