North West Championships, Portrush, Northern Ireland

On Saturday (Aug 3) the second half of the RSPBANI Branch season got underway at Portrush when thirty-three bands and thirty-nine drum majors took part at this popular North Antrim venue which was looking its best after the spruce up it got for the recent 148th Open Golf Championships.

The venue for this contest was once again the car park adjacent to Ramore Head which as with last year seems to work well however it is a location and surface not necessarily favoured by everyone.

The good weather encouraged a large attendance for both the contest and the traditional parade through the narrow streets as bands and drum majors were able to show off their trophies to the enthusiastic crowds.

The only Grade 1 band attending was the PSNI and they saw off a challenge from Closkelt. Indeed it was not Closkelt’s day as they lost out to Ravara in Grade 2 who also took the drumming prize.

There were new winners in Grade 3A as the Quinn Memorial lifted top spot from Thiepval Memorial and Clogher & District. McNeillstown managed a fourth place in this grade to which they are almost certain to be promoted to next year on the back of a succession of victories in Grade 3B to which they added to on the day.

Tullylagan continued their good form taking second place and winning the drumming. Augharan from County Tyrone continue to dominate in 4A although Cloughfin who have been steadily improving with a youthful band were placed second and had two firsts for piping.

Finally in Grade 4B the William Kerr Memorial took top spot from Mountjoy with Syerla winning the drum corps prize. 

Competition within the drum majors remained keen in all sections as it has all season. Lauren Hanna after a second place at the Scottish Championships last week took top spot in Portrush with former World Champion Jason Price the runner up.

RSPBANI President Winston Pinkerton and Treasurer Kenny Crothers announce the prizes

Jamie Cupples lifted his third local title of the year in the Juvenile section while Junior section winner Leanne Crooks managed to put at least a temporary halt to Louis Anderson and Benjamin Walker’s domination of the section. There is certainly no stopping Carys Graham in the Novice Section as she secured her fifth local title in a row. 

The experienced panel of adjudicators included Nat Russell, Maurice Rhodes, Colin Moffett and Mark Faloon (Piping), Sandy Steele and Stuart Coils (Drumming), John Moles and Alan Ronaldson (Ensemble) and Alistair Patterson and Roger Young )Drum Majors).

Results: Grade 1: 1st PSNI (also Best Pipes, Drums, Bass Section and M&D), 2nd Closkelt, 3rd Colmcille.

Grade 2: 1st Ravara (also Best Pipes (joint), Drums & M&D), 2ndCloskelt (also Best Pipes (joint) and Bass Section), 3rd Colmcille, 4th Matt Boyd Memorial.

Grade 3A: 1st Quinn Memorial (also Best Pipes), 2nd Thiepval Memorial, 3rdClogher & District (also Best Drums, Bass Section & M&D), 4th McNeillstown.

Grade 3B: 1st McNeillstown (also Best Pipes), 2nd Tullylagan (also Best Drums & Bass Section), 3rd Bessbrook Crimson Arrow, 4th Augharan. Best M&D: Major Sinclair Memorial.

Grade 4A: 1st Augharan (also Best Drums), 2nd Cloughfin (also Best Pipes & Bass Section), 3rd Cullybackey (also Best M&D), 4th Kildoag (also Best North West band).

Grade 4B: 1st William Kerr Memorial (also Best Pipes & M&D), 2nd Mountjoy, 3rdBroughshane & District, Altnaveigh Memorial. 5th Syerla (also Best Drums). Best Bass Section: Kirkistown.

Drum majors wait anxiously for the prizes

Drum Majors: Novice: 1st Carys Graham, 2nd Mia Buckley, 3rdHarry Mills, 4th Jorja Turkington, 5th Christie Steele.
Junior: 1st Leanne Crooks, 2nd Louis Anderson, 3rd Ben Dickson, 4th Louise Smiton, 5th Rachel McCann.
Juvenile: 1stJamie Cupples, 2nd Kathryn McKeown, 3rd Kathy Hunter, 4th Rachel Lowry, 5th Abigail Wenlock. 
Senior: 1st Lauren Hanna, 2nd Jason Price, 3rd Emma Barr, 4th Andrea McKeown, 5th James Kennedy.

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