England defeats South America for The Royal Salute Coronation Cup
England are now unbeaten in all three International Test Matches that have been played for this year. Thankfully the monsoon-like weather took a break for the day and Guards Polo Club was bathed in glorious sunshine. The Royal Salute Coronation Cup is the last of the big days in the UK polo calendar and the pomp and circumstance of the day included a brass band from the Yorkshire Volunteers Regiment. The Royal Salute Secret Garden Party took pitch-side chic to a new level, their Neolithic bar provided Royal Salute cocktails to HPA and Keith Prowse guests, whilst Guards Members enjoyed the exclusive surroundings of their Clubhouse.
Come the three thirty match, the England team were strong, committed and their game plan was pretty much faultless. Despite pre-match worries that Beim and Charlton would struggle with horsepower (their strings have left already for Sotogrande), due to generous lending of ponies to them it was, in fact the South Americans who seemed to lack somewhat in pony power resulting in a failure to shut down the races from goal to goal from the English side. This, combined with too many fouls in the opening chukkas, arguably cost the visitors victory. It seemed almost by the fifth chukka that Jaime Huidobro and his team had given up hope in trying to win, and this relaxation let the play flow freely giving the England players the opportunity to show off their skills to score more goals and entertain the pitch-side picnic goers.
Max Charlton, playing in his first Coronation Cup, seemed to eat up the ground in the second half with a couple of fantastic goals, whilst his main job for the early chukkas had been to take out 9 goaler Rodrigo Andrade, which he did with some impressive ride-offs. James Beim, who has been appointed the England Captaincy this year, was magnificent in attack showing the spectator-delighting verve and style he is known for. Luke Tomlinson, the former Captain who is recognised as a penalty-taker extraordinaire did not disappoint, whilst his brother Mark kept a cool head which is testament to his nine previous Coronation Cup appearances. The South Americans swapped around their marking strategies, but they simply could not settle into a coherent game plan and England ran away with the goals to finish 10-6, having maintained a lead throughout the game.
HRH The Prince of Wales presented The Royal Salute Coronation Cup to England Captain James Beim. Max Charlton was named the Garrard Most Valuable Player, whilst Silver Lining, played by Brazilian Rodrigo Andrade, received the Gaucho Best Playing Pony prize. The Polo Magazine sponsored the umpires Peter Wright and JJ Alberdi.
Hugo Lewis, who did not play on the day, but was part of the winning King Power Foxes team for both the Queen’s and Gold Cups was named the HPA’s Best Young Player of the Year and received The Ferguson Trophy.
His Royal Highness also presented The Diamond Jubilee Trophy to Guy Schwarzenbach as his Black Bears team had won the morning’s How To Spend It British 10 Goal Championship. Black Bears had defeated Gustav Rausing’s Tempest in a fast-paced game on The Duke’s Ground. Faisal Al Rifai, a member of the Tempest team, also received the Lycetts Retrained Racehorse Award for Mango.
Royal Salute Coronation Cup teams:
England: James Beim (7), Mark Tomlinson (6), Max Charlton (7) & Luke Tomlinson (7)
South America: José Klabin (4), Manuel Fernández Llorente (6), Rodrigo Andrade (9) & Jaime Garcia Huidobro (8)
How To Spend It British 10 Goal Championship teams:
Black Bears: Charlie Pidgley (1), Jack Berner (2), Guy Schwarzenbach (1) & Simon Keyte (6)
Tempest: Gustav Rausing (0), Faisal Al Rifai (1), Ryan Pemble (5) & Adolfo Casabal (4)
Photograph: The England team with The Coronation Cup. By ©www.imagesofpolo.com