Published: May 31, 2006

Bleary wide-eyed with return to competitive form

Northern Ireland’s Bleary & District Pipe Band will return to the UK contest circuit after not competing at all in 2005 due to a drop in membership. The band will make its re-entry to the field at the Scottish Pipe Band Championships at Dumbarton, Scotland, on May 20th.

Bleary competed in Grade 1 for only one year after being upgraded after the 2003 season during which it finished second in the RSPBA’s Champion of Champions table. In 2003 the band won Grade 2 at the British Championships and finished second at the World’s.

Several players have either returned or joined the band, including well known pipers Garry Watterson and Ryan and Clive McFarland and a crop of new young talent in both the pipe- and drum-sections, according to sources close to the band. Bleary is led by Pipe-Major Nigel Davison and Leading-Drummer Ian Lawson.

The Bleary story is a bright spot at the Grade 1 contest at the Scottish Championships. The St. Laurence O’Toole Pipe Band will not compete due to entry difficulties, David Urquhart Travel and Glasgow Pipes & Drums are each unable to field a competitive group, and Clan Gregor’s Pipe-Major, George Shepherd, was suspended after another controversial decision by the RSPBA.

Bleary has said that its biggest realistic goal for 2006 is to qualify for the Grade 1 Final at the World Pipe Band Championships.

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