World’s draw can be make-or-break
The RSPBA has revealed the order of play for the World Pipe Band Championships on August 11-12 at Glasgow Green in Glasgow and, as always, it can have big implications on how well bands do depending on when they play and which bands play before or after them.
The impact has been mitigated for Grade 1 bands since the association eliminated the league table system, pre-qualifying bands that did well at the year’s previous major championships, replaced with all bands vying to be one of the 12 best after playing in medley and MSR events.
There are 20 Grade 1 bands entered, broken randomly into two groups, each with an order-of-play that remains the same in each event.
1. Shotts & Dykehead Caledonia (Scotland) *
2. Inveraray & District (Scotland) *
3. Buchan Peterson (Scotland)
4. Toronto Police (Canada)
5. Auckland & District (New Zealand)
6. Glasgow Police (Scotland)
7. Police Scotland Fife (Scotland) *
8. Bleary & District (Northern Ireland)
9. Dowco Triumph Street (Canada)
10. Police Service of Northern Ireland
1. St. Laurence O’Toole (Ireland) *
2. Ravara (Northern Ireland)
3. Vale of Atholl (Scotland)
4. Peel Regional Police (Canada)
5. 78th Fraser Highlanders (Canada)
6. Johnstone (Scotland)
7. Peoples Ford Boghall & Bathgate Caledonia (Scotland) *
8. Field Marshal Montgomery (Northern Ireland) *
9. Simon Fraser University (Canada)
10. ScottishPower (Scotland) *
There is no seeding, per se, but the RSPBA reportedly assigns bands into different groups based on their finish at the previous year’s World Championship. Bands that finish 1st, 3rd, 5th and so on are put in one group, while those finishing 2nd, 4th, 6th, etc. in the other.
Group 1 would appear to be a little less heavy lifting with only three of the 10 bands having featured in a 2017 prize list (*) so far, whereas Group 2 is that much tougher with four bands being prizewinners at 2017 majors.
Both Dowco Triumph Street and Simon Fraser University likely will be pleased at being drawn second-last in their heats, since competing later in the order-of-play is generally seen as advantageous. Both groups feature major contenders at the beginning (Inveraray, SLOT, Shotts) but, barring catastrophe, these bands should sail through to the final along with 2016 World Champions Field Marshal Montgomery and ScottishPower, and probably Boghall and Fife Police.
Group 1 Medley and Group 2 MSR: Piping: Jim Semple (Scotland), Brian Switalla (New Zealand); drumming: Paul Brown (Scotland); ensemble: John Moles (Scotland)
Group 2 Medley and Group 1 MSR: Piping: Dixie Ingram (Scotland), Ian Wood (Scotland); Drumming: Lee Innes (Scotland); Ensemble: Joe Noble (Scotland)
Medley: Piping: Tom Brown (Scotland), Sam Young (Australia); Drumming: Greg Dinsdale (Canada)
Ensemble: Robert Mathieson (Scotland)
MSR: Piping John Wilson (Scotland), Donald MacPhee (Scotland); Drumming: Alex Dudgeon (Scotland); Ensemble: Tony Sloane (Scotland)
With 28 bands entered in Grade 2, it’s the largest entry that that grade has seen in several years. Seventeen of them are from outside of Scotland, accounting for the large overall number. Six of the non-Scottish bands in Grade 2 are from the United States, an all-time high that could bode well for the future of pipe bands in that country.