It was close, with Great Britain leading the way on home ground after round one, but Germany surged forward in round two to head the sixth leg of the 2008 Samsung Super League.
Our team of Geoff Luckett, Charlotte Platt, Duncan Inglis and Michael Whitaker didn’t have the best of draws when picked to go first.
But when Charlotte, earning her first cap in a Super League team, and Michael both posted first round clears, Team GBR looked to be in a strong position, ahead in round one on eight faults.
But Germany were perilously close, just one fence behind.
However, Britain took a downturn in fortunes when Duncan Inglis’s homebred mare Sunkist appeared out of sorts in round two and he was forced to retire.
We were down to a team of three.
With the draw now in reverse order — least faults going last — it went to the wire.
Just one fence hung in the balance of win or lose, with our anchor rider Michael Whitaker on the scopey grey Wonami Van Den Aard having to go clear in the final round to force a jump-off situation with Germany.
Alas, the planks fell to hand victory to Germany’s elated team on a total of 24 faults.
“Hickstead is one of the most difficult to win, with its huge, rolling grass arena so different from any other” said Andreas Knippling, who finished each round on four faults with Neolisto Van Het Meirenhof.
Britain’s total of 28 faults saw them take equal second with Sweden, Royne Zetterman’s final round clear helping them move up from a lowly sixth place after the halfway stage.
“Charlotte upped her game to be the only double clear” said Britain’s team manager Derek Ricketts, “under the circumstances, with Duncan having to retire, I’m satisfied with the result.”
1. GERMANY 24 faults: Georgenhof’s Lausenjunge (Anna-Maria Jakobs) 4/12, Leoville (Philipp Weishaupt) 4/8, Neolisto Van Het Mierenhof (Andreas Knippling) 4/4, Clausen (Holger Wulschner) 4/0.
Equal 2. SWEDEN 28 faults: Calibra 11 (Lotta Schultz) 4/8, Magic Dream (Erika Lickhammer) 16/8, Madick (Helena Lundback) 0/8, Isaac (Royne Zetterman) 8/0.
Equal 2. GREAT BRITAIN 28 faults: Monline (Geoff Luckett) 8/16, Paulien 11 (Charlotte Platt) 0/0, Sunkist (Duncan Inglis) 8/Ret, Wonami van den Aard (Michael Whitaker) 0/4.
4. SWITZERLAND 32 faults: Con Spirito R (Theo Muff) 8/4, Jalia de Gaverie (Jane Richard) 12/4, Narcossa Z (Celine Stauffer) 8/4, Unique X CH (Pius Schwizer) 4/Ret.
5. IRELAND 33 faults: First Tedechine Sept (Eddie Macken) 10/4, Rancorrado (Cian O’Connor) 4/4, Mo Chroi (Capt David O’Brien) 8/8, Nabab’s Son (Denis Lynch) 9/4.
6. BELGIUM 35 faults: Withney Van De Dwerse Hagen (Patrik Spits) 4/4, Equiphrma Tekila D (Peter Devos)20/12, Top Gun (Peter Postelmans) 18/5, Item de Quintin (Niels Bruynseels) 4/0.
7. NETHERLANDS 41 faults: VDL Groep Castella (Mathijs Van Asten) 8/4, VDL Emmerton (Jur Vrieling) 9/5, Casco (Gerald Geesink) 4/11, Sir Corland (Wout Jan Van der Schans) 10/DNS.
8. USA 61 faults: SRF Dragonfly (Nicole Shahinian-Simpson) 28/0, Quincy B (Hillary Dobbs) 16/5, Crelido (Michael Morrissey) Elim/Elim, Quick Study (Lauren Hough) 4/8.