The first of Cowdray Park Polo Club’s HPA ‘open’ tournaments, leading to the accolade of UK Victor Ludorum, came to its conclusion on Sunday 2nd June. The Dollar Cup received entries from ten teams with Creighton Boyd’s Confido and Ana Escobedo’s Ojo Caliente teams making it to the Final.
Taking to the field for Creighton Boyd, were the world’s highest ranked lady player Nina Clarkin (3 goals) in the number 1 position, Mark Tomlinson (6 goals) at 3 and Shaun Brokensha (3 goals) at Back. Ana Escobedo played at number 1 for her side with Josh Clover (2 goals) at number 2, Jonny Good (4 goals) at 3 and John Paul Clarkin (6 goals) at Back.
A lively match with plenty of good attacking play entertained the sizeable crowd. JP Clarkin opened the scoring for Ojo Caliente with a swift goal, very soon answered by a long run to goal by his wife Nina Clarkin to equalize for Confido. Jonny Good was onto the ball from the throw-in; JP pushed it on encouraging Tomlinson to intervene and catch a whistle. A 30 yard penalty enabled JP to give his side a 2-1 lead. Nina Clarkin dashed away with the ball from the throw-in, she has hooked by Good and the umpires awarded Confido a 60 yard penalty, a huge shot from Tomlinson flying accurately over the goal posts for 2-2. With no-let-up in the pace, Tomlinson raced down the pitch but his attempt at goal went wide. Just as the first bell signaled the end of the chukka, a pass from Tomlinson to Nina Clarkin saw her send the ball through the posts to give Confido a lead of 3-2 to close chukka 1.
The second chukka opened with a throw in, won by JP. His shot to Ana Escubedo was intercepted by Shaun Brokensha who took a neat goal for his side and an increased lead of 4-2. Tomlinson secured the ball from the throw-in, but a good steal from Jonny Good saw his pass to JP lost at the goal mouth. Brokensha’s clearance found its way to Nina Clarkin but her shot at goal went wide. Shortly, a penalty hit awarded to Ojo Caliente resulted in a clear shot at goal by JP and he closed the gap to 4-3. It wasn’t long before his wife retaliated and Confido went into half time 5-3 ahead.
The pace continued in chukka 3 but Confido just had the edge over Ojo Caliente, Shaun Brokensha achieving a goal from a very tight angle to take his side on to 6-3 and Mark Tomlinson again scoring from a 60 yard penalty with a huge hit to take them on to 7-3. Two very good tries at goal came from Ojo Caliente, the first well defended by Tomlinson, the second cleared by Brokensha and the chukka ended.
Tensions ran high in the Confido camp in the final chukka. JP Clarkin was fouled by Tomlinson as he raced towards goal. Jonny Good took the resulting 30 yard penalty and pulled a goal back. The throw-in resulted in an infringement against Ojo Caliente and a free hit given from the centre of the ground. JP sent a massive shot forward but once again the whistle blew and another 30 yard penalty was given. Good trickled the ball through and the score was 7-5 in Confido’s favour. Good was heading for a field goal when his shot hit the goalpost and remained in play; he tried again – this time the whistle blew and a free hit took the score to 7-6. With just a one goal difference, a whistle against Ojo Caliente gave Tomlinson the chance of another big 60 yard penalty but his shot went wide. JP brought the ball in. Brokensha impeded Clover and a 60 yard penalty was awarded to Ojo Caliente. JP’s shot went high but wide and Confido held onto their lead and won the Dollar Cup on a score of 7-6.
Mrs Georgie Severn-Brown presented the trophy to a delighted Creighton Boyd. The award for Best Playing Pony, sponsored by Schweppes, went to Trilogy played by Nina Clarkin, who also won the award for Most Valuable Player of the match.