Luke Tomlinson: Polo is growing at every level [H&H VIP]

  • The England squad has been having a good run over the past year.

    The highlights have been winning the Westchester against the USA, then coming second in the Fortune Heights Super Nations and securing victory in both the FIP World Cup on snow and the Nations Cup in Argentina in April.

    Last Saturday was the first test match win for the England team on home soil this year. We were against South America for the St Regis International.

    Max Charlton was playing his second match for the main team and competed  to a high level, while James Beim played a great game at number three.

    The Lawns 2 Ground at Cowdray is arguably one of the best grounds in the country. It has recently been re-seeded and had a serious amount of sand put on.

    The ground was smooth and fast and excellent going for the horses.

    Nacho Figueras was playing alongside Eduardo and Alejandro Novillo Astrada, who played a solid game.

    The continued support from Audi and the structure put in place by the Hurlingham Polo Association [HPA] has helped the squad to become a strong unit who are dynamic and striving for improvement.

    The younger generation is producing some very talented players and hopefully they can get the exposure and opportunities at the higher level and manage to find the support that they need.

    The Queen’s Cup draw took place in the Guards clubhouse last Wednesday. As luck would have it, Lucchese — the team I am playing for — got drawn into what has become known as the “League of Death”.

    The depth of good teams this year is larger than ever with some new organisations taking to the higher level. With the weather fair, there is no better place to be playing polo in the world.

    This year there are four new teams in the Queen’s Cup who did not participate last year.

    The number of set-ups with enormous horse pools has also grown with heavy investments in horses from UAE and team King Power, who are relatively new organisations on the UK high-goal scene.

    There are also 18 teams in the Royal Windsor, plus the force of the medium and intermediate level as well as the 18-goal, is much stronger this year. It is a good indicator that the economy is picking up and once again the sport is growing at every level.

    At the time of writing I am staying in my temporary lodgings in Sunningdale at Tom Morley and Richard LePoer’s house.

    I’m hoping that some of Tom’s form might rub off on me — he has enjoyed eight wins out of nine games this season and managed to pick up champion pony with his New Zealand mare at the Tyro Cup.

    Let’s hope the sun keeps shining on Tom and on the rest of us this season.

    This article was first published in Horse & Hound magazine (22 May 2014)