Great Games at The National Women’s Tournament
The annual arena competition for the National Women’s Tournament never fails to impress and the standard of polo this year was, as ever, top notch. Even the lower handicapped section for the -2-0 teams was well above average. It’s a shame there weren’t more team entries as the revamped Club with the new Clubhouse serving hot food and the quality of the arena surface are impressive. All the games were fast, fun and luckily for Umpire for the day Rosie Ross, relatively foul free. The day kicked off with the Subsidiary Final of the -2 Goal with Las Aguilas, taking on and defeating KHHP/Ash Farm with a final score of 15-7. Las Aguilas with a line-up of Sophie Granchi, Jess Van Der Velden and Lucy Bowman, had had a tough draw against La Alegria the day before knocking them out of the running for the Final. Bowman was on fine form hitting some impressive shots that always seemed to find the goal and Granchi scored a number of penalties to add to the winning score. The girls in the green shirts for KHHP/Ash Farm played a great game, with plenty of opportunities and runs up and down the arena, but they simply seemed unlucky with their goal scoring.
In the -2-0 round robin, Westcroft Park, led by Amy Guy, took first place, followed by Ash Farm, led by Jemma Byrne, and Paradise Farm took third place. The chukkas were played at a fair pace set by the three 1 goalers, Guy, Byrne, and French, but the play wasn’t totally dominated by the top rated players and their teammates had plenty of input into the final results. Jemma Byrne was also awarded the Laurant-Perrier Most Valuable Player Award for her excellent play.
The Final of the 2 goal between La Alegria and Mrs B’s got underway just as the sun was setting and the game was very fast with some excellent play from Alex Jacob and Claire Maldonado, both going for the attack from the off. Jacob, for La Alegria, set the tone for the game scoring a two-pointer straight out of the opening line-out. The scores were tight throughout the game and Emily Golding worked incredibly hard trying to shut down Jacob at each and every turn, whilst her teammate Maxine Betteridge took each opportunity to power through with the ball. Betteridge had a great game, scoring at least four of her team’s eight goals, two of which were dead centre penalty shots, and was named The Polo Magazine Most Valuable Player. Mother and daughter combination Tatiana and Anne Menshenina worked hard to keep Jacob free to run and score, but they too produced a goal or two each to win the 2 goal trophy. Chestnut mare, Flor, played by Claire Maldonado in the second chukka was awarded as the Polo Times Best Playing Pony. A full report will feature in the Women’s Polo pages in the April issue of Polo Times.
Photograph: Winners of the 2 goal La Alegria with Richard Blake Thomas. By Lucy Wilson