The HPA Winter Victor Ludorum Final

With the sun shining, but a harsh wind blowing through the arena at The Royal County of Berkshire Polo Club, The HPA Winter Victor Ludorum Final saw two skilled teams come together to battle for the coveted national title yesterday, Sunday 2 February. Yaroslav Chichvarkin’s Hedonism Wines (playing instead of his injured father Evgeny), a regular in these fixtures, came up against Louisa Watt’s Farrington in the 8 goal Final, in front of a bevy of arena polo fans.

The first chukka began slow and steady, with both teams eyeing each other up and identifying the potential weak links in their play. But, with a 25 yard penalty it was Hedonism Wines who found the posts first, with Brit Royston Prisk, solid in defence, finding fire at the end of this stick, securing eight goals before the bell to end the chukka. With another goal for Hedonism Wines from number two Marcus Cork at the beginning of the second chukka, Farrington looked like they were in for a hard slog to the finish, put three penalty ones but them back in contention, 9-3. Irishman Evan Powers, was the tonic the Farrington side needed, as he secured three goals for his side, with another five following off teammate Ed Banner-Eve’s stick. So, going into half-time, Hedonism Wines’ early, extensive lead, was no longer, with Farrington trailing by just one goal, 12-11.

The strong wind was making all the difference to these two sides, with the advantage clear when the teams changed ends, but it was Prisk who once again took control going into the second half. A thirteenth goal for his side once again extended their lead, but Banner-Eve wasn’t far behind. The teams drew for the first time, 13-13, and each time Hedonism Wines put themselves ahead Farrington were not far behind. It wasn’t until the final 13 seconds of the match, with the teams at 20-20, that it looked as though Farrington might get the upper hand. With a centre hit, Banner-Eve, fired the ball up the arena, but the clock had other ideas, thus the teams found themselves in an extra chukka. As the fifth chukka ensued, Farrington was the first team to foul, but Prisk was unable to put pen to paper, with the wind working tirelessly against him, and with the polo fates falling in Farrington’s favour, a penalty one was what signed on the dotted line for a Farrington win, 21-20.The teams were presented with their prizes in front of their friends and family, with The Polo Magazine Most Valuable Player honours going quite rightly to Hedonism Wines’ Royston Prisk.

The Polo Times Best Playing Pony rug was awarded to Daisy, a bay mare owned by Adolfo Casabal and played by Ed Banner-Eve. A full report will follow in the next issue of Polo Times, so be sure to update your subscription here now.

The HPA Winter Victor Ludorum Final Teams:Farrington (8): Louisa Watt (0), Evan Powers (2) & Ed Banner-Eve (6)Hedonism Wines (8): Yaroslav Chichvarkin (1), Marcus Cork (3) & Royston Prisk (4) Photograph: Farrington win The HPA Winter Victor Ludorum. By Polo Times

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