US authorities block England player’s visa to the States later this month and Chris Hyde may well take out frustration on Ireland this weekend
Chris Hyde will captain England against Ireland at Hickstead at the popular International Arena Polo Test Match on Saturday for the Bryan Morrison trophy. And the great 9-goal Arena player may just take his frustration out on the Irish trio after having his visa blocked to the USA.
Hyde, Britain’s highest rated Arena Polo player, faces the Irish side led by Sebastian Dawnay, rated at 8-goals.
Hyde, though, has been frozen out of playing for England’s Arena polo team in the USA later this month, with US Authorities refusing to give him a visa to play there, after he had overstayed the length of a previous visa.
Shorn of Hyde, Jonny Good, of Guard’s, a 5-goal player, and Oscar Mancini, of Ranelagh Farm, also a 5-goaler in the England trio, may have an almighty battle on their hands as a third player is found.
The travesty for the sport is that Hyde’s battles with the legendary American 10-goaler Tommy Biddle have been curtailed.
England had been enjoying an unbroken run in the International Arena Polo Test Match at the All England Polo Club, until the USA claimed victory during last year’s match, thanks to the mighty 10-goaler Biddle leading his team to a 21-17 victory. Tommy was joined in that team by Patrick Uretz (5-goals) and Will Tankard (4).
Until the defeat to the USA, the England team had enjoyed an unbeaten run on home soil dating back to the first international Test match 2008, with wins against South Africa, Scotland, and Argentina as well as the USA.
“England will be going all out to get back to their winning ways at Hickstead, but the Irish side will be equally determined to stop them,” said AEPC Hickstead Chairman John Bunn. “The stage is set for another thrilling game of Arena Polo.”
Before the feature match, the polo action gets underway with the Hickstead 12-Goal Challenge, where the Wales Polo Team will take on another Irish team.
Hickstead, although synonymous with showjumping, has played host to arena polo since 2006.
Unlike summer polo, there are only three members per team instead of four, and the game is played with a larger and softer ball. The arena is also boarded throughout so shots and angles can be played off the sides of the arena, which is much smaller than in the summer version of the game.
At the All England Polo Club, the Clubhouse and bar overlook the arena, so visitors are guaranteed a superb view of the action with six horsemen in the arena.
Tickets for the arena test match at Hickstead can be bought online at www.hickstead.co.uk
10.30am Gates Open
11.30am The Hickstead 12 Goal Challenge
1pm Prize Presentation: The Hickstead 12 Goal Challenge
1.30pm Arena Polo Test Match for the Bryan Morrison Trophy
3pm Prize Presentation: Arena