NDREW Gill, from Saintfield, a member of Listooder & District Ploughing Society, has claimed the overall Bronze medal at the World Ploughing Contest in held in Kuldiga, Latvia last month.

Andrew has enjoyed success at national level, recently retaining his Northern Ireland title, and has previously won medals at the World Contest where he has competed in USA and Republic of Ireland. This is the first time that Andrew finished on the overall podium to claim 3rd place behind competitors from the Republic of Ireland and Norway.

Over 30 countries are represented at the World Ploughing Contest with competitors travelling from as far as Canada, USA, New Zealand, and Australia to compete for the golden plough. Competitors, officials, and visitors take part in a 10-day programme which consists of practice, visiting tourist and local agricultural sites, ending with two days of competition and a gala dinner. The Northern Ireland team consisted of Andrew who competed in the Conventional Class, Adrian Jamison from Armoy, who finished 10th overall in the Reversible Class, coach and judge, Rodney Crawford from Comber, and board member, William Hood from Co. Antrim.

Andrew was joined in Latvia by his mother and father, Fiona and William, his fiancée, Ashleigh, and a team of supporters. He had shipped his own tractor and plough to Latvia.

Speaking on his return, Andrew said: “It was an amazing event. It was great to see so many friends I’ve met from competing at previous World Contests. Gaining the third place medal in the stubble on Day One and 2nd place medal in the grassland on day two, to end up third place overall in the World Conventional Class, picking up the Fellowship Trophy and Bronze medal.

“Conditions were very challenging with heavy rain making ploughing difficult. Thank you to everyone who has supported me including my family who travelled out to the event, Listooder Ploughing Society, and all sponsored me and helped in any way. Congratulations to my team mate Adrian Jamison finishing 10th overall in the reversible class and a big thanks to our coach, Rodney Crawford for keeping me right.”

Listooder Ploughing Society president, Dai Kennedy, congratulated Andrew on his achievement, saying: “We are extremely proud of Andrew’s success. Competitors travel from all over the world and the standard is extremely high. Andrew has established himself as one of the best ploughmen in the world and he has proven it again this year winning a bronze medal in the stubble and silver medal in the grassland to win the overall bronze medal. This follows his father, William Gill, recently winning the European Vintage Ploughing Championship in the Netherlands earlier this year, crowning a fantastic year for Listooder and the Gill family.”

Eamonn Tracey, from the Republic of Ireland, defended the title that he won last year in the Conventional Ploughing class to claim hold of the Golden Plough. John Whelan from Wexford won the Reversible Class.

There is no time to relax for Andrew and his family. He is due to get married to his fiancée, Ashleigh next month, before preparing for the 69th World Ploughing Contest in Estonia next year.