Andrew lifts best newcomer title at World Ploughing competition

Andrew lifts best newcomer title at World Ploughing competition

4 September 2019

LISTOODER Ploughing Society’s Andrew Gill was crowned best newcomer at the World Ploughing contest held in America last weekend.

Andrew battled back from serious illness to compete in the prestigious event in Minnesota and what makes his achievement all the more remarkable is that it was achieved on a borrowed tractor and plough.

The Listooder club man — who also finished fourth in the conventional class — was diagnosed with leukaemia three years ago. 

He subsequently spent 24 months undergoing treatment, but recovered to win the Northern Ireland title last year to qualify to compete at the world contest in the US.

Over 30 countries were represented at the prestigious competition including competitors from the Republic of Ireland, England, Scotland, Wales, USA, Canada, New Zealand and Australia. Competing in the competition for the first time, Andrew ploughed excellently over both days, winning a bronze medal on day one.

With an aggregate score over the two days of competition used to crown the world champion, it was all to plough for on day two which focused on grassland. 

And Andrew was in good company with three former world champions making up the top five positions on the first day.

He ploughed another fantastic plot to finish in fifth place on day two, which placed him fourth overall, picking up the best newcomer award.

Andrew said it has always been his dream to compete at the world contest. 

“It has been an unbelievable experience and I am so delighted to have won a medal. I am indebted for all the support I have received, particularly from my family,” he said.

Listooder Ploughing Society chairman Martin Gill spoke of his delight following the gala awards presentation. 

He said: “To go to the world contest for the first time, using borrowed equipment and to compete with the best in the world, winning a bronze medal and best newcomer title is a fantastic achievement. 

“Listooder has a long and successful history in ploughing. All three of our members who have competed at the world contest have all come home medal winners.”

In the reversible class, Hillsborough’s James Coulter, who was also competing at the world contest for the first time, produced another fantastic performance. 

After finishing 10th on day one, James ploughed a fantastic plot the day after to win a bronze medal on grassland, finishing fourth overall and winning the best newcomer for the class.

There will be little time for Andrew and James to celebrate as they prepare to compete in the Northern Ireland Championships at Cookstown this weekend.