For the second year running, the Cowal Pipe Band has risen magnificently to the challenge of playing at home.
Today, on the closing day of the annual Cowal Games and in the last major championships of the 2012 season, the band took first in the Grade competition. It did so after going backwards throughout the season, taking 4th at the first major championships, the Scottish,; 6th at the British; 7th at the Europeans; and 8th a few weeks ago at the Worlds.
The additional adrenaline of wanting to give their best to a home crowd brought them a first from each of four judges today, each marking one of the four elements on which bands are judged.
Scottish Borders, coming 2nd, was 6 points behind them.
In 2011 the band also found top form for the Cowal Gathering, taking 1st then too, after an 8th in the Worlds; 9th in the Europeans; 7th at the British; and 11th at the Scottish, traditionally the first major of the season.
The audience in the stadium today cold not have been more delighted – with ever reason. Four firsts is an unequivocally stellar performance.
the The headline news of the Championships was, though, the unseating of the majestic 2012 Grade 1 World Champions, Field Marshall Montgomery Pipe Band from Northern Ireland.
Boghall and Bathgate beat them into second place by 2 points. Field Marshall Montgomery were 2 points better overall in piping but two points below Boghall and Bathgate with each of their drum corps and their ensemble work.
Boghall and Bathgate do have form in this though, They had beaten Field Marshall Montgomery into 2nd place once already this year – at the Europeans.
Inveraray & District, Argyll’s only Grade 1 band – the premier league, finished 6th today, with a 4th frm the second piping judge and a 7th for its ensemble work – with 6th from the first piping judge and for their drum corps.
Argyll bands playing throughout the grades in the championships performed well, with three worth a special mention.
Isle of Islay has shown consistently improving achievement over last year and this. The band finished 2nd today at Grade 3A with its best mark of the season – getting a 1st and a 2nd from the two piping judges, a 9th for their drum corps and a 2nd for their ensemble work.
Mid Argyll, returning to competition this year, finished 3rd in Grade 4B, in a field of 25 bands.
Lomond and Clyde finished 2nd at Grade 2, with their drum corps taking 1st.
The results for each of the Argyll bands competing today – with the places awarded by each of the four judges given in the traditional order of first and second piping judges, drumming judge and ensemble judge – are below.
Novice Juvenile (20 bands)
- Oban High School 4th with 4 / 2 / 6 / 10
- Rothesay & District 8th: 9 / 11 / 10 / 4
- Dunoon Grammar School 16th: 12 / 17 / 17 / 13
- Kintyre Schools 17th: 13 / 16 / 13 / 17
Grade 4B (25 bands)
- Mid Argyll 3rd: 3 / 5/ 3/ 3
Juvenile (7 bands)
- Inveraray & District 4th: 4 / 2 / 4 / 3
- Oban High Schoo, 5th EP: 6 / 6 / 6 / 5
- Kintyre Schools 6th: 5 / 5 / 7 / 6
Note: ‘EP’ means ‘Ensemble Preference’ and denotes the fact that when two bands gain equal scores, the bad with the highest mark for ensemble work is awarded the higher ranking.
Grade 3B (13 bands)
- Cowal 1st: 1 / 1 / 1 / 1
Grade 3A (11 bands)
- Isle of Islay 2nd: 1 / 2 / 9 / 2
- Rothesay & District EP 7th: 11 / 11 / 1 / 7
- Lomond & Clyde 2nd: 4 / 3 / 1 / 3
- Oban 5th: 6 / 7 / 6 / 5
- Inveraray & District 6th: 6 / 4 / 6 / 7
The pipe band championships are the spectacular end to a successful Cowal Games, with a parade of bands through Argyll Street at the heart of Dunoon in the evening.