Saturday saw us competing in our first championship of the year. It was a decent day, but...
We managed to qualify for the final, and ended up coming 9th. If you'd offered me that on Friday, I would have readily accepted it. As it was, we came away sorely disappointed.
The day started well - we got to the competition bright and early, our preparation went extremely well, and we went on did well in the qualifier. We came away sure that we'd made it with some ease... which is a little risky, as we've found to our cost in the past. Still, we made it.
Then, for the final our preparation also went well, apart from being rushed by two different stewards at two different times (which hardly seems fair, but what can you do?). Anyway, we went on, we played, and we came away sure that we'd actually done better the second time out - we thought we must surely be in with a good shout of a prize.
But it wasn't to be.
In fact, it turned out we'd come 6th in the qualifier (8th and 12th for piping, 2nd for drumming, and 6th for ensemble). In fact, we were only 1 point ahead of the 7th placed band, though we did have a better ensemble score, meaning that we actually made it by only the smallest of margins.
In the final, we came 9th (11th and 7th for piping, 5th for drumming, and 11th for ensemble). So a slightly better performance overall, but only just.
The journey home was therefore extremely muted. I think we were all just happy to have it done and over with.
Unfortunately, this basically ends my hopes of seeing the band getting promoted before I stand down in September - to do it, we'd basically need to win a prize at each of the three remaining Championships. That's already a tall order, but once you factor in that it includes the Worlds, where it's hugely difficult just to qualify (only 4 bands go through from each of three qualifying groups, rather than the more usual 6 each from two groups), we're really up against it.
Next week is the West Lothian competition in Bathgate, which should be okay. And then we're into June, which is the toughest month of the year - we have something on every Saturday and every Sunday through the month.
#24: "The Elves of Cintra", by Terry Brooks