It was a sweltering day with the mercury hitting 32 degrees as these two familiar teams lined up at Fifield Polo Club, Windsor. The crowd sought shelter under gazebos armed with iced Pimms ready to watch battle commence. Starting as underdogs with a half point handicap, IG HAC quickly gained possession and charged down the Royal Artillery team's goal. A 30 yard penalty followed which LCpl Ben De Rivaz slotted home with his usual calm finishing. Back to the centre and this time it was the RA's turn. A quick pick up and long shot up the pitch left the HAC team in their wake as the RA knocked home their response within one minute. The game found its pace now as some excellent paired marking went end-to-end. Finally a long shot up the pitch from Tpr Luke Hartley found LCpl O'Connor who smoothly picked it up from 60 yards out and drove it through the centre of the goal with a delightful lofted finish to close the chukka at 2.5 goals to 1.
The HAC had their tails up now and the second chukka started with a 60 yard penalty. Again De Rivaz calmly wound up to put it in to make the score 3.5 goals to 1. The RA were far from beaten though as they responded aggressively. Some excellent riding off left two of the HAC standing as they closed the gap to 3.5 to 2. A cheeky pass to the centre from Tpr Clark on his HAC debut found O'Connor and with some frantic goal mouth chipping he kept his head well and completed to give the HAC a comfortable 4.5 to 2 lead going into half-time. The pause was a welcome relief as iced drinks were quaffed and ponies sprayed down in the sweltering heat.
The HAC seemed to lose a little form in the third chukka with the Royal Artillery team punishing them as wave after wave of attacks on the goal were seen off by the relentless backhands of Hartley and De Rivaz. Eventually a chink in the armour was found and well deserved goal from the RA put them within striking distance for the final chukka. 4.5 goals to 3.
Weary ponies and players rode out and soon found their final push as some nail biting end-to-end plays unfolded in flat a gallop. Both teams threw everything they had at it with a skilfully finished goal for De Rivaz completing his hat-trick for the day, followed shortly with a response from the RA. As the final chukka bell rang out, IG HAC rode in victorious as holders of the Sabre Cup for 2013.
Final score: IG HAC 5.5 - Royal Artillery 4