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Wales fields first official national polo team

welsh_polo_squad.jpg

Welsh sportsmen are well known for their rugby prowess, but this summer Wales will be fielding an entirely different national team – in the world of polo.

Over the past four years, a group of Welsh polo lovers has formed an unofficial team, playing at venues in Wales.

But for the 2012 season, the Hurlingham Polo Association (HPA) – the sport’s governing body – has allowed the team to become official and represent the principality in competitions in Wales, England and the US.

Ricky Cooper will captain the team and the chairman of the Welsh Polo Team and Association is Harry Legge-Bourke.

“There were no polo clubs per se in Wales, only individuals putting on polo using a club name at venues,” said Harry, who has held matches at his Glanusk estate near Crickhowell for several years.

“We hope to change that very soon. This hard work by players not only adds to Wales’ rich equestrian heritage, it also lays the foundations for establishing the sport in the country.

“In time, we hope to have a ladies’ team and youth team. With the current squad available to play for Wales, there will be some fast-moving, exciting and spectacular matches in the UK and abroad. They have had invites to play in Nantucket in the US, potentially Palm Beach as well, and in Pakistan.”

David Woodd of the HPA added: “The Welsh have a strong national identity.

The fielding of a national team will without doubt do much to encourage others to take up polo, in the hope that they might be able to represent Wales in the future.”

This news story was first published in the current issue of H&H (12 July 2012)