As part of the Hurlingham Club’s 150th anniversary celebrations, a polo match was organised between Hurlingham and Ham Polo Club. It’s not clear when the two clubs last played but it is assumed that the last meeting would have been pre World War II. As the Hurlingham’s closest polo playing neighbour, Ham was delighted to host the event and the large number of visiting guests.
Another particular significance of the game was the trophy: the Hurlingham Perpetual Challenge Cup. The trophy has resided in the polo bar at Hurlingham and hasn’t left the club for 107 years. Such is its value it arrived at Ham with its own security team and an air of excitement surrounding it.
The Hurlingham Perpetual Challenge Cup
In 1908 the Olympic Games were held at the White City, London. The British Olympic Association invited Hurlingham to organise a dinner for the foreign competitors but, understandably perhaps, the Committee preferred to present a ‘handsome Challenge Cup’ to the winning team in the polo event. This magnificent Trophy, designed by the Goldsmiths Company, was duly competed for by three teams – Hurlingham, Roehampton and ‘a Spanish team’, and won by Roehampton. Under the terms of the Deed of Gift it was returned to Hurlingham in 1912 and has ever since remained in the Club. A gold Commemorative medal was presented in 1909 by the British Olympic Association as ‘a slight token of gratitude for the Cup’.
As if the trophy needed more to attract discussion, it also contains the ashes of Teddy Miles who died in 2007 and requested on his death bed that he be put in the cup for safekeeping.
It came as no surprise that a storming match ensued, both teams focused on being only the second winners to lay claim the the historic piece of silverware. With the scores still even in the fourth chukka the packed clubhouse were left in suspense until the final few minutes. A last minute goal from Ed Courage for Hurlingham was the winning move and secured victory for the visitors. Perhaps it was a better result as Ham weren’t sure where they were going to keep such a valuable piece of silverware until the next challenge to play for it!
Ham Polo Club: Jinni Featherstone-Witty -1, Hugo Davis 1, Benjie Davis 2, Will Healy 2.
Hurlingham: Lindsay Smallbone 0, Simon Chamberlain 1, Ed Courage 1, Gus Prentice 2.