National Senior Schools Arena Championships
The team lists read like a Who’s Who of the polo families at Rugby Polo Club on Sunday 6 March at the SUPA National Senior Schools Arena Championships. There may only have been 28 team entries, a few more would have been listed, but an outbreak of flu meant some teams were stuck in quarantine, but the standard was none-the-less very high this year. The Open section was an incredibly tough competition in which Millfield and Stowe A reached the Final. Last year’s winners Harrow had to settle for third place having defeated Langley in the Subsidiary Final chukka. SUPA Section Leader for Senior Schools Caroline Grayson’s son Jamie Grayson, alongside Florence Berner and Nicolas de Poligny, fought hard against a tough team of Charles Cooney, Will Penfold and James McCarthy. Nearly all of the young players in this section not only play schools polo, but also compete within The Pony Club and at HPA Affiliated Clubs in both the winter and summer seasons, so their abilities are well practised by the time they reach the National Schools Championships. Will Penfold was named the Most Promising Player in the Open, an award supported by the Worshipful Company of Loriners. The Upper Intermediate title went to Langley with a line-up of Paul Newman, Feyi Badiru and Thomas Townsend with Harrow taking second place. Langley also took the Novice section title with Imogen Gill, Jakob Samonig and Timi Badiru, who also took home the Most Promising Player Award. The Lower Intermediate section was won by Wellington B and the Combined section was won by Pangbourne. The Association of Polo Schools and Pony Hirers also sponsored the Best Playing Hired Pony, which went to Oxford Polo’s bay mare Florencia who was played by Nico de Poligny in the Final of the Open. A full report will be in the Youth Section of the April issue of Polo Times.
Photograph: Action in the Open section between Wellington and Harrow. By Lucy Wilson