The weekend of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations saw Tidworth play host to the Royal Artillery Cup on Monday 4th June. Despite the tumultuous weather over the Jubilee Pageant on the Thames, Brig Wright and his staff had ensured the Tattoo ground looked immaculate, however the softness of the pitch required a last minute change and a shift of the HAC gazebo onto the Fisher ground. The tournament saw four teams field to compete for the 1902 Royal Artillery Cup.
The first match of the tournament saw the Royal Artillery Blue take on the Army Reserves. Despite valiant efforts by Col Simon Goldstein to rally his men the discipline and familiarity of the RA Blue team saw them victorious.
HAC vs. Royal Artillery Red
The omens for the match were mixed as the HAC took to the field. While the HAC won the toss and selected the direction of play Lt Cy Lloyd Jones managed to create a large indelicately placed "air vent" in his trousers as he mounted his trusty steed. Luckily spectators were spared an unscheduled military display and Cy opted for more riding from the saddle then he may otherwise have practiced.
The game commenced with an initial breakout by the HAC but this was soon closed down by some quick defending from the RA Red. After some choppy play mid-field the game began to slowly open up with the HAC first to score with LCpl de Rivaz striking a solid hit from 60 yds in open play. The goals followed steadily from fouls conceded by the RA and deftly converted by LCpl de Rivaz until the HAC seemed to be home and dry with a solid 3-0 margin. But some confusion and some loose marking saw the Royal Artillery Red get back in the game shepherding the ball over the line. This RA salvo reminded the HAC that the team often dominated early phases of matches only to let the opposition back in the game in the later chukkas. This was not to happen on this occasion and the HAC rallied with some tight defence. A solid backhand from Tpr O'Connor launched a quick counter attack with solid riding off from Sgt Grant and Lt Lloyd Jones keeping the harassing players from LCpl de Rivaz, leaving him free to score a fourth goal.
HAC vs. Royal Artillery Blue
The final saw the winners of both earlier matches square off to see who would take home the Royal Artillery Cup itself. Both teams could sense the prize was within their grasp and began with gusto. The Royal Artillery won the line out only to be rapidly dispossessed and find themselves on the back foot of a rolling HAC assault. The HAC were quick to capitalize and score. Racing back for the lineout the HAC were determined to further assert themselves however the Royal Artillery were determined to deny them - particularly on what is now their home ground. Some fantastic phases of play ensued and ride-offs saw the ball change direction in a blizzard of back hands, quick turns, and tight defensive play. The HAC attacks, whilst not necessarily concluding in goals themselves, drew the RA Red into conceding penalties which were dually converted by LCpl de Rivaz and Lt Lloyd Jones. The HAC were by no means the dominant force as the RA ran up the field on a quick break to claw back a goal. A further attack lead by LCpl De Rivaz saw him denied by a hefty ride off, but the solid support from his no 4 - Tpr O'Connor - saw the dropped ball swept up and drilled home through the goal from an acute angle from near the boards.
The presentation saw Col Simon Ledger introduce Col Dickie Winchester – Garrison Commander of the Royal School of Artillery - to present the prizes. Col Winchester confessed that as a gunner he was disappointed to see the Royal Artillery Cup, which has been won successively by the Royal Artillery themselves for the last three years, go to another regiment. He was however somewhat satisfied to see it was the HAC as he himself is a proud member of the organization having been its Training Major in the past.
HAC team (L-R): Lt Lloyd Jones (1) - LCpl de Rivaz (3) - LSgt Grant (2) - Tpr O’Connor (4)