The British team has got some work to do if it is to knock Germany off the top of the Samsung Super League ladder. Britain finished equal fifth in the fifth leg of the Super League in Rotterdam this weekend and now lies sixth on the leader board. An emphatic win from the Swiss team has moved them into third place, with USA in second and Germany retaining pole position.
But Britain certainly proved her potential in Rotterdam, lying in second place at the end of round one on a score of just four penalties. First-round clears from both William Funnell (Cortaflex Mondriaan) and John Whitaker (Peppermill) stood the team in good stead, despite the elimination of Nick Skelton and Arko III (pictured), while Michael Whitaker clocked up four penalties on Insultech Portofino.
In the next round Arko was much more settled but problems at the final double earned the team eight penalties. Skelton’s score proved expensive when Michael Whitaker and Funnell each clocked up four penalties and John Whitaker had two fences down. But the German team’s luck was no better. Lars Nieberg gathered 12 faults, Pia-Luise Aufrecht (Hofgut Liederbach’s Abrisca) and Marcus Ehning (Gitania) both had a pole down and Franke Sloothaak (Legurio) gathered 12 penalties, leaving them in joint fifth place with Britain on a score of 20 penalties.
The Americans added only five penalties in the second round to complete on a score of 18 penalties. Margie Engle produced a superb clear with Quervo Gold. But it was the Swiss riders who won the day, despite boasting a three-man team. Pius Schwizer retired Unique after two first-round mistakes and was not needed in the second round as Willie Melliger (Lea C), Niklaus Schurtenberger (Cantus) and Werner Muff (Plot Blue) all kept a clean sheet to complete the competition on a 12 penalty score. Swiss Chef d’Equipe Rolf Grass said afterwards that the win will allow him to stand down some of his WEG-bound riders in forthcoming weeks.
Germany thus maintains the Samsung lead, with the USA in second position. The 2006 Samsung Super League with FEI series now takes a five-week break before the sixth leg at Hickstead next month.
Samsung Super League after round five
6. Great Britain