With the two highest-goal teams in the fixture’s history lining up for the match, it was always going to be close – and at half time the score was 9-5 in Ireland’s favour. However, the second half saw England fight their way back into the lead, with just two goals separating the teams with the final 2min 30sec left on the clock.
But as the clock counted down, the England team of Chris Hyde (9-goals), Jamie Le Hardy (7) and Jonny Good (8) increased their lead to five goals.
After the match, captain Chris Hyde explained that a dominant second half had been part of their game plan. “It was part of our team play. We had used our weaker horses by the end of the second chukka, knowing we’d need a strong third chukka and then would have the wind for the last chukka,” he says.
Hyde was pleased to be on the winning side once again, after the USA ended England’s unbroken winning streak in last year’s Test Match. The 9-goal player, who is Europe’s highest rated Arena player, gave credit to his team and to everyone who provided ponies for the match.
“Jamie and Jonny haven’t played a competitive match for months and got this big call up. When you get players of the quality of Jamie and Jonny on a team together they’re going to be tough to beat, and they were.”
Jamie Le Hardy won the Most Valuable Player award, while Irish team player Richard Le Poer’s ride Dig Deep was the Best Playing Pony. Richard’s Ireland team mates were Sebastian Dawnay and Ryan Pemble, both 8-goal players.
In the Hickstead 12-Goal Challenge, which preceded the Test Match, the Irish team (Richard Fagan, Niall Donnelly and Michael Henderson) won 20-9 against Wales (Ricky Cooper, Roddy Matthews and Roddy Williams), ending the Welsh sides three-year winning streak.