The Park House Cup was presented to Cowdray Park Polo Club by Ione O’Brien who, after World War II, established a small, welcoming country house hotel in the village of Bepton, three miles from Cowdray Park. On her arrival from India, where she had been brought up, she was delighted to see that polo, a sport familiar to her, was played in the area she had chosen to live in. She became one of the club’s staunchest supporters and in return generations of polo patrons and players came back year after year to stay at her unique property with its much-loved Polo Bar. She became a friend of the late John Cowdray and, like him, was manifestly keen to bring newcomers into the sport she loved. She therefore launched in 1962 the Park House Cup to reward players in entry level and low goal polo.
Since being taken over by Ione’s grandson, Seamus O’Brien, the Park House Hotel has been enlarged and totally refurbished in recent years and now also includes a luxurious Spa. This, together with its stunningly beautiful setting at the foot of the South Downs, has ensured that the hotel has become an award-winning and sought-after destination.
The 2019 Park House Cup was entered by six teams and true to the spirit in which it was initiated, it was fitting that the winners were a youthful, enthusiastic and motivated side.
Young patron, Wilf Fine (0 goals), took the number 1 position for his team Sea Breeze with Alfie Hyde (1 goal) at number 2, Dorian Bulteau (2 goals) at 3 and Angus Rowan-Hamilton (1 goal) at Back. Maiz Dulce, with Millie Barfoot (0 goals) playing at number 2, saw Noah Hyde (-2) playing in the number 1 position, John Martin (2 goals) at number 3 and Derreck Bratley (4 goals) at Back.
Angus Rowan-Hamilton made the first goal for Sea Breeze with no response from Maiz Dulce in the first chukka. Bratley for Maiz Dulce was able to equalize in the second chukka from a 30 yard safety shot and the teams went into half time level on 1-1. The third chukka saw a lovely field goal from John Martin take Maiz Dulce into the lead on 2-1. However, in the final chukka, by giving away a spot penalty to Sea Breeze, ably seen through the posts by Alfie Hyde, Maiz Dulce lost the advantage. Another mistake by Maiz Dulce gave Hyde for Sea Breeze a 30 yard penalty shot at goal securing victory for Wilf Fine’s team.
Mrs Stella O’Brien presented the Park House Cup to a delighted Wilf Fine and prizes to all players. The Best Playing Pony award, sponsored by Equine Management/Stephen’s Polo, went to Barbara owned and played by Derreck Bratley.
In the subsidiary final of the Park House Cup, Los Schatzies beat Waieka/TLC 8-3.