In an action packed Bank Holiday weekend at Cowdray Park, 22 matches were played including the the Finals and sub-finals of the 8 goal Brecknock Cup and the inaugural 2 goal Selham Cup.
The Brecknock Cup saw a battle between the teams of two business giants from the south of England – John Bunn’s Hickstead side and Peter Barfoot’s Maiz Dulce. John Bunn took the number 1 position for his side with Harry Muddle (2 goals) at 2, Lachie Gilmore at 3 and Niall Donnelly (4 goals) at Back. For MaIz Dulce, Nick Van Oppen (0 goals) replaced Millie Barfoot in the number 1 slot, Will Harper (2 goals) played at 2, John Martin (2 goals) at 3 and Pedro Harrison (4 goals) at Back.
A slow first chukka saw just one goal on the score board from Harrison for Maiz Dulce. Hickstead’s Niall Donnelly evened the score in the second chukka before goals from John Martin and Pedro Harrison took Maiz Dulce to a lead of 3-1.
Despite good play from the Hickstead side, the third chukka saw Maiz Dulce consolidate their lead with a nifty goal from Van Oppen and a good field goal from Harrison taking the side on to 5-1. Hickstead rallied in the fourth, Muddle seeing the ball between the posts in the first minute. Harrison took Maiz Dulce on to 6-2 before a lovely goal from John Bunn narrowed the gap to 6-3. Muddle zoomed in again to pull another goal back for Hickstead but it was too late to avoid a 6-4 victory for the yellow shirts of Maiz Dulce. Penelope Langhorn presented the Brecknock Cup and individual prizes to all players. Pedro Harrison’s Neptune won the award for Best Playing Pony sponsored by Equine Management/Stephen’s Polo.
The inaugural Selham Cup has been slotted into the calendar to encourage newcomers to the sport and players from low-goal clubs to enjoy a tournament on Cowdray’s world class grounds. Polo manager Chris Bethell said: “It is several decades since 2-goal polo has been played at Cowdray and we felt it important to appeal to those people who are just starting out. We are delighted that it has attracted an entry of seven teams made up of youngsters who started playing in the Pony Club, some who have started at the Cowdray Park Polo Club Academy, others who have come through our Weekend Polo initiative and plenty from lower goal clubs in the area. I hope their first taste of playing here encourages them to want to continue playing and maybe move up to a higher level of competition.”
Making it to the Selham Cup Final were Madams Farm Gold, coming from former international player Alan Kent’s yard and comprising Alan Cushen (-1) at number 1, Will Millard (0 goals) at 2, Tom Dalton Morgan (1 goal) at 3 and Marcus Collie (2 goals) at back. High Point Polo Stud/LBF included Andrew Porter (-1) at 1, Dave Gardner (-1) at 2, Will Brasher (1 goal) at 3 and Nick Clague (3 goals) at back.
In an exciting high scoring match which went into extra time, Madams Farm Gold took an early lead with goals from Collie and Millard. Will Brasher answered with a goal for High Point Polo Stud/LBF before the first chukka ended. Millard evened the score shortly into the second chukka before a foul awarded against Madams Farm Gold gave Clague, the highest handicapped player on the pitch, the chance to show off his skills with a mighty 60 yard penalty shot. He followed up with a great field goal and then scored from another accurate 60 yard penalty to put Madams Farm Gold ahead at 4-3 by half time.
Clague made his fourth goal of the match in the third with Brasher following up to take High Point Polo Stud/LBF to 6-3. Marcus Collie pulled one back for Madams Farm Gold and the third chukka ended with High Point Polo Stud/LBF ahead on 6-4. Goals dried up for High Point in the sixth chukka while Dalton Morgan scored from a 40 yard penalty and Marcus Collie achieved a good field goal to equalize on 6-6 sending the match into an extra chukka. It fell to Dave Gardner to make the winning goal and put High Point Polo Stud/LBF’s name on the inaugural Selham Cup. Local Selham resident Mrs Sue Moffat, one of Cowdray Park Polo Club’s most loyal supporters, was delighted to present the trophy to High Point Polo Stud/LBF and individual prizes to all players.