With little more than two weeks left before the 2010 World Pipe Band Championships, the Grade 1 Ballycoan Pipe Band of Belfast has imported three new players from the Grade 1 Australia Highlanders who will compete with Ballycoan for the remainder of the year.
George Shepherd, the former pipe-major of the now defunct Grade 1 Clan Gregor Pipe Band enters Ballycoan’s ranks along with Raymond Patton and Karl Heaney. The Australia Highlanders had intended to compete at the World Championships, but cancelled its plans in May due to a lack of funds.
The addition of the guest players is the latest in a growing trend of expanding rosters with top-shelf temporary members, with many of the imports coming from Australia and New Zealand, countries whose national competition seasons are during the northern hemisphere’s winter months.
The practice is currently within the rules of the RSPBA, provided new members are formally released from their original band within two weeks of their first RSPBA-sanctioned competition, as per that . . .