The Park House Cup, first presented 53 years ago, remains a popular fixture at Cowdray Park Polo Club and six teams entered the 2017 tournament.
Facing each other in the Final were Lila Pearson’s Cowdray Vikings and Wilf Fine’s Sea Breeze. Lila took the number 1 position for Cowdray Vikings with Quentin Wedmore at 2, Boyd Allen at 3 and Ed Hitchman at Back. Playing alongside Wilf were the youngest player on the pitch Will Harper at 2, Marcus Cork at 3 and Nick Pepper at Back.
A lively start brought a 30 yard penalty for Cowdray Vikings enabling Ed Hitchman to put the first mark on the scoreboard. Goals apiece from Nick Pepper and Marcus Cork gave Sea Breeze a 2-1 lead by the close of the first chukka. Not long into the second chukka, Pepper grabbed the ball, was well backed up by Marcus Cork, and the opportunity was created for a good goal by Will Harper. Despite attacking play by both teams, good marking and robust defensive shots prevented further goals in the chukka .
Chukka 3 opened with Sea Breeze in the lead at 3-1. Allen was unlucky when a good shot at goal went wide and doubly unlucky when he raced off towards the goalposts again only to have his shot saved on the goal line by Pepper. The action raced along and Cowdray Vikings were soon rewarded with a 60 yard penalty which Hitchman lofted over the posts to bring his side’s score up to 2-3. Cowdray Vikings won the throw in and dashed away but Wilf Fine played a good defensive shot to stop their progress. Harper stole the ball from Hitchman and Pepper was soon on the move, but it was Allen who halted progress this time. Suddenly Pepper latched onto the ball, turned it and sent a great shot forward to move Sea Breeze on to 4-2.
In the final chukka, Wedmore contributed a nifty goal for Cowdray Vikings and they were just one behind again. Pepper won the ball from the throw-in, Hitchman delayed his progress but Fine entered the frame with Pepper backing him up. The whistle blew and a safety shot was awarded. Pepper’s shot hit the post and was deflected. Hitchman brought the ball in but Harper stole it and was soon racing off to try an under-the-neck shot towards goal. Allen’s defence was once again a show-stopper as he sent the ball away. Cowdray Vikings were denied the equalizer when a 60 yard penalty went wide and the clock ticked down the final minute with the score remaining at 4-3 to Sea Breeze.
Mr and Mrs Seamus O’Brien, owners of Park House Hotel at Bepton, known for its close links with polo at Cowdray Park, presented the historic cup to Wilf Fine and individual prizes to the Sea Breeze team members. The award for Most Valuable Player went to Boyd Allen of Cowdray Vikings.
From an entry of six teams, Bamboleo/Madams Farm and Gardenvale made it to the final of the 8 goal PSI Trophy. At number 1 for Bamboleo/Madams Farm was Christian Staubach with John Kent at 2, Nick Britten-Long at 3 and Henry Brett at Back. Shane Finemore took his usual positon at 1 for his Gardenvale side, with talented youngsters Jimbo Fester at 2 and Jose Ramon Araya at 3, and England Captain James Beim at Back.
Beim, Fewster and Araya contributed a goal apiece in the first chukka with Henry Brett replying with one goal for Bamboleo/Madams Farm. With a goal each from Beim and Araya in the second chukka, Gardenvale had taken a commanding lead of 5-1 by half time.
Heavy rain continued through the second half whilst Gardenvale consolidated and indeed improved their lead with James Beim’s third goal of the match and a super goal from Jimbo Fewster but no reply from Bamboleo/Madams Farm. The final chukka opened with the score at 7-1 in Gardenvale’s favour. Bamboleo/Madams Farm had plenty of fight still in them and kept looking for their luck to change. A lovely field goal came from Nick Britten-Long and John Kent was able to contribute another, but it was a case of too little too late and Gardenvale ran out the winners of the 2-17 PSI Trophy on a score of 7-3.
Mrs Odara Finemore was delighted to present the beautiful cup to her husband Shane Finemore and prizes to all players. James Beim’s pony Salsita was awarded Best Playing Pony of the match.