Six teams entered the La Martina British Ladies Open Championship at Cowdray Park which was the first to be played in the UK under the new handicapping system for women’s polo.
The tournament was played at 12-18 goal level and reaching the final were Lila Pearson’s La Martina/Cowdray Vikings side and Camilla Williams’ Apes Hill/Huntington. For La Martina/Cowdray Vikings, Lila Pearson (1 goal) played at number 1, Lia Salvo (9 goals) at number 2, Hazel Jackson (8 goals) at 3 and Alex Stone (0) goals at Back. The Apes Hill/Huntingdon side included the 0 goal patron at number 1, Lottie Lamacraft (3 goals) at number 2, Lucy Taylor (4 goals) at number 3 and Nina Clarkin, at 9 goals the UK’s highest ranked lady player, at Back,
Apes Hill started the match with 1½ goals on the scoreboard on handicap. First to score was Lucy Taylor for Apes Hill/Huntington, and the number 3 made several more impressive attempts at goal during the chukka. La Martina/Cowdray Vikings benefitted from a foul against Hazel Jackson and Lia Salvo rolled the ball between the posts for her team’s first goal. The second chukka was pacey with some good attempts at goal but only one result on the scoreboard when Nina Clarkin popped a neat ball through the goal posts following a whistle.
La Martina/Cowdray Vikings found it hard to penetrate Apes Hill/Huntington’s defence in the third but finally Lia Salvo was able to pull one back for her side with a 30 yard penalty which she sent sailing between the posts. Plenty of action on the side of Apes Hill, however, failed to result in a goal and the chukka ended on a whistle.
Play in the fourth started with a throw-in in front of the goal which Clarkin was soon able to benefit from and Apes Hill/Huntington’s lead increased to 4½-2. Apes Hill/Huntington came back on the attack but Alex Stone for La Martina/Cowdray wasn’t afraid to take on Nina Clarkin in several plays. Then Apes Hill/La Martina grabbed an opportunity with Lucy Taylor sending a good ball to Nina Clarkin who passed to Lottie Lammacraft – her first goal of the match notching up Apes Hill/Huntington’s lead to 5½-2. At the next line-out, Lucy Taylor won the ball, left it for Nina Clarkin to send through and the score increased to 6½-2 and victory in the La Martina British Ladies Open Championship for the Apes Hill/Huntington’s side.
The silver salver and individual prizes were presented by new La Martina Ambassador, George Pearson, who also presented the award for Best Playing Pony to Muffet, owned and ridden by Nina Clarkin and the Most Valuable Player Award to Alex Stone.