Ploughing champs return from Sweden

HILLSBOROUGH man David Gill finished sixth overall in a strongly contested field at the 58th World Ploughing Contest in Lindevad, Sweden last week.

David Wright from Magherafelt returned with a silver medal in the Reversible Class. After winning the Gold medal on stubble ground on Day 1 of the two day contest, David, who is the current European Reversible Champion, drew a less favourable plot on the grassland on Day 2 but held onto the silver medal overall. The gold medal was won by Andrew Mitchell Senior from Scotland.

After qualifying at last year’s NI ploughing championships in Stewartstown, Co Tyrone, the men spent the winter practicing and preparing for the trip to this years World Contest. The ploughmen, both of whom are ex-World champions, shipped their own tractors and ploughs to Sweden spending two weeks, in bright sunshine, practicing and adjusting to soil conditions. Nearly 300 delegates from all over the world join together each year for 10 days official practice and competition spending time visiting farms and studying local agricultural techniques in Sweden.

National Champions from 29 countries worldwide, including Australia, Kenya, Canada and from all over Europe, compete in the popular two day event which was attended by over 25,000 spectators. Northern Ireland lies second in the all time winners table having won the event 10 times. Mr Wilson Holden, Chairman of the Northern Ireland Ploughing Association commented on the NI team success. “With even stiffer competition at world level, our men maintained the tradition of Northern Ireland doing well at the World contest. Congratulations to David Wright on winning the Gold medal on the stubble ground and finishing in the silver medal position overall. David Gill ploughed really well over the two days competition was unlucky to finish outside the medal positions. Ploughing continues to play an important role in our agricultural industry and it is great to see Northern Ireland achieving recognition at World level”

Mr John Henning, Northern bank, who are sole sponsor of the NIPA, was proud of the team’s performance adding “Northern Bank was delighted to hear of the strong performance of the Northern Ireland ploughing team at the World Championships in Sweden last week. We congratulate David Wright who took the Silver Medal in the Reversible competition and his colleague David Gill who also extremely performed well at these ‘ploughing Olympics’. Northern Bank is again proud to be Sole Sponsor of the NI International Ploughing Championships and looks forward to this year’s event at Portaferry on October 14 and 15 when the Northern Ireland team for the World Championships in 2012 will be selected.”  The ploughmen were joined in Sweden by Coach Thomas Cochrane, Coleraine Mr William Hood, World Ploughing Organisation Chairman, and a team of supporters from Northern Ireland.

The 68th Northern Ireland Championships will be held in Kearney, Portaferry on October 14 and 15 and will determine who will represent Northern Ireland at next years world contest in Biograd, Croatia in September 2012. For full information please visit www.niploughing.com.