Swarovski England Ladies Vs USA Ladies – Cirencester Park Polo Club, 25th June
After the broken flow of the Warwickshire Cup Final, the ladies match was a breath of fresh air for the mass of spectators who had stayed on in the grandstand to witness the Swarovski England Ladies take on team USA. The pace was fast and frenetic from the start, with goals from both sides in the first chukka and although England were exerting pressure and attempting to assert their dominance, the USA ladies proved a strong side to contend with.
The atmosphere was noticeably friendly, and despite the competitive nature of both teams, shouts of “Sorry” and “Thank You” could be heard from the grandstand. Sister double-act Nina Clarkin and Tamara Fox were on fire as always and with their plays combining effortlessly, ably abetted by the talent of Izzy McGregor and Heloise Wilson-Smith, by half-time the Swarovski England Ladies had nudged into the lead by just half a goal.
The second half began with an early goal from Nina Clarkin, despite strong marking from USA’s Courtney Asdourian, taking the scores to 5-3½. It was at this point that the England Ladies began to pull ahead, a penalty followed by a fast-paced goal from Wilson-Smith brought the score to 7-3½ going into the final chukka.
USA needed to produce something substantial in the final chukka, and unfortunately a large tumble from Asdourian did nothing to boost the team’s confidence. Although Asdourian was back on her feet before the paramedics had made it across Ivy Lodge, it was clear that the ladies from across the pond had a lot of ground to make up if they were to close the goal deficit. Penalties, followed by a scorcher of a run from Heloise Wilson-Smith, took the scoreboard to 11-3½. Competitive until the end, USA stole the ball from Tamara Fox on her awesome grey pony, Lego who later won the RJ Polo Best Playing Pony Award, and despite Wilson-Smith’s attempt to stop the goal, the ball rolled through the England posts, which took the score to 11-4½. Nina Clarkin, who played all of her 10 goal ladies’ handicap, was named as The Polo Magazine’s Most Valuable Player. The American Ladies will have their chance to turn things around in the next and final stage of this two part International Test Match Series on Saturday 29 July after The Royal Salute Coronation Cup match.
The Kings Head Hotel Ladies International Teams:
Swarovski England Ladies (26):
Nina Clarkin (10), Tamara Fox (7), Heloise Wilson-Smith (5) & Izzy McGregor (4)
KC Krueger (7), Maureen Brennan (6), Erica Gandomcar (6) & Courtney Asdourian (6)
*NB Handicaps listed are ladies’ handicaps