July 13, 2023

RSPBA makes World’s Friday Grade 1 draw after releasing everything else the day before

The Royal Scottish Pipe band Association reportedly acknowledged that it was an oversight that the organization didn’t make a separate draw for the first day of Grade 1 competitions to be held the Friday of the World Pipe Band Championships at Glasgow Green, according to several sources.

The 16 Grade 1 bands entered for the event were left confused when there was no order of play included for Friday, uncertain whether the Saturday order would be the same or if there was a separate draw.

The globe’s most powerful organization invited band representatives to attend a random draw on Zoom on Thursday, July 13th, the day after it had released the order of play for all of the Saturday events.

Grade 1 orders of play


  1. Auckland & District (New Zealand)
  2. St. Laurence O’Toole (Republic of Ireland)
  3. Police Scotland Fife (Scotland)
  4. Manawatu Scottish (New Zealand)
  5. Simon Fraser University (Canada)
  6. St. Thomas Alumni (USA)
  7. Closkelt (Northern Ireland)
  8. Shotts & Dykehead Caledonia (Scotland)
  9. Johnstone (Scotland)
  10. Police Scotland & Federation (Scotland)
  11. ScottishPower (Scotland)
  12. 78th Fraser Highlanders (Canada)
  13. Inveraray & District (Scotland)
  14. Canterbury Caledonian Society (New Zealand)
  15. Field Marshal Montgomery (Northern Ireland)
  16. Peoples Ford Boghall & Bathgate Caledonia (Scotland)


  1. Canterbury Caledonian Society
  2. Peoples Ford Boghall & Bathgate Caledonia
  3. Auckland & District
  4. Manawatu Scottish
  5. St. Laurence O’Toole
  6. Closkelt
  7. Johnstone
  8. Field Marshal Montgomery
  9. St. Thomas Alumni
  10. Shotts & Dykehead Caledonia
  11. Simon Fraser University
  12. ScottishPower
  13. 78th Fraser Highlanders
  14. Police Scotland Fife
  15. Police Scotland & Federation
  16. Inveraray & District

Because there are only 16 bands in the event, all Grade 1 bands will once again compete in each of the Medley and MSR events on each day, with no draw for what they have to play.

New this year for Grade 1 is an MSR format that requires bands to submit a set of only four-parted tunes with the apparent objective to prop up classic shorter pieces and create a more level playing field for contestant and easier time of it for judges. It is not known which day will see the four-parted MSR competition.

As previously reported, a total of 190 contestants have entered the 2023 World Pipe Band Championships, including 16 in Grade 1 and 20 in Grade 2, as the all-important order of play came to light.

Grade 1 will see the 10 bands from the UK and Ireland that have been competing at the RSPBA major championships, with Auckland & District, Canterbury Caledonian Society and Manawatu Scottish making the arduous and ultra-expensive trip from New Zealand; St. Thomas Alumni returning from the USA; and the 78th Fraser Highlanders and Simon Fraser University continuing their decades-long unfailing annual attendance at the biggest pipe band event on earth.

Proximity in the playing order, as always, can play a role in a band’s results. Generally, the later a contestant performs, the more advantageous it can be, similar to sporting events where top-seeds by merit earn a later spot in the order.

By RSPBA rules, there is no seeding process. Instead, there’s a random draw to determine when each band will compete.

European Championship winners Inveraray & District will be pleased with their late draws on each day, as will defending World Champions Field Marshal Montgomery. UK Champions Peoples Ford Boghall & Bathgate Caledonia are the final band to compete on the Friday, but have to go on second on Saturday. ScottishPower and the 78th Fraser Highlanders drew almost the same position each day, respectively, 11th and 12th and 12th and 13th on Friday and Saturday.

Travelling more than 12,000 miles over two days, and investing close to $150,000 to do it, Auckland & District and Manawatu Scottish will have to play in the first four in all four events.

About 24 hours later, the RSPBA quietly added the Grade 1 Friday draw to the list it published on July 12th.






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