The Diamonds International Battle of the Sexes
Over the course of the first week in February three of polo’s top lady players, Hazel Jackson, Sarah Wiseman and Claire Brougham, headed to Barbados to take part in the annual Battle of the Sexes tournament, this year sponsored by Virgin Atlantic. The tournament was conceptualized 14 years ago by Diamonds International and since its beginning has proven to be a great fun and competitive tournament, giving Lady players the chance to prove their skills against the men.
Four matches were played over the week, with the men’s team changing each day and a fourth local Bajan Lady player joining the British women for each match.
Sunday 31 January – Christansia Evelyn (-1)
Tuesday 2 February – Linda Williams (-1)
Thursday 4 February (rescheduled to Friday 5 February due to rain) – Ashleigh Deane (-2)
Sunday 7 February (Final) – Vicki Gonzalez (-1)
Sunday 31 and Tuesday 2 saw the Men Diamonds International team defeat the Ladies Virgin Atlantic team by 2 goals to 1 each day. The Ladies were having none of it though, retaliating and bringing it back when it mattered most, getting in to their stride and defeating the guys with an impressive 9-3 on Friday 5 February. They arrived to the Final ready to do Battle to defend their Sex. The crowd was definitely cheering on the Virgin Atlantic Ladies, excited to see the four talented women doing exactly what the tournament was originally designed for – encouraging the sport of women’s polo. The support clearly had a positive effect, and the Ladies defeated the Diamonds International side once again, this time in a much more tightly contested match, which ended 5-4. As well as winning the Final, the girls won the tournament overall on goal difference. Well done ladies!
For many, the highlight of the week was the trip to the local all-girls school, Sprinter Memorial, where Hazel, Claire and Sarah gave an inspirational talk to the girls.
The tournament was once again a great success and well done to the Virgin Atlantic Ladies for their triumphant win in the Final.
Photograph: Sarah Wiseman, Hazel Jackson, Virgin Atlantic Marketing and Communications Executive Beverley Layne, Head Girl at Springer Memorial School Winmarie Bowen, Claire Brougham and Vicki Gonzalez. Courtesy of Barbados Polo Club