Guards Polo Club is renowned for creating world-class international polo events, but its latest global venture looks likely to outclass them all. Europe’s leading club has been invited to participate in a polo match as part of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM 2015) in Malta this November. An invited team of Guards patrons and players, representing several Commonwealth nations, will play a team from Malta Polo Club. As HM The Queen, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, HRH The Prince of Wales and HRH The Duchess of Cornwall are all expected to attend CHOGM 15, there may be some polo aficionados among the spectators during this four-chukka challenge match.
Malta Polo Club, the second oldest polo club in the world (established in 1868), has special interest for members of Guards Polo Club as it is where our President, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh learned to play polo. The Prince was stationed in Malta with The Royal Navy from 1949 – 1951 and so took the opportunity to take some lessons from his uncle, Earl Mountbatten of Burma, who held the position of President of the Malta Polo Club for several years. As Prince Philip later recalled: “I had just got as far as wielding a stick in a polo pit and doing some stick and ball practice on a pony before the [Second World] war broke out. It was 12 years before I started again in Malta under the eye of my uncle, the great ‘Marco*’ himself.”
Neil Hobday, CEO of Guards Polo Club, says of this impressive event: “We are honoured to be working with CHOGM 2015 and our friends at Malta Polo Club to be part of such a prestigious polo match in one of the sport’s most historic venues. We already feel a great affinity with the Malta Polo Club through our Founder and President, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, learning to play here and so it is wonderful that we can bring a little bit of Guards Polo Club to this Mediterranean island in November.”
Karl Galea, President of Malta Polo Club, added: “Malta has long served as a bridge between North Africa and Europe. Now, as the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting host for 2015, this important island is providing a platform for Commonwealth countries to come together to build bridges of cooperation.
“Malta Polo Club is honoured to have been invited by the organising committee of CHOGM 2015 to participate in this historic event, which will be attended by over 50 Commonwealth member states and their respective heads of government – further underlining the Commonwealth’s global reach, not only in the field of international politics, but in sport, and in particular, polo – a sport played in virtually every Commonwealth member state.
“We are delighted to add to our already impressive history by hosting this most important game. The Club is proud of its role in the development of polo for almost 150 years and the team here at Malta Polo Club looks forward to showcasing a match in front of such an illustrious audience. In addition, the collaboration with our reciprocal club, the UK’s Guards Polo Club, provides a powerful and unique reminder of the origins of the sport, strengthening the historic links between Malta Polo Club and Guards Polo Club, the most prestigious polo club worldwide.”
This unique polo match will be played on Saturday 28 November and is the last international match to be played on Malta Polo Club’s historic, packed earth ground; the same ground on which polo was played back in 1868. The Club is situated less than 2km from the island’s capital city Valletta – a baroque city built in 1566 by the Knights of the Order of St. John, a designated a UNESCO World Heritage site. Due to the increasing popularity of polo on this Mediterranean island, the Club is set to transform this historic ground into a grass field of play in time for the 2016 season.