Polo? It’s more like water polo at Cowdray Park

Bramon, Autumn Cup winners at Cowdray  Picture by Clive Bennett
Bramon, Autumn Cup winners at Cowdray Picture by Clive Bennett

Cowdray Park Polo Club’s 2012 season finished as it started – in driving rain.

The HPA 12-goal Autumn Cup was played on the Ambersham one ground, which has played spectacularly well throughout 2012’s difficult conditions.

Thirteen teams had entered the popular tournament with Bramon and Inspirit making it through to the final.

Playing for Charles Cornwell’s Bramon side were Lila Pearson at No1, George Pearson at No2 and South African six-goal players Gareth Evans and Tom de Bruin at No3 and back.

Playing alongside John Gunn for his Inspirit team were Mark and Will Emerson at No2 and No3 and Peter Webb at the back door.

Webb was first to score for Inspirit and at the close of the first chukka had taken his team 2-1 ahead.

Tom de Bruin’s third goal of the match saw Bramon equalise 3-3 by the close of the second chukka.

Not many spectators assisted with treading-in and the teams were keen to get back on for the second half.

Pearson was first to score with a tidy field goal for Bramon taking the side ahead for the first time in the match. Emerson took it to 4-4 before de Bruin, the highest goal scorer of the match, contributed two more for Bramon.

However, Peter Webb pulled one back for Inspirit before the third chukka closed at 6-5 in Bramon’s favour.

The fourth chukka saw a determined Webb take Inspirit ahead once more before Evans contributed a nifty field goal and the scores were level-pegging once again.

Was this going to be another Cowdray final which went into extra time, as had most finals during the closing weeks of the season? De Bruin ensured it was not. His sixth goal match saw an 8-7 victory for Bramon.

Prizes were sponsored and presented by Jamie Gordon of Casablanca Polo, who also presented a prize for most valuable player to Evans. The best playing pony of the match was Tilo, owned and played by Webb.

In the Autumn Cup subsidiary final Nick Clarke’s Salkeld beat Simon Arber’s Four Quarters Orange 4-1.

The Autumn Cup was one of the HPA series of Victor Ludorum matches sponsored by bankers Julius Baer International.

Cowdray Park’s end-of-season presentations included the Pimms Cup for the most improved young player going to Guy Fox-Andrews, the Millennium Plate for umpiring awarded to Derreck Bratley and the Large Cup for Pony Welfare awarded to Ed Hitchman.

Bloom Gin sponsored prizes for the best low and best medium goal teams in the 2012 season, won by Ray Fine’s Las Estrellas and Peter Barfoot’s Maiz Dulce respectively.

LIZ HIGGINS