Packed polo programme in store at Cowdray

Polo action at Cowdray Park / Picture by Clive Bennett
Polo action at Cowdray Park / Picture by Clive Bennett

Cowdray Park Polo Club’s 2018 season opens on April 28 with a wealth of exciting tournaments ahead.

The opening matches in the eight-goal Barrett and 12-goal Tyro Cups get under way on the first day of the season and more than 400 matches are scheduled.

Cowdray is first off in the UK high-goal fixtures for 2018 with the Murus Sanctus Trippetts Challenge played for the James Wentworth Stanley Cup starting on May 8. An entry of six teams is anticipated.

An exciting British Open Polo Championship is forecast with at least 12 teams entered for the King Power Gold Cup and many of the high-goal patrons and players basing themselves within the area. There are plans for a week of activities at the Lawns grounds to celebrate the final week of the 2018 King Power Gold Cup.

To demonstrate the growing importance of women’s polo, the final of the British Ladies’ Polo Championship, previously held at Ambersham, will take place on Lawns 1 on Saturday, July 21. With a new format encompassing two handicap levels, the championship has already attracted substantial entries.

The club’s 12, 15 and 18-goal tournaments attracted high entries in 2017. King Power, who are not competing in any high-goal polo in the UK have, however, signalled their entry for the Duke of Sutherland and Harrison Cups this season.

Six HPA tournaments played annually at Cowdray Park as part of the nationwide Victor Ludorum accolade are spread across the whole season and attract large entries from non-domestic teams keen to challenge Cowdray teams on their home turf in tournaments ranging from 8 to 18 goal handicaps.

Cowdray offers plenty of polo at every level with four-goal, six-goal and eight-goal action every month.

Weekend polo returns with its all-inclusive approach. Players from any club affiliated to the HPA are offered the chance to enjoy a taste of polo at the Cowdray Park club, which is now also offering a weekend polo membership.

During 15 weekends last year around 40 matches were played. Players of varying ages and experience booked in – from juniors stepping up from Pony Club, players and patrons practising between tournaments, academy players moving up a level and even England captain James Beim playing his younger ponies alongside visitors from other clubs.

Polo manager Chris Bethell says: “Entry levels are looking good and there will be much for the club’s membership, both playing and non-playing, to enjoy.

“Lawns 2 was stripped off and re-seeded towards the end of the 2017 season and is looking really good. It has been possible to mow all our other grounds throughout the winter and they are in great shape. Personally, I can’t wait for the season to start.”

Memberships may be renewed by calling the polo office on 01730 813257.

LIZ HIGGINS