England begin polo season by beating the Americas

England show off the trophy / Picture by Tony Ramirez/www.imagesofpolo.com
England show off the trophy / Picture by Tony Ramirez/www.imagesofpolo.com

In the first senior international of the English polo season, England beat a combined Americas team 6-3 at Cowdray Park.

Heading up the England side was seven-goal player James Beim in his first season as England captain. He was joined by James Harper (six goals), Max Charlton (seven) and Tom Morley (six).

For the Americas, eight-goal player Jaime Huidobro from Chile captained a side which included six-goal player and St Regis connoisseur Nacho Figueras at No1, Manuel ELizalde (five goals) at No2 and Matias Torres Zavaleta (seven) at No3.

It wasn’t until the middle of chukka two that Huidobro grabbed the ball in front of the England goal and made an opportunistic little tap through the posts to put the first mark on the scoreboard.

Chukka three saw play liven up with good interaction between Harper and Morley for England. A 40-yard penalty gave Max Charlton the chance to even the scores at 1-1.

Beim soon sent through a super field goal for 2-1 but a penalty 60-yard shot awarded to the Americas enabled Zavelata to even the scores at 2-2.

The Silver Jubilee Cup was presented to James Beim by Daphne Sipos, global brand director for St Regis.

Another penalty given away by England saw Zavaleta loft through an accurate 60-yard shot and give the Americas the lead. But before half-time, Charlton passed the ball to Harper who angled a magnificent shot at goal to level.

The second half started with the Americas racing away but missing an attempt. Several mistakes by both sides saw further opportunities for goals lost.

Finally Beim raced away for a nifty shot at goal which took England 4-3 ahead.

Despite near misses from Zavaleta and Elizalde, the Americas couldn’t improve their scoreline in the final chukka. Beim again stole an opportunistic goal, then a clean break from the pack saw Harper and Morley swapping passes, with a final flick of the ball from Harper giving England a 6-3 victory.

The Silver Jubilee Cup was presented to James Beim by Daphne Sipos, global brand director for St Regis, with the Americas receiving the St Regis Cup. She also presented individual prizes to the players.

Nick Hine of The Polo magazine presented the prize for MVP to Manuel Elizalde and Piers Plunkett of Lycetts presented the prize for best retrained racehorse, on behalf of RoR, to Lucky, owned by Beim.

The silver Tyro Cup has been presented at Cowdray Park since 1921 to the winners of the first tournament of the new season.

Seven teams entered the 2015 tournament which culminated in a fast-paced and close final between Lila Pearson’s Cowdray Vikings and Peter Barfoot’s Maiz Dulce.

Joining Pearson were Tommy Beresford (three goals) at No2, Will Emerson (five goals) at No3 and Peter Webb (five goals) at back. Barfoot played at back for his team with Jack Berber (two goals) at the front door and five-goalers Tom Hunt and Glenn Sherriff at No2 and No3.

The action was fast and furious with Emerson of the Vikings first to score. Sherriff and Hunt made field goals each for Maiz Dulce with Emerson popping through goal number four, the first chukka ending 2-2.

Maiz Dulce re-took the lead and tit for tat goals made it 4-4. With a foul on Webb as the whistle blew for the end of the second chukka, Cowdray started the second half with a 30-yard penalty and took the lead.

A nifty pass to Beresford enabled him to push the ball through the posts taking Vikings 6-4 ahead. Suddenly Webb snatched the ball and dashed all the way down the field for an outstanding attacking goal to make it 7-4.

Jack Berner for Maiz Dulce started the final chukka with a splendid run down the field. He was stopped by Beresford but Sherriff gained possession and tapped the ball through the posts to reduce the lead.

A foul on Sherriff resulted in a penalty which Tom Hunt zipped through for 7-6 and the momentum was with Maiz Dulce. But a great pass from Emerson to Webb resulted in the decider and Vikings won 8-6.

Lady Beresford presented the historic cup to Pearson while Crackle, owned by Will Emerson, won the award for best playing pony.

Eight teams entered the 2015 eight-goal Barrett Cup with Jon Turner’s DJ Cats and local businessman Peter Barfoot’s Maiz Dulce team making it to the final.

Maiz Dulce won a thrilling encounter 6-5.

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