July 09, 2014

The Grade 1 and Grade 2 World’s draws: some sitting pretty, others look for upside

perceived bias or attachment to any particular competitor. The RSPBA has no rules prohibiting adjudicators assessing bands with a close family member in its ranks, or policies against manufacturers or dealers of pipe band products judging.

The Stuart Highlanders of Massachusetts, moved to Grade 1 by the RSPBA in May, should be pleased with their second-last spot in Group 2. Grade 1 bands in Group 1 gain a slight advantage in odds of going through based on 11 bands in the group, versus six bands making the cut from the 12-band Group 2.

The sun can shine brightly on some bands at the World’s, as in the Sunday at the 2013 championships.

Each group in the Grade 1 qualifier features three prize-winners in the top-six at last year’s World Championships, sure to be seen by contestants after last year’s relatively lopsided allocation of established prize-winners and perceived strong contenders being lumped into one of the heats.

Canning added: “Looking at the heats, they seem more evenly balanced this year when compared with last year when one was more heavily stacked with the usual top six or eight competitors than the other. I’m still waiting to hear if there will be a march past of any sort on the Friday or if we can leave once we have played. Hopefully once we have played, the band can leave for home/hotels and allow time to relax and prepare for the second day should we qualify. This is especially important if the weather is as bad as last year. Let’s hope for everyone’s sake that this isn’t the case.”

In the 22-band Grade 2 competition, bands will also vie for spots in the 12-band final. Of the bands who have not regularly featured in the prizes at RSPBA championships so far in 2014 – thus likely candidates to make the final – New York Metro of the USA will be pleased with their second-last spot in Heat 1, and Bagad Brieg of Brittany is sure to be happy with their third-last placement in Heat 2. Houston’s St. Thomas Alumni, fourth-on in Heat 1 in Grade 2, will be of two minds: an early draw, but playing immediately before Buchan Peterson, winners of Grade 2 at the 2013 World’s and the 2014 European.

With start-times of the first bands on in both Grade 1 and Grade 2 heats being pushed back by several hours, Glasgow’s typical pattern of relatively worse weather in the mornings is reduced, with the day’s high temperature generally reached by 11 am, the time for the first bands in the Grade 1 qualifying heats.

Grade 1
Group 1 (top six finishers go to final)
1. Police Scotland Fife (Scotland)
2. 78th Fraser Highlanders (Canada)
3. ScottishPower (Scotland)
4. Vale of Atholl (Scotland)
5. Greater Glasgow Police (Scotland)
6. New Zealand Police (New Zealand)
7. Bagad Cap Caval (Brittany)
8. Field Marshal Montgomery (Northern Ireland)
9. Canterbury Caledonian (New Zealand)
10. St Laurence O’Toole (Ireland)
11. Denny & Dunipace Gleneagles (Scotland)

Group 2 (top six finishers go to final)
1. Cullybackey (Northern Ireland)
2. Shotts & Dykehead Caledonia (Scotland)
3. Dowco Triumph Street (Canada)
4. Simon Fraser University (Canada)
5. Toronto Police (Canada)
6. Peel Regional Police (Canada)
7. Peoples Ford Boghall & Bathgate Caledonia (Scotland)
8. Inveraray & District (Scotland)
9. LA Scots (USA)
10. Ravara (Northern Ireland)
11. Stuart Highlanders (USA)
12. Ballycoan (Northern Ireland)

Grade 2
Group 1 (top six finishers go to final)
1. University of Bedfordshire (England)
2. Coalburn IOR (Scotland)
3. Dumbarton & District (Scotland)
4. St. Thomas Alumni (USA)
5. Buchan Peterson (Scotland)
6. Lomond & Clyde (Scotland)
7. City of Edinburgh (Scotland)
8. Glasgow Skye (Scotland)
9. Deeside Caledonia JCE Energy (Scotland)
10. New York Metro (USA)
11. Manorcunningham (Ireland)

Group 2 (top six finishers go to final)
1. Portland Metro (USA)
2. St. Finbarr’s (Ireland)
3. Bucksburn & District (Scotland)
4. Aughintober (Northern Ireland)
5. Bleary & District (Northern Ireland)
6. Police Service of Northern Ireland
7. Oban (Scotland)
8. Scottish Fire & Rescue
9. Bagad Brieg (Brittany)
10. Torphichen & Bathgate (Scotland)
11. Mackenzie Caledonian (Scotland)




  1. If you’re good enough then you’re good enough, especially given the MSR and Medley qualification and final, a welcome change made last year. Playing in a heat of 11 or 12 then a final of 12 is surely not an issue, I know many judges who will tell you Grade 1 is actually the easiest Grade to judge, so with no more than 12 bands at any time I don’t think this is an issue. As no announcement has been made to the contrary then assume that your draw number is the number you retain throughout the event, but again in a maximum 12 bands does it really matter.

  2. You sound like someone that plays in a band which spends £300 to get to Glasgow and not one which forks out 100 x that just to fly there. Draw doesnt matter? Isn’t that the usual number of first grade bands at a normal major? Gieyerheadashakeladdie. You must be connected with the rspba!!!

  3. Actually I spend a lot more than £300 to get there, although I fail to see how that is relevant. If a band is good enough over MSR and Medley they will get through. With 6 from 11 and 6 from 12 going through in each heat then if you don’t make it let’s not look to blame the draw. That’s my point, I’m failing to see yours apart from £30,000 to fly to the event. What I’d like to hear from you is how you think it should be? With representation from USA, Canada, New Zealand and Australia in Grade 4B with heats of 19’s and 20’s early in the morning, I’d say they’re in a worse draw situation than Grade 1. I don’t need to be connected to the RSPBA to know several judges, the pipe band world really isn’t that big.



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