Park House Cup is a Breeze for Wilf’s winners

The Park house finalists / Picture by Clive Bennett - www.polopictures.co.uk
The Park house finalists / Picture by Clive Bennett - www.polopictures.co.uk

The Park House Cup, first presented 53 years ago, remains a popular fixture at Cowdray Park Polo Club and six teams entered the 2017 tournament.

Facing each other in the final were Lila Pearson’s Cowdray Vikings and Wilf Fine’s Sea Breeze.

Pearson took the No1 position for Cowdray Vikings with Quentin Wedmore at two, Boyd Allen at three and Ed Hitchman at back. Playing alongside Fine were the youngest player on the pitch Will Harper at two, Marcus Cork at three and Nick Pepper at back.

A lively start brought a 30-yard penalty for Cowdray Vikings enabling Hitchman to put the first mark on the scoreboard. Goals apiece from Nick Pepper and Marcus Cork gave Sea Breeze a 2-1 lead by the close of the first chukka.

Not long into the second, Pepper grabbed the ball and was well backed up by Cork, and the opportunity was created for a good goal by Harper. Despite attacking play by both teams, good marking and robust defensive shots prevented further goals in the chukka.

Chukka three opened with Sea Breeze in the lead at 3-1. Allen was unlucky when a good shot at goal went wide and doubly unlucky when he raced off towards the goalposts again only to have his shot saved on the goal line by Pepper.

Cowdray Vikings were rewarded with a 60-yard penalty which Hitchman lofted over the posts to bring it to 3-2. Vikings won the throw-in and dashed away but Fine played a good defensive shot to stop their progress.

Harper stole the ball from Hitchman and Pepper was soon on the move, but Allen halted progress this time. Pepper latched on to the ball, turned it and sent a great shot forward to move Sea Breeze on to 4-2.

In the final chukka, Wedmore contributed a nifty goal for Cowdray Vikings and they were just one behind again. Pepper won the ball from the throw-in, Hitchman delayed his progress but Fine entered the frame with Pepper backing him up.

The whistle blew and a safety shot was awarded. Pepper’s shot hit the post and was deflected.

Hitchman brought the ball in but Harper stole it and was soon racing off to try an under-the-neck shot towards goal. Allen’s defence was impressive as he sent the ball away.

Vikings were denied the equaliser when a 60-yard penalty went wide and the clock ticked down the final minute with the score remaining at 4-3 to Sea Breeze.

The owners of Park House Hotel at Bepton, known for its close links with polo at Cowdray Park, presented the historic cup to Fine and individual prizes to the Sea Breeze team members. The award for most valuable player went to Boyd Allen of Cowdray Vikings.

Bamboleo/Madams Farm and Gardenvale made it to the final of the eight-goal PSI Trophy.

At No1 for Bamboleo/Madams Farm was Christian Staubach with John Kent at two, Nick Britten-Long at No3 and Henry Brett at back. Shane Finemore took his usual positon at No1 for Gardenvale, with talented youngsters Jimbo Fester at two and Jose Ramon Araya at three and England captain James Beim at back.

Beim, Fewster and Araya contributed a goal apiece in the first chukka with Brett replying with one for Bamboleo/Madams Farm. With a goal each from Beim and Araya in the second chukka, Gardenvale had taken a commanding lead of 5-1.

Heavy rain fell through the second half while Gardenvale consolidated and improved their lead with Beim’s third of the match and a super goal from Fewster.

The final chukka opened with the score at 7-1 in Gardenvale’s favour. A lovely field goal came from Britten-Long and Kent contributed another, but Gardenvale ran out the winners of the PSI Trophy 7-3.

Odara Finemore was delighted to present the cup to her husband Shane and prizes to all players. Beim’s pony Salsita was awarded best playing pony.

LIZ HIGGINS

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