On saturday 3 March at The All England Polo Club, Hickstead, West Sussex, the International Arena Polo Test Match saw England defeat the USA 12-9, ensuring the Bryan Morrison Trophy remained in British hands.
The home team featured a blend of youth and experience. Captaining Team England was nine-goaler Chris Hyde, Europe’s highest handicapped arena polo player, who was joined by England debutant Danny Muriel (4), plus Max Charlton, who plays off an arena handicap of six. Max Charlton has already represented England at international level, as he helped England to victory against Argentina last year at London’s O2 Arena.
“It’s a great feeling,” said Chris after the match. “There was a lot of pressure on us for this match, after we lost last year in California. But the American’s were a very experienced, disciplined team and they gave us a good game.”
USA Team Captain John Gobin won the Most Valuable Player award for his exemplary captainship and great individual plays, whilst the award for the Best Playing Pony went to Caledonia, owned by All England Polo Club member Caio Sorzana and played by America’s John Gobin. Caledonia played for the full six-and-a-half minutes of the penultimate chukka.
In the opening match of the day, Cold Smoke took on Team Hickstead in a High Goal Challenge, securing a close 12-11 victory over the home side. The score lines remained neck and neck almost to the whistle until Charlie Wooldridge made a spectacular shot at goal in the final seconds of the game to steal the lead for Cold Smoke.
Michael Bickford unluckily suffered a broken collarbone in the latter stages of the game, meaning Cold Smoke brought on Jake Gordon as substitute. However, Michael’s play up until that point won him the prize for the Most Valuable Player.
Hickstead polo director John Bunn said: “When I woke up to see the rain I couldn’t believe it, but by 11am we were playing the first game in glorious sunshine that stayed with us for the rest of the day.
I was lucky enough to play in the first match and it was fantastic to play on such a big day in front of the huge crowd that had come to support their national team.
“The day was a huge success and it was a delight to host USA at Hickstead again. Hopefully this day will now become a permanent fixture at Hickstead for many years to come,” he added.
For more information, visit www.hickstead.co.uk/polo.
Published 12th March 2012
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