The TJB HAC Arras Team line up after a hard fought victory against the HCR.Read More
HAC Polo News
Read the latest news, match reports and information on upcoming events in the HAC Polo calendar.
Saturday 2nd of September was blessed with glorious sunshine with only a smattering of cloud in the sky over Ham Polo Club as the military, ponies and public assembled for the seventh annual TJB HAC 105 Polo Invitational. The day is designed to give military polo a public outlet and to give members of the public an opportunity to see some low goal yet high spirited matches – as such four matches with various military connections and flavours were on the cards.
With many enthusiastic members arriving early to pitch their slot – Col Bob Shedden was seen wrestling with his Gazebo at 09:30 with a gates open timing of 11:00 –
TJB 105 Cup
The first of the matches was the title match of the Day – The TJB 105 Polo Cup. The Welsh Guards returned with the 105 suitably polished after their victory last year with every intent of returning it to their Regimental Headquarters after the day. Against them was the TJB HAC Regimental Team.
1. CSgt Phil Derren (-2)
2. Lt.Col. Llewelyn-Usher (-2)
3. Capt. Alex Major (-2)
4. Capt. James Marsden (-2)
TJB HAC – Regiment
1. LSgt Michael Greville (-2)
2. Sgt Alasdair Grant (-2)
3. Lt. Nic Clark-Majerus (-2)
4. Lt. GP O’Connor (-1)
With the HAC at a slight handicap advantage the guardsmen started the game with a half a goal on the board. The game started at a pace and it was clear both sides were determined to gain an early advantage. Let Clark lost his head in the early moments of the first chukka but we are glad to report it was the one on his mallet no this shoulders! The HAC were fortunate to win a Penalty 3 (40 yard) and Lt O’Connor duly converted to put the HAC into the lead.
The second chukka saw the HAC widen its advantage with LSgt Grant carry an attack to goal which Lt O’Connor sealed with a neck shot from 40 yards. But not to be outdone the guardsman quickly counter attacked from a period of open play and Capt Marsden closed the gap back to half a goal. And still they kept coming with the guardsmen taking the lead with a break from a melee 60 yards from the HAC’s goal.
The third chukka became fast and open and was like a different match. LSgt Greville made a break from half way line and with just 2 clean hits send the ball neatly through the goals clinching the lead back from the guardsman. Arguably the goal of the match with compliments showering on him from both teams. And to prove the point you can never relax the guardsmen made a break from another throw in and despite efforts of Lt O’Connor to clear a swift hook from Capt Major and a deft tap put the Welsh went back in the lead. The Welsh threatened again with Lt.Col Llewelyn –Usher unleashing a flying shot towards goal but could not press home the break as his kneepad got caught in LSgt Grants reigns and he was promptly dismounted. It seemed for a moment like dismounting was starting to become a fashion as CSgt Derren also had a fortuitous dismount as Lt Clark broke free and headed for the goal. After some quick medical treatment – apparently children’s paracetamol – he was right as rain and back on his pony. The HAC despite the pressure were able to move the ball down the Welsh end of the pitch and melee induced pop towards goal was tapped home by Lt O’Connor. The HAC nudged ahead.
A threatening attack by the Welsh was turned by the combined work of Lt Clark and Lt O’Connor, a pass to Sgt Grant saw it carried to the half way line where a pass to Lt O’Connor saw it whizz towards goal. With Lt Col Llewelyn-Usher in hot pursuit exclaiming “hooking” as the HAC approached goal Lt O’Connor sealed the shot from 60 yards and with great relief saw the ball sail through the goal. Such was the elation from play that both teams were surprised by the final whistle, eager as they were to play on. It was with telling relief that the HAC shook hands with the Welsh Guards players but smiles were awash the exhausted faces on both sides. The 105 Cup was on its way back to the HAC for the first time since 2011.
The Merchant’s Heart Cup
With the champagne Reception finished and the guests sat down for lunch the second of the days matches got under way. The TJB HAC Saddle Club team played the Royal Artillery. And while the handicap differential may have implied a walk over by the HAC Saddle Club the Royal Artillery were determined to bring all the firepower they could muster to bear.
The TJB HAC Saddle Club fielded a -2 team against the Royal Artillery’s -6 meaning 3 1/2 goals on the scoreboard to the RA before the game had started to even out the SC handicap advantage.
TJB HAC SADDLE CLUB
1. Sophie Morrison (-1)
2. Alex Powell (-1)
3. Louise Brown (0)
4. Jason McCreight (0)
1. 2Lt. Matt Ryder (-2)
2. Capt. Luke Wadman (-2)
3. Capt. Scarlett Geering
4. Col. Dickie Winchester (-1)
The 1st chukka for TJB HAC SC was all about gaining back the goal advantage, and the 1st goal was scored fairly quickly by their no 4, Jason McCreight. However the RA weren’t rattled and fought back hard… although not scoring any goals in the 1st chukka they managed to keep the pressure on so as to prevent HACSC from scoring more goals within the first seven and a half minutes.
Determined to close the advantage, TJB HAC SC came back strong in the 2nd chukka with two more goals - one off a penalty - to almost even the scoreboard. As the final minutes of the second chukka ticked away RA took advantage of a small mistake from TJB HAC SC to score a lovely goal giving them back their clear advantage.
The Second half of the match and the third chukka started with a goal to the TJB HAC SC right out of the line up by no 3 Alex Powell, taking them back to within half a goal. The RA starting to feel the pressure made an error of judgement and crossed TJB HAC SC’s No 3. - Louise Brown’s - line as she headed towards goal, team mate Jason McCreight successfully converted the penalty to a goal, for the first time HACSC were winning on the scoreboard. Regaining their cool the RA came back to score another goal once again putting them ahead with 5: 51/2 on the board. Wanting to regain their advantage TJB HAC SC fought back, the pressure showing slightly as they had 3-4 attempts at goal going wide. Regaining composure though they finally got the ball through the goal posts taking them back up 6 : 5 ½ and back into the lead.
As the final chukka commenced, it was still anyone’s game. Fully focussed TJB HAC SC worked closely as a team backing each other up, making the RA work hard to gain possession. As Jason McCreight seemed to make another escape for goal, the RA upped their defensive skills and rode him off. However team mate and TJB HAC SC no1 was close behind picking up the ball and taking it to goal giving the Saddle Club a clear advance on the scoreboard for the 1st time, soon after a final goal was scored by Louise Brown to help consolidate the win to TJB HAC SC and a 8 : 5 1/2 finish.
The Hendricks - Sadler – Cup
As afternoon approached on a scorching summers day in the beautiful grounds of Ham Polo Club, the sound of popping champagne corks and cheers from the clubhouse were joyfully heard alongside the noise of thundering hooves as the TJB HAC Veterans and Hackett Army teams locked horns in the third match of this year’s TJB HAC 105 tournament. Like the other games on the day…. it went to the wire!
TJB HAC Veterans:
1. Capt (Rtd) Ben Loxton-Edwards (-1)
2. Capt (Rtd) Cy Lloyd Jones (-2)
3. CSgt (Rtd) Tim Johnson (0)
4. LCpl (Rtd) Julian Bickerton (0)
1. Major John Morgan (-1)
2. Capt Dan Von Barloewen (-1)
3. Maj Janet Johnston (-1)
4. Lt Rishi Ahluwalia (0)
On paper this was always going to be close. All players were known to play slightly above their handicap and had faced each other before at some stage, but never as these teams and so it was going to be an interesting battle. Before the first ball was thrown in, the bright red Hackett Army team gave ½ goal to the maroons of the TJB HAC Vets on handicap difference.
The first chukka set the tone for the match…. fast, close marking and surprisingly disciplined. Both teams were testing each other out and making runs and despite the team’s general discipline, two uncharacteristic errors saw both teams giving away 30 yard penalties each. Both penalties were confidently seen away by their team captains, Lt Rishi Ahluwalia the first and Tim Johnson the second, making it 1 goal apiece, resulting in the scoreboard showing 1 ½ : 1 in favour of the HAC Vets.
The second chukka saw both teams marking closely, Maj Johnston making good work of pinning down Johnson and frustrating his play. Despite many breaks, the opposing teams were quick to close things down in defence. It ended a goal less chukka and both teams giving pep talks on how to break down the other as the crowd trod in and enjoyed the sunshine.
Again the third chukka saw both teams have many good runs in an extremely open game but this time with more accuracy, closer to the goals which resulted in a number of close calls. The Hackett Army had a few near misses just wide of the posts and were unlucky not to have scored. The TJB HAC Vets had their own fair share of runs, none being quite as close to the goal posts. Lloyd Jones and Loxton-Edwards were ferociously marking Maj Johnston and Lt Ahluwalia in defence and Johnson and Bickerton were trying to exploit it accordingly, but the Hackett Army themselves were not relenting in defence either. Lloyd Jones managed to take on a run smartly hit up from Bickerton and was heading toward the goal when Maj Johnston bravely intercepted late, but too late and fully collided, giving away another 30 yard penalty. Johnson and Bickerton debated who’d take it and Bickerton kindly offered the glory to Johnson who struck the ball softly but effectively… enough to see it go over the line. There was relief by the team and the captain… they all count! The TJB HAC Vets finished the chukka 2 ½ to the Army’s 1.
So all the TJB HAC Vets had to do was maintain discipline and mark closely in defence in the fourth chukka. Loxton-Edwards and Lloyd-Jones struggled at the start of the chukka with their ponies in defending against runs by Lt Ahluwalia. Bickerton took grip of the situation and singlehandedly rode Lt Ahluwalia into the boards, preventing a likely goal. Lloyd Jones and Loxton-Edwards then managed to stay glued to Maj Johnston and Lt Ahluwalia, but both Maj Morgan and Capt Von Barloewen (both good strikers of the ball) were given space and between them had a great run that resulted in an easy goal nicely struck by Maj Morgan. The Army were now just ½ point adrift. With just a minute on the clock the Hackett Army team had a great run and despite close marking by the HAC Vets, it resulted in a beautifully drilled shot by Lt Ahluwalia which ricocheted off Loxton-Edwards… The TJB HAC Vets were hoping this deflection would push the ball wide but it sailed through the centre of the goal posts. This gave the Army team the lead. A late charge by both Bickerton and Johnson saw a last chance at clawing the chukka back for the TJB HAC Vets, but the damage was done and time had run out. The final score was 2 ½ : 3 in favour of the Hackett Army.
The Hackett Army team were ultimately better disciplined, more consistent and better structured as a team and probably deserved the narrow win. The TJB HAC Vets had moments of flare but didn’t keep a consistent structure in defence and a weak 4th chukka which cost them the match. Loxton-Edwards had a few good runs but overall an uncharacteristically quiet game, perhaps lacking a bit of pony power. Johnson led from the front, scoring on penalties and directing the team and at one stage in what can only be described as showboating, tapped the ball 3 times in the air mid play! Bickerton showed moments of brilliance both in attack and defence but sadly couldn’t convert it into goals. Maj Morgan and Capt von Barloewen were both consistently hitting and riding off and gave great depth to the Hackett Army team, meaning no player could be left alone. Maj Johnston was brilliant at harassing Johnson but player of the match had to go to Lt Ahluwalia who had an all-round great game and scored a blinder in the decisive winning goal.
With the military matches over final match saw The Royal Horse Guards play Kowloon in a Hong Kong Society related match.
Prizes were awarded thanks to the generous support of Hendricks Gin and the after party brisquely got under way.
With this year's Captains and Subalterns falling on a HAC regimental training weekend our Active Unit players found themselves changing between their MTP and their polo whites to cover off two military commitments.Read More
In scorching temperatures, suitable only for mad dogs and Englishmen, last weekend saw both in action when the TJB HAC Veterans Polo team played the Grenadier Guards Veterans in their sixth annual encounter at Carlito’s Polo club, Berkshire.
The HAC team comprised Cy Lloyd Jones, Marcos Vivian, Tim Johnson and Julian Bickerton making his Veterans debut. The Guards team comprised Howard Flood, Robert Adams and two debutants Martin Young and Dominic Cunningham.
The match started with gusto as each side took the measure of their opponents and the HAC took an early lead through Julian Bickerton. The Guards fought back and nearly equalised but for outstanding bravery from Cy Lloyds who heroically did not get out the way of a penalty shot in time and was struck a nasty blow on the hand. Despite suffering a broken hand, he stoically carried on regardless for the rest of the match.
The second chukka saw a fight back from the Guards who struck twice to take the lead 2-1 at half time. Cy Lloyd Jones hand had swelled to an impressive size and to add insult to injury the HAC supporters realised they had been drinking non-alcoholic gin with their Merchant Heart tonics.
Resilience in adversity is the mark of the HAC who rallied in the third chukka with Tim Johnson stepping up to the mark with some thrusting play and the HAC supporters back on the proper stuff. Great playmaking by Marcos Vivian allowed both Tim Johnson and Julian Bickerton to score and the HAC ended the third chukka ahead 3-2.
The final chukka was a battle against the heat with all the players digging deep to give nothing away. The Guards mounted repeated attacks and only a couple of near misses and valiant defending allowed the HAC to end victorious 3-2.
A fantastic prize giving and asado followed the match for both players and supporters who relaxed in the summer weather with the calm occasionally punctuated by HAC and Guards dogs having a fight with each other.
Match Report - Royal Artillery Cup 29th May 2017 at Tidworth Polo Club
Over the Bank Holiday weekend the HAC Regimental Polo team - TJB HAC Arras - traveled to Tidworth Polo Club to take part in the Royal Artillery Cup. As the first tournament of the season it was always going to have that extra trepidation. Nerves weren't helped by a last minute "promotion" from Division III (which we were defending the title of) to Division II. And so we arrived expecting an even tougher set of opposition than originally expected. Division II, apart from the HAC, included The Royal Lancers, The Welsh Guards and RAF Brize Norton team.
We drew the RAF in the first match on an overcast Tattoo ground. Since our last encounter, the RAF had unfortunately lost their stalwart and playmaker, Flt Lt Dave Black to an injury during the week. Their misfortune was to be our good fortune. The HAC took control of the game early on and despite the valiant efforts of the RAF, the HAC were always ahead. They pressed hard and were able to draw a number of penalties from the play. Mention must go to Tpr Merlin Stewart who with guile and determination defended a spot penalty a mere 6 foot from the goal and denied the RAF a conciliatory score.
Having won against the RAF we went through to the final against the Royal Lancers. The Royal Lancers were the clear favourites having shown great form in their earlier match against the Welsh Guards. The power and consistency of their No 4, Capt Hugh Richardson was of particular concern.
The cavalrymen were, as ever, strong in attack with Captain Arthur Purbeck taking particular joy from the energetic ride offs. The Lancers were often seen forging ahead with great dash and seemed to always have a man in support. The HAC defended with steadfastness and thus the Lancers struggled to convert these early attacking charges. Furthermore, they were taken aback when a back hand and swift HAC counter produced the first goal. HAC were ahead 1.5 to 0 at half time.
The second half was tense. The Lancers kept the pressure up and one of their high speed attacks was eventually successful as Capt Hugh Richardson played a neck shot from 40 yards and scored a remarkable goal which went in with hairs breadth but a perfectly stolen goal. The HAC - after some authoritative coaching advice from HAC Polo President Col Geoffrey Godbold OBE TD DL who had to manger his palpitations from the sideline - maintained composure, fought back and started to show increasing consistency in both attack and defence. Of note was some sterling marking by Lt Nick Clark-Majerus who was determined not to let a Lancer charge go unchallenged and unharassed. Lt Gearoid O'Connor had a strong game and backed up particularly well. It seems his repeated trips to play Polo in KwaZulu-Natal have finally borne fruit. This backing up in the mid field provided the HAC with a second goal and provided a memorable 2.5 to 1 win.
Upon collecting the Trophy for Division II - a 1932 solid silver affair with some notable names of distinction - we had no regrets at having been bumped up. Ironically it was to be Col. Godbold himself who handed us our prize. The matches were enjoyed by all teams and all sides played with good spirits.
We would like to thank the team at Tidworth Polo Club and Colonel Simon Ledger for making us so welcome and for putting on such a splendid tournament. The TJB HAC team was also fortunate to be exceptionally well mounted by Dorset Polo Club and not a single player had anything but praise to say of the ponies and the grooms. Our sincerest thanks!
Onwards to further glory.... Our next scheduled tournament is the Captains & Subalterns after the HAC Regiment returns from Exercise VAMBRACE SABER in the United States.
The TJB HAC 105 Polo Invitational
- at Ham Polo Club in Richmond on Saturday - 10th September 2016
The sixth HAC 105 Polo Invitational is fast approaching, the event is set to be bigger than ever with an action-packed day of polo matches with a blend of military music and displays suitable for all the family. This year will also see a high goal match between a 12 goal Team drawn from India Sherdils (Lionheart) and a 12 Goal Team Swordpoint. So high goal polo will be a treat for all.
Now in its sixth year, the event is set to be bigger than ever with an action-packed day of polo matches with a blend of military music and displays suitable for all the family. This year our legendary after-party will be held on-site in the club house till the small hours!
SAVE WITH ONLINE TICKETS - BUY TICKETS HERE!
Adults: £10 (online), £15 (on the day) Children: £5 (under 5’s go free) Car pass: £20 (online), £25 (on the day) After-party: £20 (online), £25 (on the day - subject to availability)
VIP Entry to ground, clubhouse and 5 course lunch and after party: £150 per person (online price). Please note the maximum capacity for the VIP lunch is 144 people.
Sales of VIP with lunch close on Wednesday 7th September at midday!
Programme of events:
11:00 Gates Open to public 11:30 Match 1 – HAC B Vs WELSH GUARDS 12:00 HAC Lunch (Clubhouse) 12:40 HAC Band (Marching display) 13:00 Match 2 - HAC A Vs KINGS ROYAL HUSSARS 14:00 HAC Light Cavalry Display & Tent Pegging 14:30 Match 3 - Saragarhi Cup – Lionheart (Sherdils) Vs Swordpoint (24 goals combined) 16:00 A Tent Pegging display & Bhangra dancing 16:00 Afternoon Tea (Saragarhi) Upper Decking 17:00 Prize Giving 17:15 Close of Polo event 17:30 Onsite after party with DJ’s and bars 00:00 Carriages
TRANSPORT The Nearest Tube and Train Station to Ham Polo Club is Richmond. To get to the club from there by Taxi takes 5 minutes, alternatively the Number 65 bus stops outside the club gates. Walking along the river from Richmond takes 25 minutes.
DRESS CODE (Clubhouse):
Smart Casual NO SHORTS - Male or Female allowed, designer or otherwise. Smart jeans permitted.
DRESS CODE (Grounds):
No dress code.
In a solid return to the 2016 season the HAC Regimental team win their division today at the Royal Artillery Cup defeating AGC (6-0) and Welsh Guards in the final (6-1). First event of the season. A good way to start it. The Royal Artillery Cup continues to be a seminal event in the military polo season and has grown in stature and reputation over the last few years.
The team consisted of:
- Maj Terry Warburton (-2)
- Lt Nic Clark-Majerus (-2)
- Tpr Merlin Stewart (-2)
- Lt Gearoid O'Connor (-2)
The HAC Polo Committee is pleased to announce that the 2014 HAC Polo Scholarship has been awarded to Tpr John Small. Tpr Small took up polo in 2013 having passed the HAC recruits course. He has gone on to play in the HAC team at competitions such as RAF Cranwell in May 2014 and the AGC Cup in August 2014. The HAC Polo Scholarship
In 2012 the then departing Regimental Surgeon Major of the Honourable Artillery Company - Capt Ben Loxton-Edwards - offered to sponsor an annual polo scholarship.
I was fortunate to start playing Polo at the HAC and loved every minute of it. I set up this small scholarship to encourage young players. - Capt Loxton-Edwards
The Scholarship of £400 is provided to a member of the active unit who has shown dedication and selfless commitment to learning and improving their standard of play in the sport of polo. The funding is to help subsidise training to improve the players game. While players must ultimately pay to play HAC regimental players are fortunate enough to have their competitive play supported and subsidised by the generous support of the Commanding Officer.
It is through such support that polo continues to flourish at the HAC.
Previous Scholarship recipients
2013: Tpr Hayward-Hughes
2012: LCpl Langan
On the 6th of July 2014 The Royal Military Academy Sandhurst played host to three matches – the first was The HAC Saddle Club vs RMAS , the second was The HAC Saddle Club vs RMAS  and the final match was The HAC Regiment vs Fleet Air Arm. Consummate commentary on the day was provided by Lt Colonel Simon Ledger, Director of Army Polo.
Having been narrowly beaten out the previous week by the mighty Army Polo Team at Dallas Burston Polo Club, the HAC were fired up and determined to get this win on the board. The excitement was palpable and the weather couldn’t have been better – bright sunshine and a gentle breeze.
HAC vs Fleet Air Arm
1 Tpr Cain Hayward-Hughes -2 2 L/Cpl Dale Langan -2 3 C/Sgt Tim Johnson 0 4 Capt Cy Lloyd-Jones -2
Fleet Air Arm
1 Lt Tom Burrows -2 2 Lt Bob Santrian -1 3 Surg Cdr Mike Bowen -1 4 L/Cpl Max Kamper 0
The HAC commenced the match a goal and a half ahead on account of the Fleet Air Arm fielding a -4 goal team. Not allowing the handicap to breed complacency the HAC fought hard and secured an early goal. The team pulled together as a unit and executed some solid set pieces. The Fleet Air Arm team battled back and marked their men closely, when one HAC pony moved a Fleet Air Arm pony was right on its tail.
C/Sgt Tim Johnson took charge and led the attack smashing a cracking back-hander to open the first chukka. This allowed Capt Cy Lloyd-Jones to knock up for L/Cpl Dale Langan to further press the ball home for C/Sgt Tim Johnson to make a courageous play – alas just wide of the mark. The next play was better with an early goal to the HAC. With only seconds remaining the Fleet mounted a fierce last ditch press for glory – a goal and the first chukka was over.
The second chukka started at pace with a foul given to The HAC. Narrowly missing the goal, play quickly moved on with the Fleet Air Arm playing some hard ride-offs to bring the fight back against the HAC. Tpr Hayward-Hughes dismounting in a robust ride-off against Lt Tom Burrows provided tense excitement for the crowd. Bruised but not broken he was quickly back on and back in the game. Capt Cy Lloyd-Jones flicked a wide tail shot and reversed the chukka into the favour of The HAC and lay-up for a quick drive towards the goal… a foul from the HAC switched the advantage and the Fleet Air Arm took the uncontested shot at the HAC goal mouth - it looked to be going wide – a mistaken tap by C/Sgt Tim Johnson ensured it was not.
Earlier delays in pony transport meant there was no time for Pimms and it was straight into the third chukka. The partnership of Lt Bob Santrian and L/Cpl Max Kamper made for formidable opposition but Capt Cy Lloyd-Jones and L/Cpl Dale Langan were up for the challenge. L/Cpl Dale Langan broke away with clean hits to goal to put another point on the board. FC/Sgt Tim Johnson took the ball long and Tpr Cain Hayward-Hughes closed down Lt Tom Burrows. Another goal to the HAC.
Moving into the final chukka with everything still to play for, the anticipation, excitement and hunger for victory was etched in to each and every players face. The HAC took an early goal and settled into its rhythm playing a more defensive game. Shouts of ‘Come on HAC!’ spurred the team forward with some solid marking, riding off the Fleet Air Arm at every opportunity. The Fleet Air Arm responded in kind and breaking away, they galloped clear and went straight for goal to bring the score to 5.5 - 3
With the bell signalling game over, the final score was HAC 6 1/2 - Fleet Air Arm 3
Come See what we're all about...
Come and visit the Honourable Artillery Company (HAC), see what we do and have a great evening. The event will see units from across all three services present so if you want to meet units in the Army, Navy or RAF then get along.
When: 17:30-20:00 Tuesday 13 May 2014.
• Meet both regular and reserve units from across the British military • Climb aboard a Chinook helicopter • Parachute drop into the Artillery Garden by the RAF Falcons • Apache helicopter simulator
• Display by the HAC Pikemen and Musketeers • Displays by the HAC Light Cavalry • Displays by the HAC Band and Corps of Drums • See inside the historic Armoury House including the acclaimed museum • Music, bars and FREE BBQ
See how many enjoy the challenge of military life alongside their civilian career.
The Honourable Artillery Company is a regiment of 400+ men and women who volunteer to use some of their spare time from their civilian lives to train as part of the Army Reserve.
Soldiers from the HAC frequently deploy on operations such as the Balkans, Iraq and Afghanistan in support of the Regular Army. The Regiment also has a unique ceremonial role providing Guards of Honour at the Guildhall and Gun Salutes at the Tower of London.
HAC Polo is pleased to announce that the Commanding Officer of the Honourable Artillery Company - Lt.Col Doherty - has approved the date for the 2014 HAC polo flagship event - better known as "The 105". This years event will be held at Ham Polo Club, Richmond on Saturday 6th September. 2013 was the biggest and best yet with 1700 people in attendance with many staying on to enjoy the Raffles After-party with DJ Seb Fontain. 2014 plans are already underway and it promises to be the best yet.
So make sure you mark your diary early and start to gather your friends and family.
Bank Holiday Monday. Sun soaked Tidworth Polo Club. Four brave men of The Honourable Artillery Company. The stage was set… The sixth annual AGC Polo Cup was held in the beautiful grounds of Tidworth Polo Club and saw #4 Sgt Tim Johnson (0), #3 Capt Ben Loxton Edwards (-2), #2 Cpl Dale Langan (-2) and #1 Tpr Cain Hayward-Hughes (-2) take to the field.
Having been narrowly beaten out the previous year by the mighty Royal Navy Team, the HAC were positively charged with the glory of keeping their season’s undefeated winning streak alive. The excitement was palpable.
The weather couldn’t have been better – bright sunshine and a gentle breeze. With three big games to play the HAC were first pitched against The Royal Air Force.
The HAC started a goal behind on account of Sgt Johnson being so darn good at polo. They fought hard and secured an early lead. The team pulled together as a unit and executed some spectacular set pieces. The RAF team battled back and marked their men closely, when one HAC horse moved an RAF horse was right on its tail. Cpt Loxton Edwards smashed a cracking back-hander to further press home the HAC advantage and with only seconds remaining the RAF mounted a fierce last ditch press for glory - alas the gods were not in their favour with a number of their shots sliding narrowly wide and the HAC came out the victors.
A quick debrief, team talk, squirt of water and pony change – the HAC were again mounted and back on the field.
Facing the Royal Logistics Corps the HAC had no time to warm up their ponies. For one Tpr this was a problem. The game started quickly with Sgt Johnson scoring two quick goals. The RLC pieced together some hard ride-offs to bring the fight against the HAC. Tpr Hayward-Hughes struggled to control his pony coming out of a gallop and found himself staring up at the hind-legs. Bruised but not broken he was quickly back on and back in the game. Capt Loxton Edwards headed a high ball to keep the line and lay-up for a quick drive towards the goal.
The minutes flew by and the HAC were again victorious. A hard won game indeed. We were in the final.
Glad of a three chukka respite the HAC team loaded up on scones, ginger beer and hearty back slaps. The clock seemed to tick at a record pace and the team was again mounted. The HAC were to face The Royal Artillery in a two chukka showdown.
An experienced team the RA boasted a Col, two Capt and a 2Lt. A -7 team. This would be close. Sgt Johnson rallied his troops at the line-up. HAC supporters cheered on at the sides. Dogs chased errant polo balls.
The anticipation, excitement and hunger for victory was etched in to each and every players face.
A quick ball in from the umpire and the game took off at break neck speed. Sgt Johnson gaining the advantage over his opposite Capt, Cpl Langan riding off the 2Lt, Cpt Loxton Edwards marking his Cpt and Tpr Hayward-Hughes bringing up the rear knee-to-knee with the Col. The opening gambit was intense.
The HAC took an early goal and settled into its rhythm. Shouts of ‘Come on HAC!’ spurred the team forward. Moving as one the HAC drew out the RA and rode them off at every opportunity. The RA responded in kind. Breaking away, they galloped clear and went straight for goal.
The powerful combination of Capt Loxton Edwards and Cpl Langan saw the line of play reverse. The HAC were pressing for the lead. A lay-up to Sgt Johnson. A chance of goal. Just wide.
Undeterred the HAC gathered themselves. The dying minutes of the first chukka of the final. Everything to play for. A sprint from Sgt. Johnson. A goal!
A whistle. The final chukka. Victory was firmly in our sights.
The RA gave no quarter. No man left unflanked. The riding was hard. The ball quick. The HAC gunning for silverware. The 7 ½ minutes went in the blink of an eye. Ponies charging up and down the length of the field. Long plays, set pieces, lay-ups. Everything was thrown in to the mix. Both teams fought valiantly.
A lone bell rang out across the grass and it was game over: Final score HAC 3 - RA 0.5
To the victors – the spoils. A Cup and an undefeated winning season. The 105 Cup now looms large on the horizon...
With special thanks to Capt Janet Johnson and Capt Mariane Van Straaten for organizing a brilliant day and tournament.
The 2013 polo training camp saw the HAC return once more to Rugby Polo Club in Northamptonshire. Phil Baker re-established Rugby Polo Club in 2000 and was our coach for the weekend; he had previously played Pony Club polo with Tpr Luke Hartley, although there was some confusion over this fact due to the more advanced hair style that Tpr Hartley has taken to wearing of late. For three members of the team the day started on the nose of 1000 on Monday morning; regrettably, the talismanic figure of Sgt Tim Johnson was absent for much of the first session after being held up between his house in Clapham and the M1 motorway by the unexpected presence of London. Not one to be put off easily he pushed on, arriving midway through the first stick and ball of the day. While Phil admired some of the more idiosyncratic elements of the HAC style he felt that a focus on timing and smooth strokes would be beneficial, and after working us through a number of exercises we were all hitting the ball with improved fluency. LCpl Gearoid O'Connor was particularly impressive that afternoon, consuming twice the number of lunches that anyone else managed over the course of the day. Phil very kindly invited us to join club members at the leaving BBQ for Katie, a Rugby Polo Club groom who has looked after the HAC during a number of matches in the past. After some excellent food and a few drinks we retired back to the Toft House bed and breakfast so as to be well rested for the following day's play.
Fortunately the weather held and we were greeted once more with brilliant sunshine. Sgt Tim Johnson surprised everyone at breakfast by espousing his theories on the socio-economic benefits associated with increased Romanian immigration. After digesting this information the team mounted up to focus on tactical match play and positioning, both during open play and in set pieces. This developed into a practise match in which we attempted to execute everything we had been taught over the previous two days, no easy feat given the depth of content that Phil had covered.
A huge thanks to Rugby Polo Club and to Phil Baker for an excellent two days of polo. We all thoroughly enjoyed it and look forward to coming back to Rugby Polo Club again soon.
It was a sweltering day with the mercury hitting 32 degrees as these two familiar teams lined up at Fifield Polo Club, Windsor. The crowd sought shelter under gazebos armed with iced Pimms ready to watch battle commence. Starting as underdogs with a half point handicap, IG HAC quickly gained possession and charged down the Royal Artillery team's goal. A 30 yard penalty followed which LCpl Ben De Rivaz slotted home with his usual calm finishing. Back to the centre and this time it was the RA's turn. A quick pick up and long shot up the pitch left the HAC team in their wake as the RA knocked home their response within one minute. The game found its pace now as some excellent paired marking went end-to-end. Finally a long shot up the pitch from Tpr Luke Hartley found LCpl O'Connor who smoothly picked it up from 60 yards out and drove it through the centre of the goal with a delightful lofted finish to close the chukka at 2.5 goals to 1.
The HAC had their tails up now and the second chukka started with a 60 yard penalty. Again De Rivaz calmly wound up to put it in to make the score 3.5 goals to 1. The RA were far from beaten though as they responded aggressively. Some excellent riding off left two of the HAC standing as they closed the gap to 3.5 to 2. A cheeky pass to the centre from Tpr Clark on his HAC debut found O'Connor and with some frantic goal mouth chipping he kept his head well and completed to give the HAC a comfortable 4.5 to 2 lead going into half-time. The pause was a welcome relief as iced drinks were quaffed and ponies sprayed down in the sweltering heat.
The HAC seemed to lose a little form in the third chukka with the Royal Artillery team punishing them as wave after wave of attacks on the goal were seen off by the relentless backhands of Hartley and De Rivaz. Eventually a chink in the armour was found and well deserved goal from the RA put them within striking distance for the final chukka. 4.5 goals to 3.
Weary ponies and players rode out and soon found their final push as some nail biting end-to-end plays unfolded in flat a gallop. Both teams threw everything they had at it with a skilfully finished goal for De Rivaz completing his hat-trick for the day, followed shortly with a response from the RA. As the final chukka bell rang out, IG HAC rode in victorious as holders of the Sabre Cup for 2013.
Final score: IG HAC 5.5 - Royal Artillery 4
HAC Polo is delighted to announce that Grant's Whisky have agreed to be HAC Polo's Gold sponsor for the 2013 season. The deal which had been agreed in principal in March was approved by the HAC Court of Assistants on the 25th of June 2013. It involves a significant four figure sum plus product. The main facets of the deal will see the shirts carry the new Grant's Whisky logo on all regimental squad shirts and jackets. It also involves product for the use as prizes at HAC Polo hosted events as well as presence on promotional material such as the match program for the IG HAC Polo Cup on Saturday 31 August 2013.
HAC Polo would like to thank Grant's Whisky for their confidence and support and look forward to a long and fruitful relationship. We would also like to thank Col Simon Ledger, Col Simon Goldstein and Maj Goodinson for their assistance in ensuring this agreement was signed.
The inaugural IG HAC Veterans v Royal Artillery Polo match took place at Kirtlington Park Polo Club on Saturday 22nd June. The -5 HAC line-up was as follows: 1) Ben Loxton-Edwards 2) Justin Roberts/Stuart Atkinson 3) Marcus Vivian de La Pendrosa 4) Mark Selway
On arrival the Gunners were a little surprised to see Selway's (ex 1SQN) limousine parked next to the Club house.
For a moment, they wondered if they had stumbled across the Serbian mafia. They were reassured by the realisation that limos are standard issue at the HAC.
The exuberant and partisan crowd delighted in the opening salvos as IG HAC V got off to a flying start. Selway weaved through the hapless Gunners to score within the first 30 seconds.
Two more goals followed in quick succession. IG HAC V were on the rampage and seemingly unstoppable. By the close of the 1st chukka HAC V were leading 3 goals to 0.
A valiant fight back by the unfazed and experienced RA team saw them claw back two goals in the 2nd chukka. HAC V responded and then it was neck and neck through the 3rd chukka.
Marcos Vivian de La Pendrosa (ex HQ) stayed on his horse for the whole of the 3rd chukka. He even displayed some of the old panache with a brilliant individual effort. Unfortunately his final shot missed the goal by an inch.
As the match drew to a close the RA started to show more consistency and their attacks gathered momentum. For a brief and horrifying moment the RA went ahead 5 goals to 4.
A penalty saw HAC V equalise at 5:5 and the final whistle went.
A fierce match had been fought leaving honours even.
We would like to thank Pete Fewster and Jen Liggins from KPPC who supported us in hosting the match.
The annual match for the prestigious William IV Cup was the HAC’s first visit to the wonderful facilities at Dallas Burston near Leamington Spa. This was an exhibition match as part of a Ladies Day Charity fundraising event in aid of cancer. As ever the HAC took on their great rivals the Grenadier Guards in what has historically been one of the most eagerly awaited confrontations in the army polo calendar. To face a rather formidable looking Grenadier team on paper the HAC brought out its big guns, Sgt Tim Johnson (0) and the slightly smaller but no less effective Cpl Ben de Rivaz (0) and joined by the reliable duo of Cpl Gearoid O’Connor (-2) and LSgt Alasdair Grant (-2). The HAC started with a 1.5 goal handicap lead and fought ferociously to keep ahead. Ben de Rivaz seemed to have more luck with his penalties than the Grenadiers who seemed to have some trouble aiming between the posts perhaps the forceful Westerly blowing was a factor. In fact Ben’s only missed penalty was an incredible goal saved from fellow teammate Alasdair Grant. Solid play from Maj Ben Marshall and Lt. Col Howard Flood helped and break a number of HAC attacks. With initial dominance going towards the HAC team the Grenadiers soon settled into the game and clawed back to within a half goal margin. This put the HAC under some pressure and fouls were conceded but thankfully none too near the goal mouth to punish teh HAC too dearly.
This was very much a fight to the death with no shortage of incidents including; stirrups coming off, broken mallets (Both Sgt Johnson and Captain Kuku managed to decapitated their mallets during play) and Captain Kuku’s incredible rugby tackle of his own goal post was a manouevre not often seen. However after yet another goal by young de Rivaz, LSgt Grant decided there was time for a short lie down in the middle of the pitch to catch a breath before the final push. With most of the HAC team oblivious to how close the match really was due to some interesting scoreboard antics, they managed to hold onto the lead to the end for a great HAC victory 4.5 goals to 4!
The weekend saw the newly created HAC Veterans team play their first ever match against the Grenadier Guards Veterans. Playing against an experienced -3 handicap Guards team were no.1 Ben Loxton-Edwards (-2), no.2 Justin Roberts (-2), no.3 Stuart Atkinson (-2) and no.4 Marcos Vivian (-1).
The glorious British summer was in full force with driving rain up to 30 minutes before the start of the match as the HAC team agreed a defensive strategy against the strong Guards team. Justin Roberts playing in his first ever match seemed more perturbed by how much his new helmet had cost him.
The weather gods relented and the match commenced in fine sunshine with a 2.5 goal handicap advantage to the HAC. The first two chukkas were a closely fought affair with the HAC defensive strategy preventing any score by the Guards team.
The third chukka saw the experience of the Guards team come to the fore and the Guards made the breakthrough with some well taken penalties by Nick Swift and strong play to score 3 goals.
The final chukka saw 2 further goals for the Guards against some valiant defending from the HAC to end the match with the final score HAC V 2.5 - Grenadier Guards V 5.
Thanks must go to Kim and her team at Carlitos Polo club for a fabulous Argentinian barbecue after the match for the players and their guests.