SLOT looks to three-peat at UK Championships
St. Laurence O’Toole of Dublin will be trying for three UK Pipe Band Championships in a row in Lurgan, Northern Ireland, on Saturday, June 11th, the second of the five major championships in the UK season and the first UK Championship since 2019.
The band, which finished third at the first major of the year, the British at Greenock, Scotland, will face winners and reigning World Champions Inveraray & District, British runners-up Field Marshal Montgomery, as well as seven others in the 10-band Grade 1 MSR competition.
Police Scotland Fife hopes to maintain or improve on its fourth-prize at the British, the highest placing in the band’s history at a major championship. Perennial contenders ScottishPower are working to return to the prize list after finishing seventh at Greenock.
The Grade 1 event is a mirror of the British where 10 bands competed in one of the smallest Grade 1 championship entries in decades.
Grade 2 will see only 12 bands competing, down from the 15 that contested the event at the British. Presumably, several bands couldn’t find the finances to travel to the Northern Ireland competition.
Weather in Lurgan looks changeable: a high of 16 and “light rain showers,” with some sun.
Meanwhile, the Ontario outdoor piping and drumming season returns with the first in-person event of 2022 at Georgetown. Apart from the Cobourg Highland Games squeezing into a window in September 2021 after, the Ontario scene, like most others around the world, was hugely impacted by COVID-19 restrictions in 2020 and 2021.
Only two bands will compete in the Grade 1 medley event: the 78th Fraser Highlanders of Ontario and the 78th Highlanders (Halifax Citadel) of Nova Scotia.
Grade 2 will see something of a comeback, with four bands entered for the MSR contest: Ottawa Police Services, Peel Regional Police the Toronto Police (Gr2), and St. Andrew’s College Association, which will be making its competition debut under Pipe-Major Matt MacIsaac and Lead-Drummer Dave Fenton. The Ottawa Police are also returning following a year of rebuilding in 2019 when the band didn’t compete.
Stay tuned to pipes|drums for results from both events as they become available.