August 31, 2004

2004 World Championships predictions

With only four days to go until the World Pipe Band Championship, we take our annual look at the competing bands and puts odds on the field.

We assembled a panel of experts, who considered the season so far, the judges, and intangibles like weather, previous prizes won, and World’s results from previous years. We sorted the data and came up with an aggregation of their thoughts.

Each panelist was asked to select a dark-horse winner – that is, a band outside of the generally accepted “big three” of Field Marshal Montgomery, House of Edgar-Shotts & Dykehead, and Simon Fraser University.

One of our panelists observed, “The bands that have been winning are in a whole new contest with so many good overseas bands. It is near-impossible to predict what will happen.”

Also unpredictable is the Glasgow weather, which can range from glorious to dismal. The Scottish summer has been mainly the latter, and if it rains a lot on August 14 the contest could be thrown wide open.

“Scotland has had some horrific downpours this week, and it may well come down to the bands that cope best with our freakish weather,” says a Scottish-based panelist.

We remind readers that it’s all in fun, and we don’t condone gambling, and it really means nothing. Mind you, even though we blew it last year, we have a pretty darned good record of predicting the winner!


Field Marshal Montgomery – 2:1 odds
“Playing well, solid track record, fairy-tale ending to a hard year for the Pipe-Major and the band.”
“FMM will be sentimental favourites, especially with Richard leading them on. Who wouldn’t cheer for that?”

Simon Fraser University – 5:2
“Best chance to win outside of FMM.”
“I imagine the well-oiled machine will be well in the list.”
A panelist who picked SFU to win says, “I fancy SFU to have an edge in the piping this year which can make the difference.”

House of Edgar-Shotts & Dykehead – 3:1
“Still a great bet.”
“Slipping. I sense that their luck has run out.”
“Drumming: who else but Shotts?”

St. Laurence O’Toole – 4:1
“My dark-horse to win. Lots of good press. Getting good results. Terry Tully deserves a title.”
“St. Laurence O’Toole has been well up in the prizes to date and with confidence high.”
“This would be my dark-horse winner. They can be brilliant.”
“If the medley judges have courage, they’ll reward the music.”

ScottishPower – 5:1
“A threat to the top three will come from ScottishPower.”
“With that mainly open-minded judging panel, the Power could surprise.”

Boghall & Bathgate Caledonia – 8:1
“Isn’t it time for a Boghall win?”
“A very up and down season, but they always finish strong.”
“The disaster at Lisburn can’t be good for morale.”

Strathclyde Police – 8:1
“A sentimental crowd favourite, and a bloody good band.”

Toronto Police – 8:1
“North American Champions should get a good listen.”
“In good form, and may upset the odds.”
“An excellent pipe section offset by a new drum section.”

Clan Gregor – 10:1
“Upstarts from Grade 2 have turned heads this year.”

Dysart & Dundonald – 10:1
“Getting stronger as the summer progresses. Always entertaining.”

78th Highlanders (Halifax) – 10:1
“Good piping but new kid on the block with a drum section that needs continued attention.”
“The band’s first real contest of the year. Lots of pressure here.”
“Watch for RSPBA confusion with two 78th bands to juggle.”

78th Fraser Highlanders – 10:1
“Their name always gets attention at the World’s. Always a crowd favourite.”
“They’ve had some lucky breaks the last two or three years to place.”
“Drew Duthart will help the drumming side of things.”

Glasgow Pipes & Drums – 12:1
“Don Bradford always gets a sound.”

Western Australia Police – 12:1
“This band should do well. A more refined pipe sound than last year and a better back end.”

Lothian & Borders Police – 15:1
“Not been getting their fair due this year. Victim of some unfortunate luck.”
“Better than most results have suggested.”

Peel Regional Police – 15:1
“Great corps. Pipes might hold them out.”

Vale of Atholl – 15:1

Ballycoan – 20:1

David Urquhart Travel – 20:1
“Basically a brand new band. Give it a few years.”
“Tons of music.”

Alberta Caledonia – 25:1

Bleary & District – 25:1

City of Washington – 25:1
“Could get a bump up from good drum corps.”

Ravara – 25:1

Bucksburn & District – 30:1

Grampian Police – 30:1

Phoenix Honda-Glasgow Skye – 30:1

Qualifier result prediction

Our panelists’ consensus prediction for the result of the qualifier contest, in order:

  • Toronto Police
  • Clan Gregor
  • 78th Highlanders (Halifax)
  • Western Australia Police
  • Glasgow Pipes & Drums
  • Dysart and Dundonald

    Final result

    And so, our fearless prediction, based on the input of our seasoned panelists, for the Grade 1 prize list at Glasgow Green on August 14 is:

    1st Field Marshal Montgomery
    2nd Simon Fraser University
    3rd St. Laurence O’Toole
    4th House of Edgar-Shotts & Dykehead
    5th ScottishPower
    6th Strathclyde Police / Toronto Police
    Drumming: Shotts

    Consensus dark-horse: St. Laurence O’Toole

    We thank our panelists – they know who they are! – and we wish all bands competing at the World Championships nothing but the best of luck on the day.


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