A brilliantly-interactive and intuitive display of polo skills by six-goalers James Beim and James Harper in the final of the Gel-Eze Midsummer 12-goal cup saw that a delighted Shane Finemore, patron of Gardenvale, took home the impressive trophy.
With the two Jameses playing at three and back, and the patron at one, promising young one0goal player Jamie Grayson ably took the No2 position.
Facing Gardenvale were CPG, with patron Sally Turner at No1, six-goal player George Meyrick at No2, Henry Brett at three and Roddy Williams at back.
Within seconds of the start, Beim had raced away to take a swift goal, soon answered by Meyrick for CPG. Beim won the throw-in and sent a long shot forward. As Harper went to pick it up Meyrick for CPG pounced and the umpires blew for a foul.
Harper sent a 30-yard penalty shot through the posts and the score was 2-1. Soon, a lovely clearance by Harper gave Beim the opportunity to send home a third for Gardenvale.
Chukka two demonstrated plenty of the well-practised plays between Harper and Beim. In the first minute, on the way to an almost certain goal, Beim was fouled and a spot penalty gave Harper the chance to move Gardenvale to 4-1 lead. Soon it was Harper racing away again and it was 5-1.
Williams for CPG tried to stop Harper, who ploughed on down the pitch to take the score to 6-1. CPG won the ball from the throw-in and Wiliams lost no time in steering it to the goal, giving his side much-needed encouragement.
Once more Gardenvale went on the attack, with Finemore then Harper carrying the ball forward, but Brett intervened and the ball went out over the back line. Williams brought it in and play moved across to the boards. Harper made a fantastic steal but lost the ball to Williams.
In came Grayson who steered it away and sent it on to Beim, whose stonking shot made the half-time score 7-2 to Gardenvale.
After the tread-in, CPG tried to put pressure on Gardenvale but could not break through the tight combination of Beim and Harper.
Harper raced away again, notching Gardenvale’s lead to 8-2. CPG were able to pull a goal back with a 30-yard penalty sent through by Roddy Williams.
The umpires found against Gardenvale again giving Meyrick the chance to score from 30 yards and make it 8-4.
In the final chukka, a lovely piece of play saw England captain Beim send a long ball to Harper who made a brilliant carry all the way through the posts for 9-4. Grayson’s good try at goal went wide.
Williams brought the ball in looking for Meyrick, who carried it out to the boards. Harper made a steal and passed to Beim, but his shot went wide.
CPG brought the ball in with Meyrick looking for Brett, but Beim raced in and stole it. Meyrick wasn’t giving up and re-claimed it, passing to Turner with Brett and Williams ready to complete the play. Williams sent the ball plumb between the posts for CPG’s final goal.
Gardenvale had won the Gel-Eze Midsummer 12-goal on a score of 9-5 and Finemore accepted the trophy from Stephen Biddlecombe of Equine Management Ltd, who also presented prizes to each team from his range of equestrian products.
He also presented a leather bridle to Harper, owner of Caruba, judged best playing pony. Harper also received the most valuable player award.
* In the final of the six-goal West Sussex Cup played on Sunday between Peter Barfoot’s Maiz Dulce and Jo Stuart’s Los Hamblinos, a blistering performance from Derreck Bratley at back took Maiz Dulce to an 8-0 lead by the close of the third chukka.
The final chukka saw five goals on the scoreboard, a final 40 yard penalty accurately put through by Bratley and Niall Donnelly for Los Hamblinos scoring from two penalties and two field goals to give a final result of 9-4 to Maiz Dulce.
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