Hickstead to host a high-goal arena polo match later this month

  • England are to play America in a high-goal arena polo test match at Hickstead this month.

    Scheduled for 28 February, the game will take place on the 100x50metre enclosed all-weather arena. The arena was installed at Hickstead three years ago as part of a £500,000 improvement programme.

    Both teams will be playing at 20-goal level, a high standard for test match polo.

    John Bunn, director of the All England Polo Club, said: “The game will be played at a tremendous pace. This standard of polo will be a thrilling introduction for anyone new to arena polo.”

    The winning team will be presented with the Bryan Morrison Trophy in memory of the music publisher and founder of the Royal County of Berkshire Polo Club.

    David Woodd, chief executive of the governing body of polo — the Hurlingham Polo Association — said: “Arena polo is very localised but what Hickstead has done is introduce the game to Sussex. It is providing a top-class facility.”

    This will be the second test match played at Hickstead. Last year, in the first test match played in this country, England beat South Africa in a decisive victory.

    Before arena polo was introduced 15 years ago, the sport stopped during the winter months and the ponies were turned out until spring. Now, the game is growing fast and drawing large crowds keen to get closer to the action.

    The teams:

    England: Chris Hyde (9 goals) team manager and coach, Nacho Gonzalez (9 goals) team captain, Ryan Pemble (5 goals), Howard Smith (6 goals).

    USA: Billy Sheldon (7 goals) team captain, Charlie Muldoon (5 goals), Shane Rice (8 goals).

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