Polo prizes still come thick and fast at Cowdray Park

The Gel-Eze winners / Picture by Clive Bennett - www.polopictures.co.uk
The Gel-Eze winners / Picture by Clive Bennett - www.polopictures.co.uk
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The Gel-Eze Midsummer 12-goal tournament came to its conclusion with Gardenvale facing BHC in the final.

Playing alongside Shane Finemore in his Gardenvale team were James Harper (six goals), England captain James Beim (seven goals) and Hugo Taylor (no goals). 

Mo Sheikh’s BHC team featured Ralph Richardson (two goals) playing at No2, Dirkie Van Reenen (four goals) at three and six-goaler Jack Richardson at back.

Ralph Richardson scored the opening goal for BHC with Harper soon equalising.  A spot penalty taken by Harper gave Gardenvale the lead and a goal from Taylor took them further to 3-1 by the end of the first chukka. 

A splendid run all the way to the goal saw Jack Richardson score a super goal for BHC to narrow the gap, but Beim scored again to put Gardenvale 4-2 up at half-time.

A lively second half saw Taylor score his second of the match but a penalty enabled BHC’s Jack Richardson to send the ball straight through the posts from 40 yards and lessen the gap. 

Another attempt at goal went wide but Van Reenen for BHC captured the ball from the hit-in and a lovely piece of play between him and Jaichardson saw another goal for Sheikh’s side. 

Harper and Beim tried to shut down the BHC attack but Jack Richardson managed to break free and steal the ball, his pass to Ralph resulting in the goal which levelled it at 5-5. 

The all-action fourth chukka saw Van Reenen working all over the field and deservedly scoring the goal which took BHC into the lead on 6-5. 

Gardenvale won the ball from the throw-in, Taylor leaving the ball for Beim who raced towards the goal, but his shot was blocked by Jack Richardson. 

The whistle signalled an undefended shot at goal which was taken by Beim and once more the scores were even.  With the fourth chukka ending on 6-6, it went to extra-time. 

The throw-in saw Harper come away with the ball, but, hassled by Van Reenan, it went out over the boards. When the ball was rolled in Ralph Richardson gave Van Reenan the chance to earn victory to Sheikh at 7-6.

The cup and prizes were presented by Stephen Biddlecombe of Equine Management Ltd, owners of Gel-Eze. The award for Best Playing Pony went to Sapphire owned and ridden by Jack Richardson. 

Dirkie Van Reenan was named Most Valuable Player and was presented leather polo boots.

Meanwhile, the eight-goal Owen Kenny Brecknock Cup was entered by five teams with Maiz Dulce and The Import House making it through to the final. 

With Peter Barfoot still hospitalised through injury, his team comprised Marcus Cork at No1, Matt Pits at two, Terence Lent at three and five-goaler Glenn Sherriff  taking Barfoot’s usual position at back. 

Justin MacRae’s Import House team comprised Tom Townsend (no goals) at two, George Meyrick (six goals) at three, Alan Kent (two goals) at back with the patron No1.

Maiz Dulce won the first throw-in and in less than 30 seconds Pitts lofted a massive shot through the posts for 1-0.  A lovely steal from Kent by Sheriff saw the Maiz Dulce captain race away with the ball the whole length of the pitch to make it 2-0.

Sherriff’s next attempt at goal, from a 60-yard penalty, went wide and although there was plenty of action although there were no further goals in the chukka. 

Good support by Lent in the second chukka enabled Sherriff to whizz the ball between the posts for Maiz Dulce’s third.

Chukka three started with a hit-in from the back line by Meyrick. Kent lost the ball to Sherriff who sent a lovely backhand to Pitts, the team being rewarded with their fourth goal. 

Granted a spot hit, Meyrick sent forward a big shot towards the goal which Kent tapped the final few yards for The Import House’s first mark on the scoreboard.

It wasn’t long before a penalty was given against The Import House and Sherriff struck the ball from 30 yards straight between the posts for a lead of 5-1. 

Meyrick and Kent worked hard to stop the seemingly unstoppable Maiz Dulce but the yellow shirts were awarded a safety and Sherriff lofted a huge shot through the posts for 6-1 to close chukka 3. 

Young Lent won the throw-in which started chukka four but lost the ball to Townsend.  Meyrick got his stick to it but was stopped by Sherriff. 

Townsend intervened once more but suddenly Lent grabbed the ball and whizzed a brilliant under the neck shot through the posts for 7-1. 

Meyrick won the ball from the throw-in and despite hassling from Lent managed to score goal number two for The Import House.  Another attempt at goal by Meyrick failed but the action grew even hotter. The whistle blew against Maiz Dulce and The Import House were awarded a 5b. 

Meyrick tapped the ball forward and then sent a big shot down the middle.  Alan Kent was waiting and dribbled the ball around the opposition to pull another one back for The Import House.

The team simply didn’t give up and were rewarded when Townsend grabbed the ball from Sherriff to make his first goal. But time had run out for Justin MacRae’s side. Maiz Dulce had won the Owen Kenny Brecknock on a score of 7-4.

The cup and prizes were presented by Emily Allchurch and David Small of The Owen Kenny Partnership.  They also presented the award for Best Playing Pony to Lola, owned and ridden by Meyrick.

In the subsidiary final of the Owen Kenny Brecknock Cup, GCN ran out the winners 9½-4 against Nipas.

To complete the 1921 Cup, abandoned when club chairman Barfoot was seriously injured in July, an extra chukka added on to the semi-finals of the Owen Kenny Brecknock Cup  played between Sea Breeze and Maiz Dulce saw Ray and Wilf Fine’s Sea Breeze claim victory 5-4.

LIZ HIGGINS 

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