Craigavon & District Pipe Band Championships

By Gilbert Cromie; pix by John Kelly
Yesterday the Craigavon & District Pipe Band Championships took place in Lurgan on what can only be described as a sweltering hot day, writes Gilbert Cromie.

The Lord Mayor of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council, Alderman Gareth Wilson, was the Chieftain of the Day and in his remarks he congratulated everyone involved in putting on a great day’s entertainment and singled out RSPBA NI Branch Trophy Officer Roy McCullough for the gleaming array of trophies which were about to be presented. The above picture shows the Salute to the Chieftain and the Massed Bands.

The main organisers of the competition, the County Down Section, remembered those from the pipe band fraternity who has passed away since last year with Ian Burrows playing a suitable lament. The Cordiner family presented a trophy in memory of Bobby Cordiner a member of Marlacoo Pipe Band for some 60 years and also the local Territorial Army band. The Section’s annual draw for a set of Peter Henderson Bagpipes donated by RG Hardie & Co was won by Robert Smyth from Ardrossan with the NI Children’s Hospice benefitting by the £1000 raised.

While the large turnout of spectators enjoyed the beautiful weather I can imagine that some pipe majors struggled tuning their pipe corps in the heat however for the spectators it was ideal conditions in which to enjoy the piping, drumming and drum majoring. In Grade 4B Kildoag continued their local contest winning streak also taking the drum corps title while local band St Mary’s Derrytrasna won 4A with Cullybackey securing the drumming prize. Another local band Battlehill won 3B with Quinn Memorial lifting the drum corps prize.

Pipe Major Martin Lennon (St Mary’s Pipe Band, Derrytrasna) pictured with Stephen Withers and his daughter Carla. Photo by John Kelly.
In 3A Drumlough made it three local competitions in a row while the Upper Crossgare drummers had their first win of the season. Closkelt had a decisive win in Grade 2 with their drummers also getting in on the act. PSNI won Grade 1 by a single point over local band Bleary & District who won the drumming. It was all change in the Adult Drum Major section with Jason Price breaking the domination of Alicia Hamilton and Lauren Hanna.

Emma Barr had another win in the Juvenile with Jamie Cupples (Junior) and Louis Anderson (Novice) the other winners. Congratulations to Drum Major Alicia Hamilton who was awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) for services to the community in Northern Ireland in the recent Queens Birthday Honours List.

Results: Grade 1. 1st PSNI (also M&D), 2nd Bleary & District, (also Best Drums and Bass Section), 3rdRavara, 4th Closkelt. Grade 2. 1st Closkelt (also Best Pipes, Drums, Bass Section and M&D), 2ndThiepval Memorial. Grade 3A. 1ST Drumlough (also Best Pipes), 2nd Marlacoo & District [also M&D], 3rd Upper Crossgare (also Best Drums and Bass Section), 4th Matt Boyd Memorial.

Dylan Coyle (PSNI) pictured receiving the Grade 1 ‘Best Pipes’ trophy from the Lord Mayor of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon, Alderman Gareth Wilson (Chieftain of the Day). Picture John Kelly
Grade 3B. 1stBattlehill, 2nd Quinn Memorial (also Best Drums and Bass Section), 3rd McNeillstown, 4th Maj. Sinclair Memorial (also M&D). Grade 4A. 1st St. Mary’s Derrytrasna, 2nd McDonald Memorial (also M&D), 3rdMcNeillstown, 4th Cullybackey (also Best Drums and Bass Section). Grade 4B. 1st Kildoag (also Best Drums), 2nd Gransha, 3rd Ballyboley, 4th Bessbrook Crimson Arrow, 5th Sgt. Walker Memorial. Best Bass Section: Maj. Sinclair Memorial. M&D: Kirkistown.

Drum Majors: Adult. 1st Jason Price (Ravara), 2nd David Brownlee (Derryclavin), 3rd Alicia Hamilton (Matt Boyd Memorial), 4th Lauren Hanna (Lomond & Clyde), 5th Andrea McKeown (Battlehill). Juvenile. 1st Emma Barr (Field Marshal Montgomery), 2nd Lana Gibson (Ballyboley), 3rd Emily Crooks (McNeillstown), 4th Jason Nicholl (Tullylagan), 5th James Kennedy (Closkelt).

Drum major winners: Novice: Louis Anderson (Crozier Memorial), Junior: Jamie Cupples (Aughintober), Juvenile: Emma Barr (Field Marshal Montgomery) and Adult: Jason Price (Ravara)
Junior. 1st Jamie Cupples (Aughintober), 2nd Rachel Lowry (Armaghbreague), 3rd Kathy Hunter (Manorcunningham), 4thAbigail Wenlock (Shotts & Dykehead), 5th Rebecca Hamilton (Tullylagan). Novice.1st Louis Anderson (Crozier Memorial), 2nd Carys Graham (Upper Crossgare), 3rd Leanne Crooks (Syerla & District), 4thBenjamin Walker (Battlehill), 5th Louise Smiton (Closkelt).