HPA arena schedule kicks off with a bang

On Sunday 1 December, the first HPA National Club Championship Finals took place at The Royal County of Berkshire Polo Club under chilly, but sunny, skies.First to take to the arena were the 3 goal Final teams, Regal Warriors and Rosina. Raph Singh’s Regal Warriors are a regular in this fixture, but it was the first time Orlagh Kelly’s Rosina found themselves in the Final. Kelly’s team were riding out in honour of Orlagh’s mother Rosina, who recently passed away, so their support team on the sidelines were in great voice. The match was fast and frenetic from the off, with both teams playing way above their handicap. As the first half drew to a close, Rosina led 10-7, but with just a minute to go, Theo Singh secured a goal, swiftly followed by two two-pointers for Raph Singh, putting Regal Warriors narrowly in the lead 12-10, at the bell. The close action continued in the second half, with tensions mounting and the pressure reaching fever pitch. Going into the fourth, Regal Warriors led 15-14, but as the Regal Warrior goal score mounted, Rosina followed closely behind, evening the scoreboard and steadily climbing. With a goal from the seemingly unstoppable Saskia Meadows in the final 44 seconds, it looked like Rosina might just push the match into overtime, but the clock wasn’t in their favour. The bell sounded and Regal Warriors took home the title 19-18.

Meadows, for her continuous epic play was named The Polo Magazine Most Valuable Player, whilst Raph Singh’s pony Heidi was awarded the Polo Times Best Playing Pony rug.Following the tense 3 goal Final, many were hoping for a slightly less stressful affair in The 12 Goal HPA National Club Championship Final, but this was a pipedream. It was the second outing for Regal Warriors, with an amended line-up, but just as much fervour. Up against Ana Escobedo’s Ojo Caliente, the Final was set to be an exciting match, with two lady patrons facing each other.Ojo Caliente began with a two goal advantage, coming up against the 10 goal arena powerhouse Max Charlton. Despite a quick-fire goal from Charlton in the first 10 seconds, it was Ojo Caliente who quickly began the real scoring.

At the end of the first chukka, Ojo Caliente led 10-4, much to Regal Warrior’s dismay. They held the lead in this thrilling Final at half-time, 16-11, but the stress felt in the stands, was nothing in comparison to that on the field. With tensions mounting, both Charlton and Josh Clover were given yellow cards for some “extreme defending”, in the words of commentator, Chris Hyde. The goals continued to mount in the second half, with each team passionately fighting for each yard. Going into the fourth and final chukka, Ojo Caliente were still leading 23-21, but Regal Warriors were coming up fast. Charlton evened the scoreboard, 23-23, then 24-24 following a goal from Clover, and again to 25-25 following a goal off seasoned pro Adolfo Casabal’s stick.

With just seven seconds on the clock and the scoreboard sitting at 25-25, a collision between Regal Warrior’s Hugo Singh and Casabal, secured a 15 yard penalty in Ojo Caliente’s favour, which Casabal scored without any issue. The clock ticked down, Clover took the ball out of harm’s way and with the final bell, Ojo Caliente won 26-25. Adolfo Casabal was named The Polo Magazine Most Valuable Player, whilst Max Charlton’s pony Jesus, was awarded the Polo Times Best Playing Pony rug.A full report from the day will follow in the next issue of Polo Times, so click here now to make sure your subscription is up to date.

The HPA National Club Championship 3 Goal Final Teams:Regal Warriors (2): Theo Singh (-1), Hugo Singh (1) & Raph Singh (2)Rosina (3): Orlagh Kelly (-1), Saskia Meadows (2) & Will Newman (2)The HPA National Club Championship 12 Goal Final Teams:Ojo Caliente (11): Ana Escobedo (1), Josh Clover (3) & Adolfo Casabal (7)Regal Warriors (12): Charlotte Christodoulou (1), Hugo Singh (1) & Max Charlton (10) 

Photograph: Regal Warriors and Ojo Caliente secure wins at RCBPC. By Polo Times

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