England ready for world battle in France
The England polo team are gearing up for their World Cup campaign in Chantilly, France, which gets underway next Friday.
Final preparations are underway for the tournament, with the squad recently participating in the Valerie Halford Cup at Coworth Park.
There, the team’s performance was under careful scrutiny by team coach Claire Tomlinson, who is adamant that practice makes perfect, determined that the Eurostar-sponsored team should hit the ground running to ensure a decent result in their first, undoubtedly tough, draw against Brazil.
“We’ve tried a number of different combinations in the tournament and have hired horses to give the players experience of playing unfamiliar ponies, which they will have to do in France.
“With our first match being Brazil, we really need to be on top of our game right form the start, and these final matches and practices are vital to our success.”
The team is headed by captain Tom Morley, whose experience as part of the bronze medal-winning team in Australia will be put to good use as he attempts to go two better. He will be joined by three other players from the named squad in his mission to defeat the rest of the world, although he is far from complacent about England’s chances.
“We have a tough group with Brazil, Pakistan and Mexico, with the top two teams going forward to the semi-finals. Winning our group would give us a good advantage in the semis, but it’s really a question of taking each game as it comes,” Morley comments.
Home team takes pony club title
In a hard fought battle, Cowdray dug deep into their extra reserves to clinch the Gannon title at the 3C Pony Club Polo Championships at Cowdray Park.
The final is the culmination of the tournament which runs over three weeks throughout the country, incorporating children of all ages and backgrounds.
And while the competitive spirit is much encouraged, the ultimate aim, explains the chairman of Pony Club Polo, David Cowley, is “to teach and improve standards of polo and give the children a fantastic opportunity to play an amazing sport.”
It was hardly surprising that the final featured youngsters who play on a more regular basis than the majority of their counterparts, but it was an exciting match nevertheless, with the Cowdray-based Routledge brothers joining James Rome and Charley Law in locking horns with the Cotley team, who had come together from four different southern branches.
The score stood at 5-1½ to Cotley going into the final chukka, but Cowdray moved up a gear, and with fixed determination scored the necessary four goals to steal victory from under the Cotley team’s nose.
Auction of polo memorabilia
A Polo Memorabilia and Sporting Collector’s items sale due to take place in Midhurst on 22 September is likely to produce some interesting highlights, with bronze polo sculptures, polo journals and manuals dating back to the 1930s, and hunting and polo prints featuring.
More extraordinary lots include a collection of taxidermy from hunting trips during the days of the Empire in India, two pieces of Louis Vuitton dating back to the early 20th Century, and believed to have belonged to golfer Sir Henry Cotton, as well as a few well-preserved picnic hampers (edibles not included!)