The main competitive fixture of the season for the regimental remains the Army Polo Associations Captains & Subalterns tournament hosted every third weekend of July at the home of Army Polo - Tidworth Polo Club. Having had a successful South Africa Polo Trip HAC Polo was keen to give its new blood an opportunity to field in its own right with the Revival of the TJB HAC (Bullecourt) team as well as the first team of TJB HAC (Arras). Arras & Bullecourt not only represent hard won battle honours for the regiment but conveniently indicate our A & B teams in the squad!
Unfortunately the dry sunny weather while a godsend for keeping the tan near Love Island levels of bronze is not good for polo. One can have too much of a good thing and this manifested in very hard polo grounds across the UK leading to wary pony hirers. Quiet rightly pony welfare must come first. This resulted in a shortage of hirelings and consequently the decision was taken to ensure equanimity that regiments could only enter one team each. Also the higher divisions were restricted to three chukka matches. The HAC was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to play in full four chukka matches.
So on Saturday 21st July the TJB HAC (Arras) team fielded consisting of:
1. LCpl Phillips (-2)
2. Tpr Cassidy (-2)
3. Lt Clark-Majerus (-2)
4. Lt G O'Connor (-1) / Brig S Goldstein (-1) on Sunday.
The team was drawn in division 4 along with the Royal Artillery, Royal Dragoon Guards and the Household Cavalry Regiment.
Saturday - RA (4) Vs TJB HAC (3)
Having watched the RDG decimate the HCR (8:3) in the first match the HAC knew it would be a crucial match to dispatch the RA in order to secure a solid chance of matching a strong RDG team. The HAC began quickly with a break from the throw in and scored a goal in the first minute of the match. The RA responded within minutes and leveled the score after a careless moment gave them a penalty to bring them back level. With the second chukka underway the HAC managed to once again take the lead with a stunning goal from Lt Clark-Majerus with a tight angled neck shot. Such was the acute angle that Col Winchster admitted he checked up thinking there was no danger from the attack at that stage. Unfortunatly for him he had to watch the ball spirit between the posts from 50 yds. The Royal Artillery responded with a break in possession from an ever dangerous Maj Rob Skeggs and his unflappable break from the throw in saw the ball carried comfortably between the goals. The RA were level again. The third chukka saw the HAC once again take the lead this time with Lt Clark-Majerus managing to ensure the ball went between the posts before he cleanly crashed into it and leveled it to the ground. Throughout the game the powerhouse of Col Winchester and Maj Skeggs who alternated kept the RA in attacking format and it began to pay off. The RA equalised with another penalty shot. The sides were level as the fourth chukka commenced and the umpire Miles Underwood clarified that the match must produce a result. If tied at the end there would be penalties. The fourth chukka saw both teams battle to secure the clincher and quickly have great bouts of open play the RA broke a HAC attack with a deft backhand and a run to and through the goal. They were now ahead and the clock was ticking. A further attack by the RA was broken by the HAC defence and sensing the clock was ticking the attack was launched down field. But alas the ball had only passed the midfield when the bell sealed the result. HAC 3, RA 4.
Sunday - HCR (3.5) - TJB HAC (5)
After a tight game against the RA the HAC came up against the HCR on Sunday. This was a totally different team (Save for Maj Ed Mackey) and surface (sand versus grass) compared to the HCR Vs HAC match of the previosu Saturday at the Sandpolo Brigadier Goldstein stepped in to replace Lt O’Connor - who had to depart these shores for work - and together with Lt Clark-Majerus controlled the game keeping possession and distributing effectively from 3 and 4. Their experience helped the HAC to establish an early lead which the HCR fought hard to pull back in the second chukka. Through good defence and some good fortune the HAC weathered the storm and extended their lead in the third chukka. The final chukka became increasingly scrappy but no less hard-fought as the HCR tried to narrow the gap but by the time the final horn went the HAC had managed to secure a good victory over the HCR.
Overall the HAC team which had not played competitively as the four who fielded did well to acquit itself in some fantastically hard fought and open polo.
*The HAC (Bullecourt) team will hopefully get to field on the August