THE English high-goal polo season will be a fortnight longer next year when the Warwickshire Cup, Cirencester Park’s 22-goal trophy, moves to a new slot in the calendar.

It will take place directly after the Gold Cup, at the end of July and beginning of August, with the final on the historic Ivy Lodge ground, a week after Cartier International Day.

The change is expected to revitalise the tournament, which has seen entries fall in recent years, sandwiched as it is between the Queen’s and Gold Cups. This year, eight teams entered compared with the other two tournaments’ 20. Only two of these — the finalists Lovelocks and Les Lions II — entered all three 22-goal tournaments.

Organisers hope the date change will encourage the high-goal professionals and patrons who leave England within days of the Gold Cup — for Spain, France or America — to stay a further fortnight.

David Woodd, chief executive of the Hurlingham Polo Association, says: “This will mean that the Gold Cup can start earlier and that more teams —especially British-based ones — will enter the Warwickshire.

“The 18-goal Challenge Cup at Cowdray Park, which is usually held after the Gold Cup, is likely to be in the second half of August. Patrons are showing enthusiasm for this change.”

The cup itself is one of the oldest on the circuit: given to Leamington Spa Polo Club in 1894, it spent the pre-war years at Roehampton, before ending up at Cirencester Park.

Cowdray may reschedule some of its Goodwood Week polo that coincides with the Warwickshire’s new slot.

This news story was first published in Horse & Hound (10 July, ’08)