Cicero final is highlight of buzzing bank holiday at Cowdray

Presentations after the Cicero Cup final / Picture by Clive Bennett - www.polopictures.co.uk
Presentations after the Cicero Cup final / Picture by Clive Bennett - www.polopictures.co.uk

A very active day of polo at Cowdray Park on Bank Holiday Monday saw six matches played – with the final of the 15-goal Spink & Son Cicero Cup the highlight.

Seven teams entered the tournament with Creighton Boyd’s Confido team facing defending champions Max Kirchhoff’s Snake Bite in the final.

Playing alongside Boyd were three-goal player Shaun Brokensha at two and brothers Mark and Luke Tomlinson at three and back respectively. Alongside Kirchhoff were David Ashby (three goals) at No2, Matt Perry (five goals) at three and Jack Richardson (seven goals) at back.

After a scrappy start, and two missed penalties from Mark Tomlinson, the No3 found some space and ran with the ball to make the first goal for Confido.

Confido won the throw in but Richardson backhanded the ball away from Brokensha to Perry. On went the ball to Kirchhoff who neatly put the first mark on the scoreboard for his team. At the close of the first chukka, Richardson had taken the side into a lead of 2-1.

A foul in front of the goal marked the opening of the second chukka. Luke Tomlinson was quickly able to score and bring the scores level.

Edward Hilary Davies of Spink & Son presented the Cicero Cup to Kirchhoff and bespoke medallions to all players. Richardson’s Corneca was judged best playing pony, and Perry was awarded most valuable player.

A safety 60-yard penalty was awarded to Snake Bite, Richardson sent the ball forward but it was left to Perry to see it between the posts and Snake Bite were in the lead again. Mark Tomlinson equalised 3-3 for Confido from a field goal.

At the beginning of the second chukka, a penalty 40-yard shot at goal was sent high and sure over the posts by Richardson and the score moved on to 4-3 in Snake Bite’s favour.

As play opened up, the crowd saw plenty of shots at goal narrowly missed, until Perry suddenly swooped on the ball and carried it the length of the field for a super field goal and a lead of 5-3. Snake Bite won the throw-in. Brokensha entered the action and there was a whistle.

A 60 yard penalty was awarded to Confido which Mark Tomlinson accurately sent through to pull a goal back. Very quickly he saw the opportunity for a super pass to Boyd, who popped the ball between the posts to equalise at 5-5. The chukka ended on a whistle and spectators were encouraged onto the pitch for the half-time tread-in.

The fourth chukka opened with a hit in front of the goal resulting in a goal from Perry which raised Snake Bite’s score to 6-5.

Confido won the throw in, soon stopped by Richardson. Suddenly Ashby had the ball and made a great run to the goal for 7-5.

The final chukka saw two more goals from Richardson taking Snake Bite on to 9-5. Luke Tomlinson was able to put a final mark on the scoreboard for Confido but Snake Bite ran out the winners of the Spink & Son Cicero Cup for a second year.

Edward Hilary Davies of Spink & Son presented the Cicero Cup to Kirchhoff and bespoke medallions to all players. Richardson’s Corneca was judged best playing pony, and Perry was awarded most valuable player.

A new prize for horsemanship, awarded by Polo Quarterly magazine, was also awarded to Perry.

In the subsidiary final of the Spink & Son Cicero Cup, Golden Falcons narrowly beat DJ Cats 6½-6.

In the six-goal Jubilee Cup played earlier in the day, Maya Staubach’s Bamboleo team beat J P Daeschler Gunmakers 6-2.

LIZ HIGGINS