Polo ladies take centre stage to lift trophies at Cowdray Park

The ladies' open winners / Picture by Mark Beaumont
The ladies' open winners / Picture by Mark Beaumont

A total of 11 teams entered the British Ladies’ Polo Championships at Cowdray Park, running concurrently with the final phase of the King Power Gold Cup.

Six teams were eligible for the 18-goal ladies’ championship and five were entered into the 12-goal British Ladies’ Handicap Championship.

Action from the ladies' open final / Picture by Mark Beaumont

Action from the ladies' open final / Picture by Mark Beaumont

The 18-goal championship concluded with HH Sheika Maitha al Maktoum’s UAE team and Lila Pearson’s Cowdray Vikings reaching the final.

Playing alongside Sheikha Maitha were Milly Hine (5 goals) at No2, Hazel Jackson (9 goals) at No3 and Catalina Lavinia (0 goals) at back. Hannah Parry-Jones (3 goals) took the No1 position for Cowdray Vikings with Lila Pearson (2 goals) at No2, Lottie Lamacraft (6 goals) at No3, and Sarah Wiseman (7 goals) at back.

First mark on the scoreboard came from Wiseman for Cowdray Vikings. She won the ball from the next throw-in but a good clearance from Hine turned into attacking play from UAE. Lamacraft for Cowdray Vikings finally steered the ball away from UAE and raced away but her shot at goal missed.

A whistle brought a free hit for Cowdray; Wiseman tapped the ball on but Hine pounced on it giving Jackson the chance to charge forward and equalize as the chukka bell sounded. In a pacey second chukka, there was plenty of action but little in the way of goals, Hine finally seeing the ball between the posts to take UAE 2-1 ahead at half-time.

Lavinia raced away to score for UAE in the first minute of the second half. Wiseman failed to score from a 60-yard penalty and a good cut shot from Jackson also went wide but she didn’t miss on her next attempt and UAE were 4-1 ahead by the close of the third chukka.

In the final chukka, Hine kept up the pressure on Wiseman who found it difficult to play her usual strong game. A 30-yard penalty awarded to UAE enabled Maitha to increase her side’s score to 5-1 and a lovely run to goal by Jackson gave UAE a final score of 6-1.

Diana Wiseman presented the winners’ silver salver to Maitha and prizes of luxury leather bags generously sponsored by Aspinal of London to the players. Kala, owned and played by Jackson, was awarded the Best Playing Pony prize and her pony Farsons picked up the RoR award for best re-trained racehorse. The prize for Best Horsemanship, presented by Aurora Eastwood, went to Lamacraft.

In the 12-goal British Ladies Handicap Championship Final, Coombe Place met Carlton House. Sophie Kenna (1 goal ) played at 1 for Coombe Place with Sammy Luff (1 goal) at number 2, Dayna Waechter (3 goals) at No3 and Lottie Lamacraft (6 goals) at back, making up an 11-goal team. Carlton House’s line-up comprised Rebecca Servaes (1 goal) at No1, Hannah Parry-Jones (3 goals) at No2, Alice Servaes (4 goals) at No4 and Stephanie Haverhals (4 goals) at back, making a 12-goal team and giving Coombe Place a half-goal advantage on the scoreboard to start the match.

Hannah Parry-Jones scored for Carlton House in the first chukka. Servais went on to make two field goals for her side in the second chukka taking them to a 3-½ goal lead. However a 40-yard penalty gave Lamacraft for Coombe Place the chance to recoup a goal and the first half ended with Carlton House ahead 3-1½ .

Fortunes changed in the second half with Lamacraft making a great field goal and another from Waechter taking Coombe Place into a half goal lead of 3½-3. Carlton House could not pull back and a lovely third goal from Lottie Lamacraft gave the victory to Coombe Place on 4½-3.

Sehr Ahmad presented the prizes generously sponsored by Aspinal of London, the Best Playing Pony of the match was judged to be Yonkie owned and played by S Haverhals who also picked up the prize for Best Horsemanship presented by Aurora Eastwood.