Seven teams entered the 2017 6 goal West Sussex Cup. Following a blistering 9-2 win against Alcedo in the Semi Finals on 2nd September, Peter Barfoot’s Maiz Dulce went through to meet Jo Stuart’s Los Hamblinos in the Final on Sunday 3rd September, Jo’s team having beaten Waring Furniture 8-6½ in their Semi Final.
Millie Cooper played at 1 for Maiz Dulce, Matt Pitts at 2, and 3 goalers Jack Berner at 3 and Derreck Bratley at Back. Jo Stuart was joined by Harry Hickmet in the number 1 position, Ollie Cork at 3 and Niall Donnelly, at 4 goals the highest handicapped player on the field, at Back.
Los Hamblinos won the first throw-in, but in no time a spot penalty gave Bratley his first mark on the scoreboard. Donnelly busied himself throughout the chukka, saving several attempts at goal by Maiz Dulce. However, a hit from the spot saw Bratley for Maiz Dulce tap the ball while his forwards sorted out their positions; Pitts received the long ball from Bratley and Berner finished off with a good field goal to take Maiz Dulce on to 2-0 before the chukka ended.
At the start of chukka 2, a 60 yard penalty awarded to Maiz Dulce was seen through the posts in fine style by Bratley. A super field goal followed taking the score on to 4-0 and within a minute off raced Bratley again for his fourth goal of the match. Awarded a penalty, Donnelly failed to put a 40 yard shot through and the score remained at 5-0 to Maiz Dulce as the half time bell sounded.
Maiz Dulce continued to dominate in the third chukka. First Jack Berner made a terrific run down the pitch to score taking Maiz Dulce on to 6-0 and then a super piece of team play, with Millie Cooper firmly in her stride, helped Bratley to another goal. Jack Berner raced away from the resulting throw-in to send a superb cut shot between the posts to add a third to his tally of goals and the score moved on to 8-0 to Maiz Dulce.
Donnelly gave his all in the final chukka and was finally rewarded when a 60 yard penalty shot went through the posts. A whistle came seconds after the throw-in, a 40 yard penalty was awarded to Maiz Dulce and Bratley took the yellow shirts on to 9-1 with his sixth goal of the match. Again some scrappy play resulted in a whistle and Donnelly again lofted another great 60 yard shot through the goal. Back went the teams to the centre and Bratley was soon on the move again. Cork stole the ball from him, Pitts re-claimed it and raced off but soon lost the ball to a hovering Donnelly. Off went Cork and Donnelly, the Back seeing it through the posts for 9-3. Cork came away with the ball from the throw in but couldn’t finish and it was left to Donnelly to score for the fourth time for Los Hamblinos. But the team’s come-back was too late, Maiz Dulce had won the 2017 West Sussex Cup on a score of 9-4.
Bride-to-be, Hayley Neale, celebrating with friends at their first polo match, was thrilled to be asked to present the Cup and prizes. The Maiz Dulce team duly posed for pictures giving her a happy hen-party memory.
In the subsidiary Final Madams Farm beat Verdley Farm 9½-5.