The Pony Club International Mounted Games competition for the Perpetual Cup is always a closely fought battle. Hosted in Ireland as a follow up from the competition earlier on in the year in Windsor, 6 teams battle to take the trophy home.
The Windsor winners Scotland and England as the current holders of the Perpetual Cup were both determined to prove their dominance over the sport, but Northern Ireland, Wales, Southern Ireland and the United Nations All Stars were equally as hellbent on keeping these two teams from the trophy.
England took a convincing lead on Saturday morning, with Wales a well placed second. During the afternoons session it soon became clear that the contest was between these two countries, as Wales rode beautifully to take the second session, and close the gap on their rivals by 4 points over all.
Wales went into Sunday morning’s session with the crowd behind them and knowing they could pass the English with some consistent and steady play. But mounted games takes no prisoners and a couple of small mistakes can alter the game considerably. Wales had a poorer session while England rode their hears out to win the session convincingly over Wales. Wales, although still second, had dropped to 14 points behind the leaders and it was looking increasingly unlikely that this would be their year.
The five went into the final on Sunday afternoon with no allusions. They were trailing behind a strong English side. All they wanted to do now was ride their best and be proud of their performance.
England rode hard and fast but in their eagerness to stay top mistakes crept in, and a ball missed can equal last place. Wales on the other hand kept their cool and steadily rode the races, coming in consistently in the top three places. The points began to rack up and 14 points became 10, which became 5…… All of a sudden England and Wales were neck and neck!
With one race left to play, Wales had incredibly overtaken England and were now two points clear of their white rivals. The red crowd stood on tenterhooks on the side line, knowing that if England beat Wales in this last race by 2 or more places, the Welsh dream would be over. England decided to pull it out of the bag at the last moment and threw their hearts into BIG Sack, to cross the line first. And where were Wales? About an inch behind in second place.
The crowd went wild as they realised Wales had won overall by 1 point, the same margin as Wales had lost to France. Suddenly the team saw their fans jumping up and down and hugging each other, and realisation dawned. High fives all round and the biggest smiles of the weekend were seen.
A massive well done to the team – Suzi Williams from the Flint and Denbigh, George Betts from the Berwyn and Dee, Harriet Davies and Tom Norton from Banwen, Tom Lucas from Llangeignor and the reserve, Rachel Brisborne from Sir Watkins William Wynn. Thank you for making us proud.