EPC Tex8n Polo Win 6 Goal HPA National Club Championships
It was all go at The Royal County of Berkshire Polo Club for The 6 and 15 Goal HPA National Club Championships. The highlight of the day was the Final of the 15 goal between Sifani and Polo Times. By the time the game began, the stands had filled and there was a murky mist surrounding the arena making it eerily quiet as the ponies and players warmed-up. The ‘dream team’ of Jamie Morrison, Roy Prisk and Howard Smith, wearing the blue Polo Times shirts, looked more than a little confident in the first chukka as the goals clocked up on the scoreboard, leaving Hyde and his team playing catch-up as the first bell went with Polo Times 6-1, in the lead. Hyde was not having a good start to the game, on hired horses, with little help from teammate Edward Morris-Lowe and three free-running professionals to get past to have any hope of scoring. The game changed after half-time as Hyde was better mounted and able to clock a few more goals on the board and win some fouls, although he did miss seven out of nine penalties awarded during the course of the game. In the last few minutes it almost looked as though Polo Times were in trouble, but the play had reverted back to the first two chukkas, with free flowing galloping polo. It was like watching a magical group dressage display in the mist. Polo Times ended the game 32-14. Howard Smith was name The Polo Magazine Most Valuable Player Award, whilst Jamie Morrison’s Havana was presented with the Polo Times Best Playing Pony rug.
The 6 goal Final was won by the Emsworth Polo Club-based team, EPC Tex8n, Polo against RCBPC Los Caballeros in a nailbiting race to the finish in the second game of the day. The match drew plenty of gasps from the stands as Tim Bown and Nico San Roman, well matched in skill and handicap, battled to the bitter end for goals and fouls. Some heated exchanges and risk-taking play made for a more stop-start style of game. Mindi Byrne, playing for EPC Tex8n Polo, showed great potential, playing above her 0 goal handicap and scoring an incredible goal, as well as never missing a shot. Harrow schoolboy D’artangan Giercke, who has really come into his own this season, was certainly one to watch as he made life difficult for Cool Hooves Polo front-man Phil Meadows. The final bell called an end to the game with the final score of 23-22 to EPC Tex8n Polo. Nico San Roman was named The Polo Magazine Most Valuable Player and Phil Meadows’ mare Anita won the Polo Times Best Playing Pony Award.
The Subsidiary Final of the 6 goal was a wonderful game to watch with some great action from RCBPC Gaucho. Faisal Al-Rifai, alongside Izzy McGregor and Genevieve Meadows, meant business and the team gave Tim Vaux and the Parry-Jones’ a run for their money. Al-Rifai’s perfect timing and goal scoring combined with McGregor’s impressive ride-off skills meant the visiting team began to lag behind in the scores. The game ended with a score of 21-14 in favour of RCBPC Gaucho.
The HPA 15 Goal National Club Championships Final teams:
Polo Times: Howard Smith (6), Jamie Morrison (6) & Roy Prisk (3)
Sifani: Hilali Noordeen (1), Ed Morris-Lowe (3) & Chris Hyde (10)
Result: 23-14 to Polo Times
The Polo Magazine Most Valuable Player: Howard Smith
Polo Times Best Playing Pony: Havana, owned and played by Jamie Morrison
The HPA 6 Goal National Club Championships Final teams:
RCBPC Los Cabelleros: Adrian Beasley (-1), Phil Meadows (2) & Tim Bown (5)
EPC Tex8n Polo: Mindi Byrne (0), D’artagnan Giercke (2) & Nico San Roman (4)
Result: 23-22 to EPC Text8n Polo
The Polo Magazine Most Valuable Player: Nico San Roman
Polo Times Best Playing Pony: Anita, owned and played by Phil Meadows
Photograph: Winners Polo Times with runners-up Sifani. By Lucy Wilson