Ayr, Scotland, May 20, 2000 – The Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band of Belfast, Northern Ireland, won the European Championships here today in cold, rainy, miserable weather. Ravara, also of Northern Ireland, took the Grade 2 event in a contest that was, in many ways, as closely watched as the premier event.
Only 13 bands played in Grade 1, thought to be the lowest number in that grade since the 1950s.
“The first three bands were exceptionally good, and any one of them could have taken it,” one listener said. “It’s going to be a closely-contested season this year.”
Grade 2 was highly anticipated, with controversy over the winter over the four bands demoted from Grade 1. In particular, Lothian & Borders Police had appealed its demotion, but the RSPBA elected to keep the band in Grade 2, despite an influx of excellent talent. Ravara, a band that was also demoted from Grade 1, won the event. Twenty-six bands took part in Grade 2.
The Shotts & Dykehead Pipe Band, favoured by many to win the Grade 1 event, played with new moisture-control pipe bags made by R.T. Shepherd & Son Bagpipe Makers, with no bag covers. Robert Shepherd, who guided the Dysart & Dundonald Pipe Band to two World Championships in the 1970s, is a member of the RSPBA judging panel. The new bags made their debut at the European and were heavily advertised in the program.
Grade 1 (MSR)
1st Field Marshal Montgomery (N. Ireland), 2nd ScottishPower, 3rd Shotts & Dykehead Caledonia, 4th Strathclyde Police, 5th Boghall & Bathgate, 6th David Urquhart Travel, Drumming: ScottishPower
Judges: G. Summors, A. Wright (piping); J. Hutton (drumming); J. Baxter (ensemble).
Grade 2 (Medley)
1st Ravara, 2nd Bleary & District (N. Ireland), 3rd Lothian & Borders Police, 4th Bucksburn & District, 5th Grampian Police, 6th Dumfries & Galloway Police, Drumming: Lothian & Borders Police.
Judges: J. Campbell, R. Shepherd (piping); A. Aitken (drumming); W. Young (ensemble).
1st Culter & District, 2nd 1st Batallion Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders, 3rd Banbridge, N. Ireland, 4th Dornoch, 5th North Belfast WMC (N. Ireland), 6th Killadeas (N. Ireland, Drumming: Banbridge.
1st Howard Memorial, 2nd Pride of Murray, 3rd University of Luton (England), 4th Perth & District, 5th Kircauldy, 6th Ayr, Drumming: Kircauldy.
1st Syerla (N. Ireland), 2nd Culanfad, 3rd Newtongrange, 4th Magherafelt, 5th Atnaveigh Memorial, 6th Quinn Memorial (N. Ireland), Drumming: Syerla.
1st Lomond & Clyde, 2nd Penicuik, 3rd Muirkirk & District, 4th Kinglassie & District, 5th Kilsyth Thistle, 6th Tweedale, Drumming: Penicuik.
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