August 31, 2010

Withdrawals from Silver Medals add 7 to Oban, 2 to Inverness

With a substantial number of withdrawals by those accepted for the upcoming Silver Medal competitions at Oban and Inverness, the Argyllshire Gathering will now usher in all 12 competitors now scheduled to compete in this Saturday’s special qualifying competition, and the Northern Meeting will take seven. Oban and Inverness had originally intended to take only 10 and five qualifiers, respectively, from the competition.

The qualifying event will still run as scheduled, but will ostensibly be only for the Northern Meeting, since withdrawal from the qualifier competition itself left the event with only a dozen potential competitors.

“Given that the CPA grading system rates all pipers graded B or above to be of a standard considered to be eligible for Silver Medal, the Competing Pipers Association is absolutely in agreement with the Argyllshire Gathering’s decision to allow all of those pipers in the Qualifier to compete,” said CPA President John-Angus Smith. “We have been working with the Argyllshire Gathering on this and fully support its decision.”

According to Smith, there were a total of seven withdrawals. A total of 28 will be allowed to compete in the Silver Medal at the Argyllshire Gathering, and 25 at the Northern Meeting.

Those accepted to compete at the major competitions go through a stringent selection process based largely on prizes won at Scottish competitions. Because there are more applications than available spots in both the Silver and Gold Medal competitions, some pipers are rejected, even though they have the necessary CPA grading to get in.

“To my mind, although this is good for those who are getting a chance to play, it does make a mockery of the . . . selection process for the Silver medal,” said one competitor very close to the matter, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “If both had just chosen a full list of 30 with a few reserves in the first place then this wouldn’t have happened. The idea of a qualifier is to my mind a little unfair anyway as it is essentially like Charlie’s ‘golden ticket’ and negates the efforts of those building up a respectable track record.”

At least six pipers entered to compete in the qualifier compete do not reside in the United Kingdom.

“They make these poor non-Scottish people fly over here early, jump through additional hoops, as if they don’t have to jump through enough hoops already to put sufficient things on their grading forms, then just before the qualifying event they say, ‘Oh, it doesn’t matter, you’re all in,’ ” said another inside source. “Some of these folks are going to have to have to fly back to North America between Oban and Inverness and book a very expensive second flight back if they were successful at getting into Inverness. So much for the, ‘Oh, they’re here anyway’ crowd.

“Time to get it right. Get the best players into the competition. Make a decision who those 30 players are and stick to it. Do this not only through prizes won, but by listening fairly to performances and DVDs.”

The revised order of play for the qualifier competition:

1 Craig Sked
2 Donald Mackay
3 Tracey Williams
4 Matt Pantaleoni
5 Jim Dillahey
6 Craig Sutherland
7 Xavier Boderiou
8 Ian Lyons
9 Duncan Grant
10 Gordon Bruce
11 Andrew Hall
12 Derek Midgley
13 William Nichols

James MacKenzie, Lyric Todkill, Roderick Weir and Alan Johnston withdrew from the qualifier.


  1. I don’t see the Golden Ticket analogy, sorry. Most of the players that are in the qualifying contest have been around the games getting prizes and are on form… If you get through the qualifier what a boost and the confidence that comes with it heading into the AG/NM The alternative is being told , thanks but no thanks back in February , now with having the qualifier at least you have a shot at getting into the contest when previously you were told NO back in the early spring. For what it’s worth in 1991 I tried for entry into the The Argyllshire Gathering and Northern Meeting and was denied entry due to lack of a track record. For the anonymous competitor wouldn’t you rather have a shot at it then no shot at all ? (Keeping in mind you are told this back in early spring) If you have a better way of making the contest more fair than it is now , talk or write to John Angus, he will fight for you and if it is better , will bring the idea to work for all of us Good Luck to all competitors

  2. Surely the decent thing to do now that this process is over is to let the 3 remaining reserve pipers play at Inverness. There is no reason why not – Inverness put it down to 25 only because there was not the time and facilities when they had to move to Aviemore. Now that the Northern Meeting is back at Inverness surely parity can be restored. Differing numbers at Oban and Inverness could lead to a comical situation – what if if Tracey, Gordon or Craig won the Oban Silver Medal (they’re all capable of it) – but deemed not good enough to play at Inverness? Could easily happen. It makes Oban look second rate.



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