Time to dig out the bobble hats and tweed for the arena season
It’s that time of year again when summer season ponies are having their shoes off and kicking up their heels in their winter turnout fields, while the arena ponies are coming in to get fit for another season. It is definitely time to dig out the wellies and the woolly hats and plan the arena season. All the usual clubs will be running this winter, with the addition of one more, Emsworth Polo Grounds, who’s HPA affiliation will bring the number of arena clubs to 32 this winter.
All the usual tournaments are in the calendar again this year. The Royal County of Berkshire Polo Club fixtures list includes plenty of Club tournaments, as well as the HPA National Club Championships both pre- and post-Christmas, and the Arena Gold Cup. The All England Polo Club at Hickstead will play host to The Bryan Morrison International Trophy. Last year’s Test Match was the highest handicapped edition of the trophy yet to date and was won by England in a smashing defeat against Ireland with a score of 18-13.
Druids Lodge has become a hub for university polo and this winter is no different, with over 10 different tournaments in their fixtures list dedicated to university players. Rugby remains the location for the SUPA University Arena Championships, the largest arena tournament in the UK, with hundreds of players participating in multiple levels over the Valentine weekend.
RCBPC – Paul Castle High Goal Challenge (13-15 goal): 27 – 29 November
RCBPC – HPA Christmas National Club Championships (4-6 & 13-15 goal): November 30 – 13 December
RCBPC – HPA New Year National Club Championships (1-3 & 10-12 goal): 4 – 23 January
Rugby – SUPA University National Arena Championships (Open): 11 – 14 February
RCBPC – The Arena Cup (13-15 goal): 12 – 27 February
AEPC – The Bryan Morrison International Trophy (Test Match): 5 March
Wicklow – SUPA Tri Nations (Open): 11 – 12 March
Photograph: England won the 2015 Bryan Morrison International Test Match. By Lucy Wilson