Home-side India to Play USA
The England team have missed out on a spot in the Final of the 9th Manipur Polo International after a mixed bag of results throughout their games. The Final will be played on Saturday 29 November at the historic ground in Imphal, between the home team India and the USA. England’s first game was on Tuesday against Australia who they defeated with a close score of 9-7, however their second game was less triumphant as India defeated them with a cricket score of 12-3 the following day. On Thursday 26 November, the line-up of Mikey Howe (4), Dave Allen (4), Marcus Hancock (2) and Jack Aldridge (-2) took on and triumphed against Thailand with a final score of 9-2, but their last game in the tournament ended in a draw against the 10 goal USA team.
All of the teams have been mounted by the Manipur Horse Riding & Polo Association, which was set up in 1977 to revive polo so as to aid the ponies’ survival. Therefore, all teams have been playing on Manipuri ponies, for which the International aimed to increase awareness for the plight of the tremendously tough indigenous breed. Typically standing between 11hh and 13hh they are now struggling to survive against the decrease of their natural habitats, due to rapid urbanisation, with numbers as low as only 400 ponies. To find out more about the Manipuri ponies click here to join their Facebook group.
Photograph: Last year the England team were presented with commemorative stamps depicting polo at the Imphal grounds