The Walter Bull & Son Sidebottom Cup would bring to a close a glorious season at Beaufort Polo Club, as 5 teams took to the grounds of Beaufort for one last hoorah in magnificent style.
Hascombe Stud were an even match for a combined team of Senzaltro and Limitless in the opening game. It was all square on 2 all at half time, but Senzaltro/Limitless snuck ahead in the third chukka and maintained the short lead to the end of play to win 4 – 3. Shibumi then put in a performance that would belie their half goal handicap start to beat Redex with an overwhelmingly convincing score of 6½ – 0.
Redex were able to keep Senzaltro/Limitless in far closer range on Wednesday 12th. Shadowing the opposition throughout Redex would come up just short with 4 goals to 5, as Senzaltro/Limitless claimed another victory.
The following day’s game would see an exhilarating game with both teams – Hascombe Stud and Santana – claiming a plethora of goals. The odds were ever so slightly tipped to the favour of Hascombe Stud, just one goal ahead on 6 goals to 5; but, Santana reignited their challenge after the tread in to lead 8 – 6 in the third chukka. However, Hascombe Stud had the bit between their teeth in the final chukka, scoring 3 further goals to win 9 – 8.
Shibumi would only just have the beating of Santana in in the next game. Dominating the first half, Shibumi led 5 ½ to 2; but throughout the second half Santana crept back up the scoreboard, only to concede defeat by a fine margin of 6 ½ to 6.
Due to the nature of the tournament the draw resulted in a rematch the following day and a chance at redemption for Santana. Leading from the first chukka, Santana kept themselves in front throughout the close game and delivered vengeance in the final chukka for a decisive victory of 8 goals to 5 ½ over Shibumi. The following match would also stage a rematch, this time between Hascombe Stud and Senzaltro/Limitless. It would be another turning of tables; Hascombe Stud starting with clear intent and then proceeding to uphold their dominance throughout, before ensuring a comfortable victory of 7 goals to 3 in the fourth chukka.
In decidedly autumnal conditions Hascombe Stud and Santana took to No.2 for the last curtain call of the season. Spectators were undeterred by the cooler climate, lining the stand side and filling the grandstand. Hascombe Stud got off to a blistering start, laying down the gauntlet to lead 4 – 1 in the opening chukka and maintain their authority at the half time whistle 4 – 3. However, Santana would not go down without a fight, valiantly battling back to level (5 all) half way through the third chukka. Hascombe Stud were fierce in retaliation, re-establishing their lead by the fourth chukka (7 – 5) and despite Santana once again biting into their lead, claiming a sixth goal, they delivered one last blow to triumph with 8 goals to 6.
Prizes were generously provided by Walter Bull & Son and presented along with the Sidebottom Cup by James Gegg in front of the grandstand.
This was followed by the subsidiary final, an evenly matched contest between Shibumi and Redex. The former would have a marginal lead of 3 ½ goals to 2 at half time, but following a goalless third chukka Redex appeared to be on a roll, reeling the opposition in. It seemed it could go either way in the last chukka, with Redex just a whisker ahead on 4 goals to 3 ½; but in the dying seconds of the chukka Shibumi notched a up a fourth only for Redex to be awarded a 40-yard penalty with 3 seconds left on the clock. Sadly, for Roddy Stanning and therefore Redex his radar was off and hit wide to leave Shibumi with the win by a fraction of 4 ½ to 4.
The contenders of the subsidiary also received prize courtesy of Walter Bull & Son, presented in front of the club house by Mark Tomlinson.