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Mon 26th Feb 2018

Arena Gold Cup Final

SAPA MHF Docklands and Glitterati Polo take home the crown

On a bright Saturday afternoon, the Royal County of Berkshire Polo Club stands were full to bursting with eager polo fans, despite the chilly easterly wind, whipping in from Russia. Up to this point, Regal Warriors had looked like the likely champions, having completed the qualifying stages with only one narrow loss under their belt. So, as the teams entered the arena for the Final, it was all to play for. Going into the first chukka, tensions were immediately high. Both teams raced up and down the arena, jostling for possession and dominance. Regal Warriors took the early lead, 4-3, but as the teams, literally, battled through to half-time, including a yellow card for SAPA MHF Dockland’s Harold Hodges for a questionable ride-off, it was 5-5 on the scoreboard as the teams went into the second half. The match continued with constant pressure from both sides. At the end of the third chukka, Regal Warriors still narrowly led 11-10 and with a flurry of goals to make it 15-12 at the beginning of the fourth chukka, it looked like it was all over for SAPA MHF Docklands. But, with the true power of resurgence, Ed Banner-Eve scored a whopping five goals in the final chukka, with one from brother Alec, to win the match 18-15 for the second year in a row for SAPA/SUPA, to a roar from the gathered crowd. For this epic final play, Ed was awarded The Polo Magazine Most Valuable Player Award, whilst Grant Collett’s pony Zorro was named the Polo Times Best Playing Pony. Earlier in the day, Tchogan beat rivals Sifani, 20-12 in the Silver Cup Final, taking third place.

Saturday also saw the Final of the inaugural Ladies British Arena Open at RCBPC. This tournament has come together as the brainchild of Rosie Ross and saw four sponsored teams of evenly matched players compete for Saturday’s Final. Glitterati Polo and Tally Ho Farm played a very competitive match, both teams fielding some expert players. From the word go, Glitterati Polo took control, leading 9-4 by the half-time bell. After a strong team talk for the Tally Ho Farm ladies during the break, they came out into the second half with renewed vigour, but despite their best efforts, they couldn’t quite catch up with the ladies in black, who took the Final 16-12. Kirsty Craig was presented with The Polo Magazine Most Valuable Player and Wren, owned and played by Rosie Ross was awarded the Polo Times Best Playing Pony rug. Speaking after the match, Rosie Ross said, “I really hope this is something we can continue with next year. It has been a fantastic experience to run it alongside the Arena Gold Cup. But for now, it’s on to the Women’s Victor Ludorum this summer.”
The Arena Gold Cup Final Teams:
SAPA MHF Docklands (15): Alec Banner-Eve (4), Ed Banner-Eve (5) & Harold Hodges (6)
Regal Warriors (15): Raph Singh (2), Grant Collett (4) & Max Charlton (9)
 
The Ladies British Arena Open Final Teams:
Gliteratti Polo (6): Kirsty Craig (2), Rosie Ross (3) & Kirsty Otamendi (1)
Tally Ho Farm (6): Charlotte Christodoulou (1), Nell Jacob (2) & Heloise Wilson-Smith (3)
 
Photograph: SAPA MHF Docklands won the 2018 Arena Gold Cup for the second year in a row. By Polo Times

 


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