Crowds enjoy year’s last hurrah for polo at Cowdray

Action from the Farewell Cup at Cowdray   Picture by Clive Bennett / www.polopictures.co.uk
Action from the Farewell Cup at Cowdray Picture by Clive Bennett / www.polopictures.co.uk

Cowdray Park members turned out in force in near-perfect weather to enjoy the conclusion of the final two tournaments of an excellent season of polo.

Ten teams entered the last of Cowdray’s HPA tournaments of 2015, the 12-goal Jaeger-LeCoultre Autumn Cup, with local patron Laura Ormerod and the Emlor team reaching the final to face Romilla Arber’s Four Quarters Black.

Laura Ormerod has substituted for her father, Clinton McCarthy, throughout the season. Clinton was seriously injured at the beginning of the season but has been enjoying Laura’s amazing success from the sidelines.

Number two for Emlor was one-goal player Tom Brodie; five-goal player Ed Hitchman played at two, with Manolo Fernandez-Llorente, six goals, at back.

Romilla Arber’s team comprised Edward Morris-Lowe at two, leading young England player Max Charlton, six goals, at three and Richard Le Poer, five goals, at back.

First to make a mark on the scoreboard was Morris-Lowe for Four Quarters, but Emlor made a good start with a 40-yard penalty sent home by Hitchman, who followed with a field goal.

Another field goal from Fernandez-Llorente gave Emlor an early lead of 3-1. This was quickly wiped out by vibrant play from Le Poer and Charlton, who between them notched five goals to take Four Quarters Black into a lead of 6-3.

The third chukka was goalless. Max Charlton’s fourth goal in the fourth chukka was a delight and indicated why his handicap has been raised. A shot from Hitchman went wide but he regained possession and sent a pass to Ormerod who made a super field goal taking her side on to 7-4. One last attempt at goal by Emlor failed and victory in the coveted Jaeger-LeCoultre Autumn Cup went to Four Quarters Black for a final score of 7-4.

Leonard Pictet from Jaeger-LeCoultre presented the cup and prizes of photograph frames. Prizes of polo kit were sponsored by Casablanca Polo and Jamie Gordon of Casablanca presented a prize for MVP to Max Charlton. Hitchman’s nine-year-old mare Rose won the award for best playing pony, presented by Pictet.

In the Farewell Cup, George Pearson’s Cowdray Vikings faced Peter Barfoot’s Maiz Dulce. Cowdray Vikings led 6-1 by half-time and 9-6 by the end.

Rosemary and George Robinson, whose family endowed the Farewell Cup more than 50 years ago, presented the trophy and prizes. The award for best playing pony went to Pearson’s pony Migana, with Lila Pearson presenting the award to Jackie, the long-serving Cowdray groom.

Presentations continued with Cressida De Little presenting the Large Cup for pony welfare to Laura Ormerod, chairman Peter Barfoot handing the Pimms Cup for the most improved young player to George Pearson and the Millenium Plate for umpiring services going to Adrian Wade. The BLOOM Gin awards were made by Mike Salmon of Quintessential Brands, who presented the award for best low-goal team to the Los Estrellas team of Ray Fine and the award for best medium-goal team to Romilla Arber and Four Quarters Black.

LIZ HIGGINS