The World’s Two 10 Goaler Arena Players Battle at Hickstead
The clash of the 10 goal titans, Tommy Biddle and Chris Hyde, ended with England wrestling back The Bryan Morrison Trophy on Saturday 5 March at The All England Polo Club, Hickstead. After being defeated by the Americans two years ago on home turf, when Hyde was still on 9 goals, this was the first time that the two players had been face-to-face as 10 goalers. Before the action got underway a minute’s silence was held for Victoria Elsbury-Legg and Will Tankard. Will had played for the USA team at their last encounter at the Sussex Club in 2014.
The game was a fantastic display of skill, speed and horsemanship as all six players pushed themselves and their ponies to the max. On the England side, youngster Ed Banner-Eve, who has been prominent on the arena scene this year playing in the Arena Gold Cup, seemed to take this opportunity by the scruff of the neck and went at the opposition with real tenacity. Biddle made no allowance for him and tested him many times in the first chukka, but Banner-Eve was not perturbed and doggedly stayed with the American throughout the game. His counterpart for the USA team, Kareem Rosser, played a great game, but seemed slightly in awe of the speed and standard of play from the rest of the field and didn’t quite achieve the results from his plays that perhaps he would have wanted. Kareem came to polo through the American charity Work To Ride, along with his brother Daymar who played in the USPA I/I Inter Collegiate team at the SUPA University National Championships last month. Pelon Escapite mirrored England’s Jonny Good as the middle-man for his team, and was named The Polo Magazine Most Valuable Player after a fantastic game. The fight for the lead switched between both teams throughout the game, leaving the crowd wondering who would be taking the trophy home at the end of the day. The third chukka was the critical point when the USA team’s game plan started to crumble a little and the English side took full advantage before pushing strongly ahead in the fourth chukka to finish with a narrow win, 16-14. Promise, a grey Australian mare, owned by Jack Hyde, but played by Chris Hyde was awarded the Polo Times Best Playing Pony rug.
The first game of the day between Hedonism Wines and Clogau Wales was a more sedate affair, but an enjoyable game nonetheless. New to the arena, Jack Richardson owned the game, making life very difficult for all three Clogau Wales players, leaving them trailing on the scores. Richardson was named Most Valuable Player and Tia, a bay mare provided by Richard Blake Thomas and played by Richardson was named the Blue Eye Ware Best Playing Pony.
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Photograph: Chris Hyde, Jonny Good and Ed Banner-Eve with The Bryan Morrison Trophy. By ©www.imagesofpolo.com