British Polo team to contest Westchester Cup

  • British polo players are to take on their American counterparts in February in a bid to keep the historic Westchester Cup in Britain.

    Over a 123-year period, the Brits and the US have taken to the field 14 times as friendly rivals, with the British team winning on the last outing in 1997.

    The Hurlingham Polo Association (HPA) has announced a strong British team for the match on 21 February at the Palm Beach International Polo Club, Florida, which this year celebrates the centenary of the first American victory in the Cup in 1909.

    Brothers Luke and Mark Tomlinson and James Beim — who played in the victorious England team at this year’s Cartier International — will be joined for the first time by Eduardo Novillo Astrada, to form a 29-goal team.

    Born in Britain and the possessor of a British passport, Eduardo is the brother of team coach Javier Novillo Astrada.

    Chairman of selectors John Tinsley said: “Eduardo was the obvious selection. Not only is he exceptionally well-mounted himself, but he is well-positioned to help provide and find horses for the rest of the team.”

    Eduardo played for Zacara during the English high-goal season this summer and is a nine-goal player.

    Britain regained possession of the Westchester Cup in a one-game, 12-9 win over the US in 1997, having not won since 1921.

    The Cup was last played in the States in 1939, when the home side won.

    England team manager Andrew Hine said: “Overseas internationals as big as this are nearly always decided on horsepower. The advantage is always with the home team.

    “Having a player of the calibre of Eduardo already mounted in Palm Beach provides a great foundation for the team.”

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