By Alejandra Ocampo
“At the moment it’s been quiet, a lot of riding and training trying to get ready for the Gold Cup. Then outside of the high goal playing with Black Bears, we are doing a couple of 18 goal tournaments. After the high goal, hopefully I will play a bit more medium goal. It should be a fun season”.
So speaks Ollie Cudmore, one of the best representatives of British polo, a passion he inherited from his grandfather and father, who used to play in Australia. When Ollie was 6-years-old, the family moved to England, and he met Charlie Hanbury, who quickly became one of his best friends. In 2018, Ollie and Charlie, alongside James Harper and James Beim played together with El Remanso, and claimed their greatest achievement – to become the first all-British team in many years to win the Gold Cup for the British Open. “The 2018 Gold Cup was without a doubt the highlight of my career”, told Ollie to PoloLine. “The day was incredible, we had so much support from the crowd. I was incredibly lucky to be a part of El Remanso and I don’t think anything will top winning that day as a team of four mates”.
Following the glory of 2018, Ollie is focusing on a new stage within his career. This 2020, dominated by the news of the COVID-19 pandemic that produced a complete change in all aspects of life, will see him as a member of Scone, Australian patron David Scone’s foursome and current title holders of the Queen’s Cup. Therefore, Ollie will have the big opportunity to defend the title Scone claimed in 2019 alongside Paradice, Nicolás Pieres and his friend and mate of that unforgettable 2018, James Harper. Says Ollie: “It’s a fantastic opportunity which I’m really grateful to Harps (NR: James Harper), Nico (Pieres) and David (Paradice) for inviting me to play. I’ve put a lot of work in over the winter on myself and my string of horses to make the most of the opportunity”.
Scone, who already played the high goal season in Palm Beach, was the biggest sensation of the 2019 British season after their success in the Queen’s Cup in 2019. Although they didn’t do that well in the Gold Cup, they expect to have a rematch this year and Ollie is very confident about it. “Scone, obviously, had an amazing season last year, they are a growing organisation and David now plays in UK, Australia and America” says the 6-goaler, and adds: “The best thing about Scone is the group of people. David is a fantastic person to work for and Harps is a great guy who is always trying to do the best for the team. We have a great atmosphere around the barn with the grooms, managers and everyone involved”, states Ollie.
So, what are your expectations on your first year with Scone, mostly considering they are the Queen’s Cup title holders?
There are some very strong teams this year with 2 or 3 players looking incredibly under handicapped, so it will be tough. But I’m looking forward to it, we will be competitive and with a bit of luck, hopefully we can be there or thereabouts come the end of the tournament.
As noted before, and in addition to patron David Paradice, Ollie will play in Scone with Nico Pieres and James Harper, the two pros for whom he has a deep of respect and admiration. “Nico is one of the best players in the world, I’m really looking forward to playing with him. So far, in the practices he’s been great, I’m learning a lot and he’s keen to help me improve. With the ball he’s amazing, it’s very cool to watch in chukkas sometimes. And Harps is one of England’s best players, he had an amazing year in 2019. I’ve played with him a lot and he’s a great team mate. I’m really happy to be back playing with him”, he says.
Last but not least, Ollie Cudmore talked about representing England. He has been wearing his country’s team jersey since 2012, and he is still the youngest player who won the Coronation Cup, back in 2014, when he was 24-years-old. “It’s always an honour to play for England, being able to represent your country is great achievement as a sportsman”.