America was crowned 2005 Samsung Super League Champion this weekend after a tense and exhilarating finale in Barcelona. Chef d’equipe George Morris’s strategy went according to plan and the American team added just 12pen to their tally to take the Super League title by a convincing nine points. The German team took the runner-up prize followed by the British, in third position.
As expected, the final leg was an exciting competition, with the Dutch team reigning supreme on just 8pen, securing them a respectable fifth position in the final rankings. The American and Swiss teams finished equal second. After a shaky season, the Irish team managed to avoid relegation by finishing equal fourth with Germany and in seventh position overall. The British team failed to produce their best performance, finishing in sixth position on a score of 24pen.
Spanish course designer Avelino Rodriguez’s masterful course presented the perfect challenge with a combination at fence six proving catching out many of the competitors. Holland’s Gerco Schroder, America’s Jeffrey Welles, Switzerland’s Christina Liebherr and Spain’s Rutherford Latham produced the only double clears of the day.
After a reasonable first round performance from the British team, second round scores of 16pen from Robert Whitaker and 8pen from Ellen Whitaker, who took the final Longines prize for the most elegant and stylish horsewoman in the competition, dropped Britain out of contention.
The American riders put on an impressive show with second-round clears from Welles and Laura Kraut (Anthem) ensuring only one of the four-fault results from Lauren Hough (Casadora) and McLain Ward (Oasis) had to be added to their score. But the Dutch were unbeatable; clears from Harrie Smolders, Leon Thijssen and Gerco Schroder saw them adding just 4 pen to their first round score of 4pen.
A disappointing performance from Belgium’s team did nothing to help their cause and sadly the country has now been relegated from the Super League. Sweden, who was relegated in 2003, looks set to return to the big time, but this will not be confirmed until after the last Samsung Nations Cup clash in Buenos Aires, Argentina in November.
The Belgians have sadly lost out in the relegation battle, the Irish have survived against the odds and the Americans have shown what winning is really about — their team spirit has been nothing short of inspirational. Meanwhile Samsung Electronics has confirmed its commitment to the Super League series for a further three years ensuring that this top class international series has a secure future.
Samsung Super League final standings
1. USA 55.0
2. Germany 46.0
3. Britain 41.0
4. Switzerland 40.0
5. The Netherlands 38.5
6. France 29.0
7. Ireland 22.0
8. Belgium 20.5