The UK polo season is beginning to wind down but Cowdray Park Polo Club had plenty to enjoy over the weekend of 1st/2nd September, with the final matches played in its successful Edburton Weekend Polo Series and the Finals and Sub-Finals of the West Sussex and Park House Cups.
The 6 goal West Sussex Cup attracted eight entries with Ojo Caliente and Brown Rudnick, both new teams to Cowdray Park, and with three women players amongst the line-ups, making it to the Final. Playing at number 1 for Ojo Caliente was Ana Escobedo (-1 goals) at number 1, Georgina Brittain (0 goals) at 2, Jack Berner (3 goals) at 3 with 4 goal player Jonny Good at Back. Louisa Watt (-2 goals), an executive with Brown Rudnick, took the number 1 position for the team, with Charles Cooney (1 goal) at 2, Edward Banner-Eve (3 goals) at 3 and Henry Brett (4 goals) at Back.
It was a tough, close match with the score even on 2-2 at the close of the first chukka. With the score at 3-3 in the second, Jack Berner managed to break away from a tussle along the boards and scored a good field goal to take Ojo Caliente ahead. The side secured the ball from the throw-in and off went Berner again, managing to trick his way around Henry Brett and score a neat goal to take Ojo Caliente ahead 5-3 into half time.
The battle recommenced in chukka 3 with a goal for each side resulting from 30 yard penalties. Another whistle from the umpires gave a free hit to Brown Rudnick taken by Ed Banner-Eve. Henry Brett picked the ball up before Banner-Eve surged forward and sent it between the posts. A good team effort saw Charles Cooney make a field goal to equalize the score at 6 apiece to close the third chukka.
In the final chukka, again the first two goals came from 30 yard penalties, both in Ojo Caliente’s favour. At the next throw-in a good attacking effort by Brown Rudnick was cleared on the goal line by Berner who chased away to be rewarded with his fourth goal of the match taking the score on to 9-6 in Ojo Caliente’s favour. Jonny Good’s attempt at goal from a 60 yard penalty went wide, Brett brought the ball back in, Banner-Eve slowed it down for a pass to Brett, but once again the umpire’s whistle blew. Banner-Eve scored from the 30 yard penalty awarded. In the next play, once more Brown Rudnick were awarded a 30 yard penalty and this time Banner-Eve’s shot hit the goal post but failed to go through and the match ended with a 9-7 victory for Ojo Caliente. Mr Tuvi Keinan, Chairman of Brown Rudnick, was on hand to present the West Sussex Cup and prizes to all players.
The subsidiary final played between Saracens and GCN Hickstead was a more free-flowing game with less fouls and resulted in a 7-5 win to Saracens.
Sunday 2nd September saw the conclusion of the historic 4 goal Park House Cup, played at Cowdray Park since 1954. Seven teams entered the 2018 tournament and Wilf Fine’s Sea Breeze team, comprising himself at number 1, Alfie Hyde at 2, Angus Rowan-Hamilton at 3 and Nick Pepper at Back, took on a double father and son combo in the InnoVent side, comprising Duane Lent (0 goals) at 1, Andy Cork (0 goals) at 2, and their sons Terence Lent and Ollie Cork both 2 goal players at 3
and Back respectively.
A pacey and entertaining game saw Sea Breeze make the first mark on the score-board with a goal from Angus Rowan-Hamilton. Terence Lent for InnoVent answered with a goal for InnoVent before Nick Pepper took Sea Breeze on to 2-1 to close the first chukka. The second chukka opened with a throw-in won by Alfie Hyde for Sea Breeze but the ball was soon in InnoVent’s possession. Back into the frame came young Hyde who lost the ball again to InnoVent, but Wilf Fine was handily placed to pick it up and send it between the posts for 3-1. The action continued with Terence Lent making a good attempt at goal which went wide. Soon after, a whistle gave Sea Breeze a hit from the centre line. Pepper sent a massive shot towards the goal which was stopped in the air by Ollie Cork who controlled the ball brilliantly, taking it all the way to the opposite goal to pull one back for InnoVent. Despite Hyde winning the ball from the resulting throw-in, Lent intervened and backed the ball to Ollie Cork who again raced the length of the field for an absolute cracker of a goal to equalize the scores on 3-3. Sea Breeze won the ball from the throw and just as the bell rang to signal chukka’s end, Pepper scored and Sea Breeze went ahead 4-3.
The first penalty of the match was scored by Nick Pepper in the third chukka. Yet another goal came from Ollie Cork but the chukka ended at 5-4 in favour of Sea Breeze. Again a 30 yard penalty gave Pepper another goal in the fourth taking Sea Breeze ahead 6-4. Outstanding play by Ollie Cork gave him his fourth and fifth goals of the match and the scores were tied at 6-6, but solid play by Sea Breeze saw a goal apiece from Angus Rowan-Hamilton and Nick Pepper finally nail victory on 8-6.
Owners of the Park House Hotel at nearby Bepton, Seamus and Stella O’Brien, came forward to present the historic Cup to Wilf Fine and generous prizes to all players. The subsidiary final saw a 7-2 victory for Jo Stuart’s Los Hamblinos against James Rogerson’s Connect 44.
©2018 Clive Bennett Photography