A record number of university polo teams are set to take part in this year’s Arena Polo Championships.

Eighty-nine teams from 28 universities will take part in the Schools and Universities Polo Association (SUPA) event at the Hand Equestrian Centre in Somerset (12-15 February).

SUPA spokesperson, Lucy Northmore, said the sport had become increasingly popular among students.

“Numbers are growing dramatically and 10 more teams are taking part this year compared to last,” she said. “These players support the higher end of the sport. They are the future of polo.”

Universities from across the country, including Exeter, Loughborough, Newcastle and Portsmouth, will field teams in the event sponsored by polo brand La Martina.

New players through to the more advanced will take part, with matches held at beginner, novice, intermediate and open level.

Insurance firm NFU Mutual will hold a separate tournament for teams from agricultural colleges during the weekend.

This year, a competition for SUPA graduates will also take place on the Saturday (14 February).

The Lycetts Winter Alumni Tournament, run by the Schools’ Alumni Polo Association (SAPA), will be open to all former SUPA and Pony Club players.

The championships culminate with the Official Polo Players Party and Valentine Evening hosted by Bristol University Polo Club on Saturday night.

And the tournament grand finals will take place on Sunday.

Spectators are welcome.