British polo has received a boost with the announcement that two new test matches are to be staged in the UK this summer. The Hurlingham Polo Association (HPA) has scheduled the games to take place at the Beaufort and Cowdray Park polo clubs.
The fixtures supplement the long-standing Cartier International Day at Guards, which is normally the senior England teams single summer outing on home ground.
HPA international chairman John Tinsley, said: The two new test matches not only provide us with a valuable opportunity to promote polo to a wider audience, but also allow the English squad to play together more often. Using the national team to promote a sport has worked in rugby, football and numerous other sports and I see no reason why it shouldnt work in polo.
The first test match, on Saturday, 25 June, will be organised by the Beaufort Polo Club and Cirencester Park Polo Club jointly, with the venue alternating each year between the two Gloucestershire clubs. England is likely to face Argentina this year. South Africa is pencilled in as Englands opposition for the second match, which will take place on Saturday, 3 September at Cowdray Park home of the famous Veuve Clicquot Gold Cup.
The announcement comes at an exciting time for British polo as clubs across the UK reported continuing growth in membership and general attendance during the 2004 season.
England team coach John Horswell said: Im tremendously excited by the two new test matches. I see these tests, combined with the English teams we aim to put in the British Polo Enterprises (BPE) Tournament, and the new junior and senior training programmes, as giving English polo a real chance to get back to competing at the very highest level over the next three years. Our aim is to produce a 30-goal team for the Coronation Cup, which we play for on Cartier International Day.