A light dusting of snow provided the wintery backdrop for this year’s Images of Polo Tournament at The All England Polo Club, Hickstead.
Under new management from Aspect Polo, this was the first tournament this season, and what a great way to start.
The first game of the day was the final, with Alcedo up against Sopers Farm/Exclusive Rooms. Both teams were very well matched on paper despite Alcedo being a goal lower in handicap.
Alcedo started with a two goal advantage, and for three chukkas held on to this advantage well with some great team play. Terence Lent was very good on the attack with Nick Clague working hard against his 5 Goal opponent, Donnelly.
Sopers Farm/Exclusive Rooms captain, Niall Donnelly had team mates Guy Harrison and Kevin Shaw working hard on the man to give him room to push to goal, but Alcedo’s Andrew Swaffield put pressure on and forced Donnelly to hit the ball long at times which allowed Lent and Clague to play some superb, flowing team polo throughout the first three chukkas.
In the fourth chukka Sopers Farm/Exclusive Rooms opened up their team play with Shaw and Harrison picking up some nicely placed passes from Donnelly. Harrison broke away twice to score two quick goals, tying the game at 10 all. Donnelly then put the pressure on goal forcing two 15 yard penalties which he calmly converted.
In the dying seconds, Clague had an opportunity to tie the game with a 25 yard defended penalty worth two points, which sadly swung to the left.
As the final bell sounded, Sopers Farm/Exclusive Rooms had battled it out for a 12-10 win in what was a very tightly fought game.
The second game of the day was a very fast an open affair in the sub final between Mrs B’s and Aspect Polo. Mrs Bs at 6 goals against their 8 goal opposition started with a four goal handicap start. Maxine Betteridge expertly converted several penalties to increase her team’s lead in the first and second chukkas. In the third chukka Aspect Polo pulled closer with two goals from Ricky Cooper and a two point goal from Memo Raschia Grau.
The score read 15-13 going into the final chukka. Some fast paced polo saw several goals for both sides and in an epic, high scoring final chukka Mrs B’s secured a 19-16 win.
Sopers Farm/Exclusive Rooms: Kevin Shaw 1, Guy Harrison 1, Niall Donnelly 5
Alcedo: Andrew Swaffield 0, Terence Lent 2, Nick Clague 4
Mrs B’s: Maxine Betteridge 0, John Bunn2, Sarah Wiseman 4
Aspect Polo: Ricky Cooper 1, Memo Raschia Grau 3, Daniel Acosta 4