A fast and exciting match of great end-to-end polo marked the Final of the 15 goal Spink & Son Cicero Cup played between Max Kirchoff’s Armis Snake Bite and Chris Mathias’s Clarita Black team at Cowdray Park on Bank Holiday Monday. Seven teams had entered the tournament.
Max Kirchoff (0 goals) playing at number 1 was joined by Tom Beim (3 goals) at 2, James Beim (6 goals) at 3 and James Harper (6 goals) at back. The Clarita Black team comprised Chris Mathias at the front door, Michel Del Carril (6 goals) at 2, George Meyrick (6 goals) at 3, and 3 goal player Freddie Horne at Back.
Within a minute Armis Snake Bite had given away a penalty which George Meyrick lost little time in converting to take an early lead for Clarita Black. Something may have been said to upset the umpires who awarded a penalty 5b shot to Armis Snake Bite. James Beim tapped the ball forward, tapped again and it was picked up by his brother Tom; Del Carril tried to intervene but swiftly James Beim saw him off and the ball was through the posts and the scores equal. Snake Bite won the ball from the throw-in but Del Carril boldly seized it and sent a huge shot forward for an excellent goal and 2-1 on the board in favour of Clarita Black. Armis Snake Bite took the ball from the throw-in, there was an infringement and a penalty awarded. A fine 60- yard ball from James Beim saw the scores level again. Armis Snake Bite won the ball from the throw-in and surged towards Clarita’s goal. A finely angled shot from James Harper brought the score at the end of an exciting first chukka to 3-2.
Despite good attacking play by Freddie Horne, it was Tom Beim for Armis Snake Bite who came away with the first goal of the second chukka. Horne’s attacking play saw him almost make a goal but the ball was saved on the line by James Beim. A penalty safety 60 awarded to Clarita Black was soundly put between the goal posts by the hard-hitting George Meyrick and again there was just a goal between the teams. However, a 40 yard penalty gave James Beim the chance to increase Armis Snake Bite’s lead to 5-3. Clarita Black won the ball from the throw-in and soon Meyrick was leading the charge to the goal. With Snake Bite on his shoulder he took the ball all the way and pulled Clarita Black back to 4-5. A swift answer came from Armis Snake Bite with the two 6 goalers combining as instinctively as ever and James Beim sending the ball between the posts for a lead of 6-4, a delighted crowd having seen 10 goals on the scoreboard by the close of chukka 2!
Both sides battled hard in a pacey third chukka, Del Carril finally breaking through Snake Bite’s defence to whip a fast ball between the posts and take Clarita Black to 5-6. Del Carril and Meyrick worked hard for another goal but it was James Beim who found the next opportunity with a super shot to make it 7-5 for Armis Snake Bite by half time.
With the amount of rain that had fallen over the previous 24 hours a good tread-in was much appreciated and, back on the field, there was no lessening of the pace by either team. A free hit from Del Carril was intercepted by England captain Beim who was unstoppable, expertly carrying the ball down the pitch for his sixth goal of the match and a score of 8-5 to Armis Snake Bite.
The action continued to fly along in the final chukka, with James Beim once again out in front but ridden off by Freddie Horne. Suddenly Tom Beim was in the frame, snatching the ball and scoring a super goal to increase Armis Snake Bite’s lead to 9-5. Clarita Black won the ball from the throw in, and in the scramble that followed were awarded a penalty. Del Carril lost no time in shooting an accurate ball through the posts from 40 yards to pull a goal back for his side. Both sides continued to play good attacking polo, with several excellent attempts at goal just going wide. When Clarita Black brought the ball in from the back line, Meyrick seized it and raced all the way to the opposite end to make a superb goal. Could Clarita Black find two more goals and force an extra chukka? Time ran out them and an excellent match concluded with Armis Snake Bite having won the Cicero Cup on a score of 9-7.
At the presentations Edward Hilary Davis and Thomasina Smith represented Spink & Son, the specialist auctioneers and military medal specialists, who have entered a three year partnership with Cowdray Park Polo Club to supply the club’s membership badges. The trophy was presented to Max Kirchoff of Armis Snake Bite by Edward Hilary Davis and bespoke commemorative medals were presented to both teams.
In the Final of the 6 goal Jubilee Cup played earlier in the weekend, Andrew Swaffield’s Alcedo side beat Andre Fattal’s River 6-3, Swaffield’s second trophy of the 2017 season.