The first Final of Cowdray Park’s series of six HPA tournaments took place on Sunday 3rd June with Four Quarters Orange and White Crane the finalists from an entry of 12 teams.
Simon Arber took the number 1 position for his Four Quarters Orange side with Kian Hall (2 goals) at 2, 6 goal Argentine player Juan Ambroggio at 3, and Tom Morley (4 goals) at Back. For Jasmine Calvert-Ansari’s White Crane side, Josh Cork (2 goals) played at 2, Andrew Blake-Thomas (3 goals) at 3, and 7 goal England international James Harper at Back.
Andrew Blake-Thomas raced away to take the first goal for White Crane and pacey action followed with both backs effectively controlling the action. A spirited attempt at goal by Ambroggio saw the ball go wide. Harper came close but not close enough. Then a 60 yard penalty was awarded to White Crane, Blake-Thomas sent the ball straight between the posts and White Crane were in the lead 2-0. Four Quarters won the ball from the throw in, Cork stole it back, but suddenly young Kian Hall was in the frame and the ball was between the posts for Four Quarters’ first mark on the scoreboard. Morley attempted a long shot at goal which went wide and the chukka ended with White Crane in the lead 2-1.
The pace continued throughout the second chukka with Ambroggio making his mark and Morley deft in both attack and defence. Harper went on the attack only to have the ball stolen by Morley, Kian Hall backed him up and made a neat move to Morley again who was able to send a lovely shot between the posts to equalize. Cork won the throw-in but Morley backed it away. Off went Ambroggio and Hall, but Blake-Thomas turned the ball for White Crane. Back and on and on went the action with both sides sending shots to goal but narrowly missing. Suddenly Morley grabbed the ball and sent a beautiful lofty shot over the posts to take Four Quarters into the lead as the bell sounded for the end of the chukka.
Chukka 3 opened with a throw-in won by Four Quarters. Harper interfered but was worried by Hall and lost the ball. Ambroggio raced into the action and passed to Morley who shot from a tricky angle to score a great goal and a lead of 4-2 to Four Quarters. It wasn’t long before Ambroggio was rewarded for his keen play with a neat shot to goal for 5-2. White Crane when awarded a penalty failed to score. The ball came in, Morley grabbed it, Ambroggio carried it on and suddenly Hall raced through and aimed at the goal, his shot taking Four Quarters on to 6-2. Another whistle, another 60 yard penalty awarded to White Crane, but again the shot went wide and the chukka ended.
There was no let-up in the action in the final chukka. Harper and his men tried for the goals which simply wouldn’t come, with Morley in the right place every time to cut off any White Crane attack. Once again a 60 yard penalty shot by White Crane went wide, but finally James Harper was successful with a good field goal. A good try by Cork was saved on the line and the match ended with a well-deserved 6-3 win for Four Quarters. Sanchia Blake-Thomas presented the Dollar Cup to a delighted Simon Arber and prizes to all players. The Award for Best Playing Pony, sponsored by Polo Times, went to Juan Ambroggio’s Top Model and Tom Morley was awarded The Polo Magazine’s Most Valuable Player prize.
In the subsidiary Final, the Hanbury brothers’ Lovelocks side narrowly beat La Mangosta 5-4.