April 01, 2022

RSPBA allocates judges for major championships

The Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association chose April 1st to announce the judges assigned to their five major championships, culminating with the World Championships August 12-13 in Glasgow.

Only four Grade 1 bands outside of the UK and Ireland, the 78th Fraser Highlanders, City of Dunedin, Simon Fraser University, and St. Thomas Alumni, have said that they plan to make the trip to Glasgow, with the latter two making their World’s debut in the top grade after two years waiting due to the pandemic necessitating the cancellation of the event.

There’s a slate of “overseas” judges. Nat Russell and Sam Young of Australia; Duncan Millar of the United States; and Greg Dinsdale, Ken Eller, Bob Worrall of Canada have been assigned. Unlike other organizations worldwide that pay full expenses for far-travelled “guest” adjudicators, the RSPBA does not cover travel costs fully for non-UK judges, who only get a slightly higher travel allotment than their UK colleagues.

Grade 1

Friday: Maurice Rhodes, Bob Worrall (piping); Alec Dudgeon (drumming); Tom Brown (ensemble)
Saturday: Robert Shaw, Peter Hunt (piping); Stuart Coils (drumming); Jim Baxter (ensemble)

Friday: Jim Wark, Ken Eller (piping); Duncan Millar (drumming); Alan Ronaldson (ensemble)
Saturday: Ross Walker, Cameron Edgar (piping); Lee Innes (drumming); Jennifer Hutcheon (ensemble)

A pipes|drums survey of pipe-majors indicated that, at most, only 16 of the globe’s Grade 1 bands plan to attend the World Championships. Lomond & Clyde of Glasgow subsequently announced that it could not compete in 2022. Presumably the grade will be split into two sections, as happened at the 2019 event, the last time it was held.

RSPBA leaders did not respond to our request for clarification.

Grade 2
Barry Donaldson, John Nevans (piping); Paul Brown (drumming); Tony Sloane (ensemble)

The RSPBA threshold for staging a qualifying competition is 23 entrants. The grade is clearly not expected to have enough entries to require a qualifying competition.

Each championship lists one or, in the case of the World’s, two back-up judges in the event one or two can’t attend due to illness or travel issues.

Of note, 2022 is the final year of eligibility to judge for both Eller and Ronaldson, as he has reached the age of 75 and thus “ages out” as per the association’s rule that judges can’t be 76 or older.

Bob Worrall judging suggests that either he would not be a commentator for a BBC Scotland broadcast of the competition, or there won’t be show. Worrall has done the play-by-play since the inception of the live streamed show. The BBC have not confirmed if they will continue with their usual broadcast.

The full list of judges for RSPBA major championships can be found here.



Few non-UK top-grade bands plan to attend a 2022 World’s
January 28, 2022



  1. Some may be happy, some may be disappointed. I retire at the end of 2023 season not 2022 and will be my 46th year as an RSPBA Adjudicator.
    Alan Ronaldson.



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