Arena season under way at RCBPC

On Sunday 2 December, hordes of arena polo enthusiasts gathered at The Royal County of Berkshire Polo Club for the first HPA National Club Championships of the season, the 3 Goal and 12 Goal. Play began with the two Subsidiary Finals and following a dramatic fall for Sean Wilson-Smith, who is luckily now recovering at home following a series of tests in hospital, play got underway in The 3 Goal HPA National Club Championship Final.

From the off, Sladmore took control of the play. By the end of the first chukka, Genevieve Meadows had put the team in green ahead by 4-1, a lead they continued to hold until half-time, finishing the first half 7-4. Following the break, Hedonism Wines came back with a vengeance, bringing the score to 10-7 in the third chukka, then as the seconds wound down in the final moments of the fourth chukka, evening the scoreboard. Celio Garcera almost took home the trophy for the Hedonism Wines team in the first two minutes of the extra chukka, as did Meadows, but as her pony kicked it away from the goal, Sladmore’s hopes appeared dashed. But, with determination, Meadows fought back to secure the winning goal for the Sladmore side with a 12-11 final score. Sladmore’s Christabel Horswell was named The Polo Magazine Most Valuable Player whilst Garcera’s pony Armani was awarded the Polo Times Best Playing Pony rug.
In the second Final of the day, double winners Regal Warriors came up against Ana Escobedo’s Ojo Caliente. The match was extremely tense from the off, with stern words and aggressive plays flying across the arena throughout. Ojo Caliente’s Jonny Good began the scoring for his side, securing 5 goals to 4 in response from Regal Warrior’s Max Charlton in the first chukka. The high scoring continued throughout, with Ojo Caliente still leading 9-7 going into half-time. Up until the end of the third chukka, the match appeared to be very much a two-man affair, Good vs Charlton, with Regal Warriors first evening the scoreboard 13-13 at the chukka end, then thanks to a two pointer from Charlton, jumping ahead to lead 15-14 at the beginning of the fourth. Raph Singh secured his first and most crucial goal of the Final, followed by a goal from son Hugo to put Regal Warriors ahead, 19-15. Despite a penalty one being awarded to Ojo Caliente in the final 10 seconds, it wasn’t enough to secure their earlier lead, and with the final whistle, Regal Warriors secured their third consecutive 12 Goal HPA National Club Championship title. Jonny Good was awarded The Polo Magazine Most Valuable Player prize, whilst Twilight, owned and played by Max Charlton secured the Polo TimesBest Playing Pony rug.
The 3 Goal HPA National Club Championship Final Teams:
Sladmore (3): Christabel Horswell (0), Genevieve Meadows (1) & Nell Jacob (2)
Hedonism Wines (3): Evgeny Chichvarkin (1), Charlotte Elliott (0) & Celio Garcera (2)
The 12 Goal HPA National Club Championship Final Teams:
Regal Warriors (12): Hugo Singh (1), Raph Singh (2) & Max Charlton (9)
Ojo Caliente (12): Ana Escobedo (1), James Mann (3) & Jonny Good (8)
Photograph: Sladmore and Regal Warriors fought tooth and nail to secure the 3 Goal and 12 Goal HPA National Club Championships respectably. By Cymon Skinner Photography