CROWDS were kept on the very edge of their seats during last weekend’s prestigious Houldsworth Cup event at Taunton Vale Polo Club (TVPC).
One of the oldest polo grounds in the UK, on the outskirts of Taunton, TVPC was founded in 1911 by the Officers of the Regimental Depot of the Somerset Light Infantry, together with other enthusiasts.
The Houldsworth is a coveted trophy among the South West’s polo players, and it is Taunton Vale’s biggest event of the year.
Four teams, all with a four-goal handicap, competed across Saturday and Sunday for the prize.
Originally competed for in 1906, the Houldsworth Cup is synonymous with polo in the South West, originating in North Devon before being donated to TVPC at Orchard Portman in the 1900s.
Having missed out on hosting the event for 2020 due to the pandemic, the club was delighted to be able to hold the event in 2021, with Yabba Dabba Doo, Coombe Place Polo, Quantox and Fighting 43 all competing for the trophy.
Spectators were kept entertained throughout the tournament by commentator, and the club’s Honorary Secretary, Nick Harrison-Sleap.
“Despite Saturday’s unsettled weather, the crowd enjoyed competitive play from all four teams,” said a spokesperson.
“Yabba Dabba Doo and Fighting 43 made it through to Sunday’s final, leaving Quantox and Coombe Place Polo to vie for third and fourth place.
“The sun came out for Sunday, with families and spectators enjoying pre-booked picnic pitches, trade stands and refreshments provided in the club’s picturesque, thatched clubhouse.”
The afternoon kicked off with a spectacular show of hounds from Taunton Vale Foxhounds, with spectators being invited on to the pitch to meet the horses and hounds, before the first match began at 2pm.
“After a spectacular afternoon of fast-paced polo, Fighting 43 went on to win the Houldsworth Cup, beating Yabba Dabba Doo, with Coombe Place Polo coming third, and Quantox taking fourth place,” the spokesperson added.
Fighting 43 were presented with the spectacular Houldsworth Cup by club president, Dennis Venn.
The two-day tournament, put on by polo managers Michael Ball and Stephen Tipper, together with the TVPC committee, was sponsored by Queens College, Daffodil PR, Moorhaven Developments, Chetwood Wealth Management, Digby & Litten and The HUSK: Horse and Pony Wear.
For more on Taunton Vale Polo Club and their upcoming tournaments, visit www.tauntonvalepolo.co.uk.