RSPBA seeking input on altering Grade 2 at World’s
The Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association (RSPBA) has distributed a questionnaire to Grade 2 bands that have recently competed at the World Pipe Band Championships asking for their input on whether the grade should emulate the “league-table” qualifying system currently in place for Grade 1.
A questionnaire, accompanied by a letter from RSPBA Executive Office Ian Embelton, asks whether bands “Yes – Agree,” “No – Disagree” or are “Undecided” as to whether a pre-qualifying system should be adopted starting with 2007. The questionnaire also asks for comments.
The cover letter outlines the potential system to reflect the system that has been in operation in Grade 1 since 2000. The system calls for bands to accrue points at the RSPBA major championships “held prior to the World Championships in that year.”
But unlike the Grade 1 format, there is no indication that non-RSPBA Grade 2 bands that gained a prize at the previous year’s World’s would gain a bye to the next year’s final.
“This means that non-Scottish bands will either have to make two trips to qualify, or do the ‘shotgun’ qualifier,” said a piper with a non-RSPBA grade 2 band. “This puts even the contending foreign bands at a disadvantage: two plays versus one. The qualifying [RSPBA-member] Grade
2 bands would not have that added ‘qualifying pressure.’ Currently, that is evenly distributed.”
Embelton’s letter suggests that six bands would pre-qualify based on the league-table system, and another six-to-eight bands would gain a spot in the Grade 2 final on the day of the World’s.
Several non-RSPBA Grade 1 bands have indicated that, instead of travelling to compete at the World’s, they will instead set their sights on the All-Ireland Pipe Band Championships or the British Pipe Band Championships so that they will be guaranteed of competing against perennial contenders for the World’s title, such as Field Marshal Montgomery and House of Edgar-Shotts & Dykehead – bands that have not had to go through the qualifying process at the World’s since the system began.
Stay tuned to pipes|drums for more on this story as it develops.
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