By Victoria Elsbury-Legg
Great fun was had by all at the 5th NFU Mutual Norfolk Polo Festival – an event held annually on the last weekend of June with funds being raised to support The East Anglian Air Ambulance. This year Norfolk Polo Club Director Jason Dixon (who can also currently be seen umpiring the Jaeger-LeCoultre Gold Cup at Cowdray) created a new tournament, ‘The East Anglian Air Ambulance Counties Cup, which saw Norfolk, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire and Suffolk play against each other in a knock out.
Over the weekend over 4000 spectators enjoyed the sun and on pitch action between thirty-two players in eight teams, mounted on one hundred and twenty eight ponies. On day one in the first semi-final Cambridge met Hertfordshire on the pitch, followed by Norfolk facing Suffolk in match two, with Norfolk fielding a side (who had been coached by Jason Dixon) whose average age was just fifteen years old.
Despite the showers that punctuated day two the crowds still turned out to watch the conclusion of ‘The Warwick Townsend Trophy’ – an exhibition match played by students of Langley School Polo Academy, aged between 12 – 16 years old. With great play and sportsmanship from all, the game finally ended in a draw. In the later match – the Final of the East Anglian Air Ambulance Counties Cup, Fabio Lavinia and Richard Furno faced each other across the pitch, with Cambridge (Fabio Lavinia’s side) riding off the winners.