Northern Ireland’s top ploughmen have returned home with several medals after competing at the World Ploughing Contest last weekend in York, England.
Tens of thousands spectators were at the event to watch the spectacle of team from across 30 countries as far away as USA, Canada, South Africa, New Zealand and Australia who took part in a 10 day programme which was blessed with continuous sunshine resulting in a very high standard of ploughing.
In the Reversible Class, Thomas Cochrane from Coleraine Ploughing Society, was 5th place in the stubble class on Day 1 but ploughed an outstanding plot in Day 2 to be Crowned World Reversible Grassland Champion. Tension was high throughout the second day of the competition as Thomas sought to overturn a 14 point deficit but in the end Thomas finished in the Silver medal position overall, just one point behind Andrew Mitchell Snr from Scotland. John Whelan from Co Wexford took the Bronze medal.
In the Conventional class, Samuel Gill, from Downpatrick, took the Bronze medal in the Stubble land contest on Day 1 and maintained an excellent standard to take the overall Bronze medal behind Andrew Mitchell Jnr, Scotland, who completed a fantastic father-son double by taking the Gold medal. Eamon Tracey, from Carlow took the silver medal. To highlight the competitiveness of both classes, all podium winners was previous world champions.
In the World Vintage Ploughing Championships, Ian Simms, Kilroot, took the Gold medal on Day 1 and took the Bronze medal position overall. Jackie Moore from Bangor completed an outstanding achievement for Northern Ireland ploughing by taking the bronze medal in the Vintage Trailer Class.
William King MBE, from Coleraine, President of the Northern Ireland Ploughing Association, and team judge for the contest was delighted with the result. “Ploughing in Northern Ireland is in a great place with our team competing at the very top in every class. The whole team worked closely together to support each other so they could get the very best from their ploughs on the day of the contest. The land in England was excellent – dry, loose soil that meant that the challenge was higher, and our team were able to compete at the top. All the team deserve huge credit for on a fantastic achievement on an individual level, and as a team. On behalf of our Association we send our congratulations to father and son, on what is a wonderful achievement for Scotland and the Mitchell’s as a family.
World Ploughing Organisation Board member for Northern Ireland Richard Gill, from Listooder Ploughing Society, praised the team’s performance “Congratulations to the NI team – to come home with so many medals, in such a competitive World Contest, is a credit to themselves, their families, local societies and ploughing across Northern Ireland. Thank you to the many people who made the effort to travel across the Irish Sea to support the team which gave the competitors a huge lift.”
Saturday 10th & Sunday 11th September with medal winners being announced at a Gala evening following the competition. A full report will follow next week. For more information please visit HYPERLINK “http://www.niploughing.com” www.niploughing.com
The World Contest will be followed by the 73rd Northern Ireland Championships which will take place in Aghanloo Industrial Estate, Limavady, Co Londonderry on Friday 30th & Saturday 1st October to determine who will represent Northern Ireland at next year’s World & European contests. The championships promises to be another important event in the agri calendar and the NIPA are delighted to be able to hold their contest back on the north coast. Along with the ploughing, there are many different attractions for all the family to enjoy at our event this year including a return of the ever popular tractor pulling competition as well as the usual trade exhibitors from across the agricultural sector and beyond. The Young Farmers Clubs of Ulster will hold their fencing competition and soil assessment which attracts over 20 clubs from all across the province the return of the ever popular tractor pulling competition. A host of top competitors from NI and ROI will battle out for the top prize.