Clare Mathias stepped forward to receive the Phoenician Cup on behalf of her Clarita team, from Eddy Arida and his grand-daughter Diala Tufenkji. Clarita had defeated Inspirit/Kildare 7-6 in four chukkas in an extremely close game on The Queen’s Ground.
This year’s Phoenician Cup was a landmark event as the tournament’s founder and sponsor, Guards Polo Club life playing member Eddy Arida, was celebrating the cup’s 35th anniversary at Smith’s Lawn. Club Chairman Jock Green-Armytage presented Eddy with a bottle of Laurent Perrier to mark the occasion.
In the match there was little to divide the finalists – two of 12 entries in this competitive 12-goal tournament. Clarita had the advantage (4-3) at half-time, but it remained anyone’s game until the final 30 seconds of the match. The scores were level at this point (6-6) and the crowd, enjoying some rare, warm, afternoon sunshine, were expecting to see this match to go into extra time and a fifth chukka. But when Clarita were awarded a 30-yard penalty in the final minute, the Polo Magazine’s Most Valuable Player, Chris Mackenzie, made certain that this final was over in four chukkas.
Not only did Chris receive the MVP prize, but also took home The Polo Times Best Playing Pony prize. This went to one of his favourite ponies, Pastor, whom he had played in the first and some of the final chukka. Eddy also made a special presentation to the Club vet Holly Baird for her dedication throughout the season in ensuring high standards of pony welfare at Smith’s Lawn, Flemish Farm and Coworth Park.
The sub final was an equally close affair, also finishing on a 7-6 scoreline. Alan Fall’s Mad Dogs took the honours, beating Andrey Borodin’s Park Place earlier in the day.