Eight teams contested the 2014 Duke of Sutherland Cup, one of the series of six HPA tournaments run at Cowdray Park annually.
Michael Bickford’s La Indiana and Nickolai Bahlsen’s Dell Park made it to the final, having met each other in the 2013 final, and spectators witnessed just as pacy and tough an encounter as the previous year.
For 2014, Nikolai Bahlsen’s line-up had changed to include Richard Le Poer at No2, with Max Charlton again taking the No3 position and Malcolm Borwick at back.
Michael Bickford made two changes to his 2013 team with Australian seven-goal player Ruki Baillieu brought in to take the No3 position and Matias Logioco (three goals) at back. Once again Marcos Araya played at No2.
La Indiana were first away with the ball and some slick moves saw the Patron pop the ball through the posts and claim the first mark on the scoreboard. It wasn’t long before Araya added to La Indiana’s scoreline.
Dell Park steered the ball away from the centre line to be picked up by Le Poer who sent it between the posts. Awarded a penalty, Dell Park failed to score and at the end of the first chukka were a goal short.
The second chukka went all Dell Park’s way. Away went Borwick with the ball at the start of the chukka, only to be fouled by Baillieu. The ensuing spot penalty saw Borwick strike the ball accurately.
Two super goals from Charlton took Dell Park ahead and a solo effort from Borwick saw Dell Park 5-2 up to close the second chukka.
Despite excellent play from Charlton and Le Poer in the third chukka, they were simply unable to add to Dell Park’s scoreline, while for La Indiana Baillieu made amends with a super goal and Araya ploughed through the field to bring his side a goal nearer, the chukka ending at 5-4 in Dell Park’s favour.
After half-time, once again a chukka passed with no addition to Dell Park’s score. Meanwhile La Indiana worked hard to take the ball to Dell Park’s goal mouth and Baillieu’s efforts paid off with an equaliser. Then, awarded a penalty, Baillieu took his side ahead to 6-5 before the chukka closed.
Dell Park came back fighting for the fifth chukka. Borwick was first to score from a penalty and the scores were even. Charlton scored from a beautifully-angled shot to take Dell Park into the lead.
But Charlton wasn’t finished. Taking possession of the ball, he steered it right down the boards and despite being closely marked, kept his head and made another super goal taking Dell Park on to 8-6 and victory in the 2014 Jaeger-LeCoultre Duke of Sutherland Cup.
The cup was presented by Harriet Grundy, PR manager for Jaeger-LeCoultre, to a delighted Bahlsen. She presented the award for best playing pony to Black Velvet played by Araya and owned by Richard Britten-Long. Players’ prizes were sponsored by Casablanca Polo.