Without doubts, James Harper is one of the best – if not the best – English players of the latest years. Currently rated at 7-goals, winner of the Queen’s Cup and the Gold Cup for the British Open, he’s about to achieve a long time dream – on February 15, the Hurlingham Polo Association (HPA) appointed “Harps” as the Captain of the England foursome due to play the Coronation Cup, against Uruguay, on July 23, at Guards Polo Club.
“It is a huge honour to have been named captain for England in the Coronation Cup. I actualy spoke to Beimy (NR: James Beim), and he told me he was standing down of being captain, so he thought it was time to let other players to get through”,told James Harper to PoloLine, during a conversation from Australia, where he is staying currently managing within Ellerston. He adds: “I am delighted to be the captain in this transition, with new players coming and give it a go as well as have the chance to play against Uruguay that have legends like Pelon Stirling and Jejo Taranco”.
The England lineup has not been confirmed yet, but Harps says that “surely a commitee will pick two of three great English players, such as Max Charlton, Matt Perry or even Ned Hine, who had a great season last year. There are a lot of young players coming through, so I think they all have a chance”.
James Harper has enjoyed a great deal of success in the latest years. He won the Queen’s Cup in 2019 with a brand new team, Scone, in what was perhaps the biggest surprise of the English season back then, in a lineup that included Nicolás Pieres, with whom he formed a close friendship. And in 2021 he claimed the Gold Cup for the British Open with Thai Polo, once again with his friend Nico and the young and talented Hine brothers, Ned and Louis. So, being the captain of the English squad seemed a proper move for him. “I am going to enjoy to be the captain of the team. Basically, we realized how special it is these last years we played the Coronation Cup”, he statess. “There are many countries that want to give it a go, big players like Facundo Cambiaso and Adolfo Cambiaso who have played the Coronation Cup. And those guys do want to play it, actually it is something we all want to get a go, and I can´t wait. And the English boys are desperate to play these international games, and have the great chance”.
The 2022 Coronation Cup will have a very special guest, indeed. Uruguay will be playing this historical trophy that dates back to 1911 for the first time ever. And for James it is also very challenging. “Playing against Uruguay will be very special”, he states. “They are a very passionate country, it’s the first time they are gonna play this very historic trophy. So I think they will be fired up to give it a go. And having a player like Pelon and Jejo in the game, helps to promote it a bit more. It is a very special occassion, and really I can’t wait!”.
Last but not least, and in addition to playing the Coronation Cup, James unveils his plans for the upcoming 2022 season in England. So what to expect? “Well, I am in Australia now, managing at Ellerston, very busy and getting ready for the season. I will be back to England by late April, early May, where I will play with King Power, a massive team which I’ve never had the chance to play for in high goal. I mean, I’ve been very lucky in the last five, six years but now it’s getting better. I am very happy to be with King Power, and with Nico Pieres once again, who I can’t wait to see back in the saddle, and Mackenzie Weisz, who is definelty one of the young kids who is really coming thorugh. I will be also playing some medium goal White Crane like I did for the last years, and August I will be back to Australia. So, I can say a big season is coming up”.