Silverware shared around in polo’s big cup weekend

Lamrei v Elevation in the Harrison Cup Final  Picture by Clive Bennett
Lamrei v Elevation in the Harrison Cup Final Picture by Clive Bennett

A busy weekend of polo at Cowdray Park saw the culmination of two of Cowdray’s most popular tournaments, the Holden White and Harrison Cups.

The final and two subsidiary finals of the eight-goal Holden White Cup were played on Saturday with the final and two subsidiaries of the 15-goal Harrison on Sunday.

This year’s Holden White Cup attracted entries from more than 30 teams, the high entry indicating an HPA series open to allcomers rather than a Cowdray domestic tournament. Apache and Poulton made it through to the final.

The Apache side of Janie and Freddie Dear were joined by professionals Matias Machado (three goals) from Argentina and young five-goal South African Tom de Bruin.

The Poulton team of Martin Ephson included his son Ludo Ephson and young English professionals George Meyrick and Max Charlton both playing off four goals.

Fittingly, the first goal of the match came from Poulton patron Martin Ephson, while a second from Meyrick soon saw the scores equalled by goals from De Bruin and Machiado for Apache to close the chukka 2-2. Poulton failed to score in the second chukka, making it 4-2 in Apache’s favour at half-time.

The third chukka saw a fine field goal from Freddie Dear for Apache before Poulton narrowed the gap with goals from Ludo Ephson and Max Charlton to close the period 5-4 down. With everything to play for in the final chukka, Ludo Ephson picked up a loose ball and put it through the posts to equalise.

Max Charlton kept his head, picking a ball up off the boards and deftly managing it down the field until he could push it through the posts to take the lead for Poulton. Although both sides continued fighting to the final bell, the match ended with a 6-5 victory to Poulton.

In the subsidiary Ambersham Cup, Dupree beat Elevation 4-2 and the Ruins subsidiary cup was won by Broncos, 10-7 over Trippetts Farm.

The 15-goal Harrison Cup attracted ten entries with Satinder Garcha’s Elevation and Charlie McCowen’s Lamrei facing each other in the final. Garcha had picked a side of three young English players, Jack Richardson (three goals) as his No2, Richard Le Poer (four goals) at No3 and strong six-goal player Tom Morley at back.

McCowen’s partnering with Argentines Juan Ruiz Guinazu and Santiago Gaztambide also included up and coming local two-goaler John Kent at the front door.

Lamrei enjoyed a great opening chukka with four goals on the board, but allowed Elevation to creep up in the second. By half-time it was 6-6.

Lamrei failed to score in the fourth chukka enabling Elevation to creep ahead for the first time. Argentine pros Guinazu and Gaztambide came back on and fast and furious play saw Guinazu equalise at 7-7 with Gaztambide picking up a ball and galloping the entire length of the field to take Lamrei ahead 8-7.

Jack Richardson equalised for Elevation but an infringement gave a 40-yard penalty to Lamrei and Gaztambide smacked it through the posts to snatch victory at 9-8. Charlie McCowen from Alresford said: “It was closer than I wanted it to be, but it was great playing with a close-knit team.”

The subsidiary Maidensgrove Cup was won 7-6 by Clarita Pink against Clarita Black, and the Aotea Cup saw Montana beat Broncos 8-7.