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.
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.
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)
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
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.
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
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.
The Bank Holiday weekend presented an exciting opportunity for HAC Bullecourt stalwart Cpl Dale Langan to play for the Hackett Army Polo Team. Playing in Sunday's final match of the Cholderton Cup against the Royal Navy, Cpl Langan (-2) took up the #2 mantle and joined #1 Capt Dan Von Barloewen (-2), #3 Capt Robert Freeman-Kerr (1) and #4 Maj Matt Eyre-Brook (1).
The match commenced in glorious sunshine with a 0.5 goal handicap advantage to the Navy and was a closely fought affair. The Army team quickly took the lead with an early goal but were reined in by some tenacious play by the Navy. Both sides found the unique Tidworth rule a challenge - i.e. plus handicap players were not allowed to score if their team had the goal advantage.
The final minutes of the match found the Hackett Army Polo team once again in the lead at 3 goals to 2.5. However, a foul by the Army in the closing seconds of the match presented the Navy with a final chance at goal. With a penalty 4 given, the ball was set up 60 yards from the goal. Both teams positioned their players in anticipation of the strike but the Army found victory snatched from them as the lofted shot cleared their heads and dropped in to the goal.
Cpl Langan said,
"it was an honour to represent the Hackett Army Polo Team and especially playing against the Navy. Special thanks must go to Jax and her team for providing ponies for the match."
Final score: Royal Navy 3.5 - Hackett Army 3
The 2013 polo season is finally underway and the IG HAC team took on a number of teams in what is now hopefully an annual fixture for the HAC. The RAF tournament has been an excellent way to shake off the winter cob webs and this year was no exception. The IG HAC team fielded were:
1. Col. Simon Goldstein (-2) 2. LSgt Alasdair Grant (-2) 3. Lt Christian Roberts (-1) 4. LCpl Gearoid O'Connor (-2)
IG HAC (1 .5) Vs (2) Hackett Army
Saturday afternoon saw the first of the IG HAC's matches against a Hackett Army development team fresh back from a three week polo camp in South America. The match was played in fantastic good humour and competitiveness. Despite the lack of previous play together the HAC held off the Army and disrupted their play. The first chukka saw the team grow in confidence but marking remained loose. This loose marking led to the Army development team take the to half a goal somewhat exasperatingly when a good defensive interception saw the ball unluckily come off a HAC ponies hoof and slide through the goals. LSgt Grant then recaptured the lead for the IG HAC when the team broke down the right hand side and LSgt Grant was able to slice a neck shot at a tight angle from 6oyds. The second chukka saw our Col Goldstein's pony get a tad excited and a swift swipe of its head connecting with the Colonels face saw an unauthorised dismount and blood on the grass. A quick substitution for the final two minutes saw the HAC cling narrowly to a lead of half a goal. This would be stolen in the cruellest of fashions when the ball was intercepted and the army development team broke for the HAC's goal. With just 2 seconds to spare from the full time buzzer the Army snatched victory from defeat.
IG HAC (1.5) Vs (8) Rutland
The IG HAC team then faced its stiffest challenge. Rutland were winners of the tournament in the previous two years and were aiming to complete a triple. With a generous handicapping they were a formidable team. Despite one of the largest defeats in IG HAC's history the team actually managed to mark reasonably well and disrupt the Rutland attacks. Lt Christian Roberts helped launch a number of breaks although one may have been momentarily in the wrong direction it was impressive nonetheless. Where IG HAC fell foul was quiet literally on the fouling. The conceding of multiple spot penalties in front of goal were to cost the HAC dearly.
The Saturday evening saw a group of about 90 guests dine in College Hall. The HAC squad were joined by Col. Robert Murphy and Mrs Murphy for the black tie dinner, the Colonel having turned up earlier in the day to watch the HAC’s matches.
IG HAC (4.5) Vs (8) Army Reserves
The tale of conceding fouls was to continue apace in the Army Reserves match with Maj. Ben Marshall steadily converting a number of 30yd penalties to punish the HAC team. The first two chukkas saw the IG HAC settle into the match and despite a 5.5 goal difference going into the third chukka the IG HAC managed to close it to 2.5 in the space of three minutes with a penalty converted ably by Lt Christian Roberts and a break by LCpl O’Connor which saw a goal. The possibility of a comeback was momentarily considered and the pace of the match stepped up accordingly. The ride offs were aggressive but balanced. The game opened up and the cheers from the stalwart crowd encouraged the IG HAC on as the underdogs. Alas the IG HAC team dream of a comeback were dashed by a final goal from Maj. Marshall.
Our thanks to the newly fledged RAF Polo Club for hosting us we hope to return next year.
Now in its third year the IG Index HAC 105 has become firmly established on the military polo calendar. 2012 saw the weather smile on the day. Glorious sunshine and a mini heat wave set the scene for a fantastic day of polo and military spectacle at Ham Polo Club – It is only fitting that the British Army’s oldest regiment finds itself hosted at London’s oldest surviving polo club. With the club house lunch sold out, and over a thousand people in attendance the atmosphere was electric with anticipation. The day had an added impetus being one of the first events in the regiments 475th anniversary year. It was, as ever, in aid of a good cause – The HAC Benevolent Fund which assists active and veteran members of the HAC who need support in a time of need.
The HAC Band provided some pomp and spectacle to the occasion. Undeterred by the blistering weather the bearskins and tunics were donned and the picnickers who by now had settled into the day enjoyed their champagne and assorted treats with the accompaniment of a selection of music by one of the finest bands in the reserves. The Band itself celebrating its 250th anniversary.
IG index HAC Bullecourt Vs Army Reserves
The first match of the day saw the HAC’s Bullecourt team take on the Army Reserves Polo team. The Bullecourt team was captained by Lt Cy Lloyd Jones (-2) at no. 3. LCpl Langan (-2) played up front at no. 1. the regimental surgeon major Captain Loxton-Edwards Defence for the Bullecourt team was the responsibility of LSgt Grant (-2). The Army Reserves team fielded in their new shining white livery were led onto the field by their No 1. Col Goldstein (-2) ex HAC and head of Army Reserves Polo followed at No 2 by Capt Wright of the AGC (-2) with the team Captain Maj Morgan (-2) of the Wessex Yeomanry with Capt. (Retd) Stefan Mieczkowski (-2).
The match was stiffly fought from the throw in and the match quickly captivated the crowd. It’s not often a crowd cheers and groans along with the play but clearly the combination of sunshine and liquid starters had the crowd in an ebullient mood. Despite calm heads of the senior officers of the Army Reserves the HAC Bullecourt team clinched victory. A special mention must go to Capt Ben Loxton-Edwards for his goal scoring stampede.
IG Index Arras Vs Hackett Army
The main match of the day saw the familiar scarlet of the Hackett Army team grace the field alongside the Navy shirts of the HAC Arras team. While this was officially both sides first encounter against each other on the field some playful banter was exchanged with Maj Ben Marshall and 2Lt (ret'd) Nick Swift both having previously played for the Infantry at the inaugural 105 in 2010 which saw the newly christened trophy whisked away to Andover. Much to the chagrin of the hosts. All was to play for this year. They were joined on the Hackett Army team by Lt Doug White (QRH) and Capt Folarin Kuku ADC (Grenadier Guards). The HAC team seeking to defend the title was LCpl O'Connor at 1. LCpl de Rivaz at 2 and Sgt Tim Johnson at 3. ably supported at the back playing no. 4. Tpr Hartley.
The match commenced with the anticipated gusto and both sides quickly worked up a sweat for players and mounts alike. No quarter was asked for and none given. Goals were exchanged and the Army began to win valuable penalties from some sloppy adherence to the rules by a zealous HAC team. But the lead was to be clawed back and soon the HAC took the lead with a cracking lofting shot from half way that appeared to hang in teh air just to tease the crowds. When it sailed between the posts to give the HAC the lead the home crowd erupted and Sgt Johnson allowed himself an Argentine-like loop helicoptering his stick as he returned for the throw in. Ride off's must have appeared almost vicious to the crowd but anyone in ear shot would have shared the in the humourous and light hearted banter that opposing players had taken to remind themselves and one another that ultimately the day was actually about good polo and fun. This author has never heard a crowd so engaged and absorbed in polo matches in all the events that he has attended. Misses were met with exclamations from the crowd and counter attacks and turns could be heard reflected in the undulations of the crowds cheers and roars. The match came down to the final seconds of the final chukka and the narrowest of margins saw the HAC lose the coveted IG Index 105 Trophy by a 1/2 goal - yes there are such things as half goals in polo.
The HAC Light Cavalry provided some mid afternoon entertainment with a fine display of tent pegging and sabre work.
HAC Saddle Club Vs RAF
The final Match of the day saw the HAC Saddle Club take on the RAF. Again Lucy Bowman played well and together with the much revered and new recruit to the Saddle Club, the Hon. Georgiana Crofton, provided a steadying hand that was pivotal to securing victory. Lucy scored the first goal in 15 seconds of throw-in and the team won 7 goals to 4.
Prizes were presented by Regimental Colonel Robert Murphy and IG Index MD Tim Hughes.
The award for Bahamar Best pony was won by Pintano belonging to Flt Lt Ellie Hoogewarf and presented by Bahamar representative Ms Beth Dean. Best player was won by LCpl de Rivaz.
Our thanks to the Chairman of the Army Polo Association, Lieutenant Colonel Simon Ledger, who provided the commentary throughout the day.
It is not without some pride that the HAC endeavoured to take on two of the three services of the Defence Forces and gave a good account of itself. Let it never be said the HAC soldier is not an ambitious one.
But the day, for some at least was not even half way complete. The prize giving was followed swiftly by the gates of the clubhouse being opened to the general public and an open invite to attend the after party. The crowd was warmed up by Carl Joseph on the grand the baby grand piano. Who needs karaoke with a near bottomless ability to respond to any request from the floor and get the guests singing and dancing…. And it wasn’t even dark outside! With the champagne having sold out – what do you expect from a HAC led crowd – the white wines swiftly followed. But the party stepped up a notch with the DJ Crispin Dior taking to the decks. The DJ who provided the tunes for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding reception and indeed HRH Prince Williams twenty first unsurprisingly had the guests partying and dancing with gusto. It was a sign of the fun that word had spread and people were travelling across London on a Saturday night to join the party as late as eleven o’clock.
The true measure of the party can however be summed by one fact. When it wrapped up, the crowd formulated a plan and the HAC 105 after party…. had an after party at Beaufort House where players and supporters and just plain revellers danced the night away.
Missed out on the day? Then make sure you have Saturday 31st August 2013 in your diary!
The weekend of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee celebrations saw Tidworth play host to the Royal Artillery Cup on Monday 4th June. Despite the tumultuous weather over the Jubilee Pageant on the Thames, Brig Wright and his staff had ensured the Tattoo ground looked immaculate, however the softness of the pitch required a last minute change and a shift of the HAC gazebo onto the Fisher ground. The tournament saw four teams field to compete for the 1902 Royal Artillery Cup.
The first match of the tournament saw the Royal Artillery Blue take on the Army Reserves. Despite valiant efforts by Col Simon Goldstein to rally his men the discipline and familiarity of the RA Blue team saw them victorious.
HAC vs. Royal Artillery Red
The omens for the match were mixed as the HAC took to the field. While the HAC won the toss and selected the direction of play Lt Cy Lloyd Jones managed to create a large indelicately placed "air vent" in his trousers as he mounted his trusty steed. Luckily spectators were spared an unscheduled military display and Cy opted for more riding from the saddle then he may otherwise have practiced.
The game commenced with an initial breakout by the HAC but this was soon closed down by some quick defending from the RA Red. After some choppy play mid-field the game began to slowly open up with the HAC first to score with LCpl de Rivaz striking a solid hit from 60 yds in open play. The goals followed steadily from fouls conceded by the RA and deftly converted by LCpl de Rivaz until the HAC seemed to be home and dry with a solid 3-0 margin. But some confusion and some loose marking saw the Royal Artillery Red get back in the game shepherding the ball over the line. This RA salvo reminded the HAC that the team often dominated early phases of matches only to let the opposition back in the game in the later chukkas. This was not to happen on this occasion and the HAC rallied with some tight defence. A solid backhand from Tpr O'Connor launched a quick counter attack with solid riding off from Sgt Grant and Lt Lloyd Jones keeping the harassing players from LCpl de Rivaz, leaving him free to score a fourth goal.
HAC vs. Royal Artillery Blue
The final saw the winners of both earlier matches square off to see who would take home the Royal Artillery Cup itself. Both teams could sense the prize was within their grasp and began with gusto. The Royal Artillery won the line out only to be rapidly dispossessed and find themselves on the back foot of a rolling HAC assault. The HAC were quick to capitalize and score. Racing back for the lineout the HAC were determined to further assert themselves however the Royal Artillery were determined to deny them - particularly on what is now their home ground. Some fantastic phases of play ensued and ride-offs saw the ball change direction in a blizzard of back hands, quick turns, and tight defensive play. The HAC attacks, whilst not necessarily concluding in goals themselves, drew the RA Red into conceding penalties which were dually converted by LCpl de Rivaz and Lt Lloyd Jones. The HAC were by no means the dominant force as the RA ran up the field on a quick break to claw back a goal. A further attack lead by LCpl De Rivaz saw him denied by a hefty ride off, but the solid support from his no 4 - Tpr O'Connor - saw the dropped ball swept up and drilled home through the goal from an acute angle from near the boards.
The presentation saw Col Simon Ledger introduce Col Dickie Winchester – Garrison Commander of the Royal School of Artillery - to present the prizes. Col Winchester confessed that as a gunner he was disappointed to see the Royal Artillery Cup, which has been won successively by the Royal Artillery themselves for the last three years, go to another regiment. He was however somewhat satisfied to see it was the HAC as he himself is a proud member of the organization having been its Training Major in the past.
HAC team (L-R): Lt Lloyd Jones (1) - LCpl de Rivaz (3) - LSgt Grant (2) - Tpr O’Connor (4)
Few would have thought any match could be fielded on grass at this point of the season given the recent inclement weather. RAF Cranwell’s ground is blessed with a bounce and a drainage the envy of high goal patrons and so the HAC Polo season was kick started at the Martyn Bebbington Memorial Trophy. The Friday evening saw players arrive and enjoy drinks in the drawing room of Leadenham House as guests of the Reeve family.
The IG Index HAC Team consisted of (L-R) : 1. Tpr Jon Roberts (S) 2. LCpl Dale Langan (-2) 3. Tpr Gearoid O’Connor (-2) 4. Sgt Tim Johnson (1)
The HAC was drawn in a pool with Leadenham Red and RAF Junior teams. Having arrived in style with the now signature HAC Gazebo and IG Index sponsored chairs and waterproofs – necessary for the day in question as the early morning sunshine gave way to rain and a bitter cold wind – the HAC team welcomed their recent regimental “patron” Lt. Col Murphy to Cranwell as their sole cheerleader and as it happened, childminder.
Match 1: Leadenham Red 1 – 0 HAC
With the matches commencing on Saturday morning, the HAC played Leadenham Red in what was an extremely tight run affair. The play was relatively open though at times the snakes in the grass appeared to surface as mallets jousted in the melee. The score remained nil all until the final minute of the last chukka when Paul Maxwell-Gullet broke clear and covering much of the length of the ground scored a perfect goal despite the shadow of Sgt Johnson bearing down on him. The HAC were quick to respond and launched a counter attack with the ball bringing Sgt Johnson and Tpr O’Connor to the mouth of the Leadenham goal. A cruel bounce denied LCpl Langan from securing the equaliser as the buzzer robbed the supporting player from a second attempt to clinch valuable points. The tournament was underway and nails were already shortened.
Match 2: RAF Junior 3 – 1½ HAC
After the RAF Junior Team roundly defeated the Leadenham Red Team 5-0 the HAC was left in no doubt that the “junior” was merely a nomenclature and no reflection of the team they were about to face. The RAF teams had also benefited from a 3 day training camp immediately preceding the tournament so this was to be their 4th day playing as a team. And it showed. The HAC and RAF gave no quarter as is often the case when the services clash on the sports field. Again the match appeared evenly matched but the RAF quickly racked up two goals in the first chukka. One compliments of some basic errors in defence on the HAC’s part. To echo comments from previous seasons, the HAC need to spend time on the rules. Again Sgt Johnson was the powerhouse for many of the HAC’s attacks with Tpr O’Connor providing some of the breaks and turns with some effective hooking and backhands. LCpl Langan harassed the opposing team with ride-offs. The HAC remained its usually vociferous presence on the pitch but the RAF were undeterred and opened up the gap with another goal in the final chukka though the post looked to deny them only to see the ball collected and swept through. Again the HAC responded with a number of cutting attacks only to end up wide particularly with Sgt Johnson’s arcing long shots at goal. The RAF also executed a number of last minute but effective backhand clearances frustrating the assault. The RAF looked poised to clutch another goal with the ball coming to rest 6 inches from the line but a lightening charge and the sweep of a HAC mallet seny it back into the field away from the gaping goal mouth.
Evening black-tie dinner at Cranwell College Buildings
The Saturday evening saw all the players and guests dine in the grand if relatively youthful surroundings of Cranwell College Buildings. The speeches were warm and humorous in equal measure. Of particular note were parting speeches by Fl Lt Dave Black who was seeing out his last season of polo from within the service as was Gp Capt Ashi Ashraf. Mr Reason of Rutland gave thanks on behalf of the civilians with a humorous tale of a female midget and a visit to a doctor that lightened the mood - if admittedly had most guests wary of the level of the punch line.
Sunday morning saw the tournament finally get its break in the weather and the sun came out to play. The final pools were played and while the HAC's Tpr Gearoid O'Connor refereed, the final the details remain largely a blur except some vocal objections from one player becoming an embarrassment to the point that one of their team members reserved the option to ask the umpires to send off their own team member to save them further blushes.
Match 3: HAC 2 – 4 Leadenham Black
The HAC faced a relatively new and youthful team in the form of Leadenham Black. But under the watchful and instructive eye of Miles Underwood – Leadenham coach – the Leadenham Black team which started off on the back foot quickly asserted itself and covered the basics extremely well with effective and neutralising marking. Again the HAC conceded a number of unnecessary fouls and it was fortune that prevented the score being crueller to the HAC given the number of penalty 2 and 3’s given to the opponents.
Match 4: HAC 1 – 3 Genesis
The final match of the day saw the HAC team begin to warm and sync with each other. And they needed to. The family team of Yeo’s saw a much faster paced match than any on the weekend. The turning, assaults and counter assaults were thoroughly riveting for the players if nothing else. The game remained good humoured and having lost its earlier match the HAC enjoyed the more fluid play. Marking became much tighter and passing more structured. Again the HAC had a number of attacks on goal only to see the ball sail wide of the posts. The wooden horse at the HAC may need to come out for the summer. With the sun shining as the buzzer went dark clouds to the East warned guests that the break in the weather was about to close.
On behalf of the HAC a generous thanks goes out to the RAF – Particularly Flt Lt Hoogewerf and Flt Lt Dave Black - for inviting IG Index HAC to attend, and for extending the invite for next year but in particular for bringing the whole event together. It has gone from strength to strength and will hopefully be a permanent fixture on the services calendar.
The other teams in the competition were:
RAF Junior (Navy & Red) 1. Flt Lt Ellie Hoogewerf (-1) 2. Flt Lt Vicki Woodhead (0) 3. Flt Lt Rich Williams (-1) 4. Flt Lt Dave Black (-1)
RAF Senior (Light Blue) 1. Flt Lt Ross Thomson (-2) 2. Sqn Ldr Piers Hammond (-1) 3. Gp Capt Affi Ashraf (0) 4. Wg Cdr Martin Adcock (0)
Army Development (Red) 1. Col Simon Goldstein / Major John Morgan (-2) 2. Capt Janet Johnson (-1) 3. Major Ben Marshall (-1) 4. OCdt Cameron Bacon (0)
Rutland (Green & Gold) 1. Mrs Nathalie Crouch (-2) 2. Mr Angus Johnston (-1) 3. Mr Martin Reason (0) 4. Mr Paul Girdham (-1)
Ranksborough (Green) 1. Mr Naill Derry (-2) 2. Mr Paul East (-2) 3. Mr Georgie Wathes (-1) 4. Mr Nick Winterton (0)
Genesis Polo (White)
1. Miss Sophie Mulgrove (-2) 2. Mr Alex Yeo/Mr Matt Yeo (-1) 3. Mr Oliver Yeo (-1) 4. Mr George Carter (0)
1. Mr Rob Hoe (S) 2. Mrs Lesley Maxwell-Gullet (-2) 3. Mr Julian Deeming (-1) 4. Paul Maxwell-Gullet (0)
1. Mr Jack Ketch (S) 2. Miss Lucy Sheard (S) 3. Mr Ralph Thacker (-2) 4. Mr Miles Underwood (0)
The HAC hosted one of its flagship events this weekend at Ham Polo Club in Richmond and swept the board winning all three matches.
The IG Index HAC 105 Polo Invitational – now in its second year – saw three HAC polo teams compete for a number of prestigious trophies in front of a large gathering of over 800 spectators including HAC members, their guests and members of the general public. The day included music and marching displays from the British Imperial Band and the HAC Light Cavalry, despite a turn in the weather, put on a sterling display of tent pegging and sabre work. The day raised money for the HAC Benevolent Fund and also The Parachute Regiment Charity and helped further raise the profile of the regiment within the army and the wider general public.
Photo: Mark Beaumont
Sincura Finsbury Cup
HAC Bullecourt Vs 2nd Battalion The Parachute Regiment
The first match of the day was The Sincura Finsbury Cup. Reflecting the growing depth of players and popularity of polo in the regiment, the HAC regiment fielded a second regimental polo team in the same event for the first time. The team consisted of two players (Tpr Langan(-2) and Capt Loxton Edwards(-2)) who took up polo through the HAC’s own polo courses. The other members of the Bullecourt team saw Regimental stalwart LSgt Alasdair Grant (-2) and recent HAC addition of ex regular Capt Cy Lloyd Jones(-2) (late Royal Dragoon Guards) who captained the team to victory. Despite the team never having played together prior to the match they quickly dominated the game and some consistent scoring by the unflappable RMO Capt Loxton-Edwards saw the team quickly establish a lead. 2 Para are also relative newcomers to the game of polo but what they lacked in experience they made up for with some bullish aggression and continued harassment throughout. LSgt Grant had some cracking passes in support and despite Capt Cy Lloyd Jones deciding to try to some rodeo manoeuvres – his mount won! – he managed to keep the team focused on sealing the victory with Tpr Langan helping provide some good clearances from the odd melee. The game finished HAC Bullecourt 10 – 1 2Para.
IG Index 105
HAC Arras Vs Household Cavalry Regiment
The main match of the day saw the HAC’s first team play the HCR for the title trophy the IG Index 105. The HCR started the match with a 3 and half goal advantage due to the handicapping of the teams but the HAC quickly set to work neutralising this with Sgt Johnson scoring the first goal within seconds of the throw in. This was rapidly followed by a sweeping shot from Tpr O’Connor from the mid field which curved through the goals to add a second goal to the HAC’s card within the first minute of the match. Tpr Luke Hartley quickly put his backhands to use and cut down and turned a number of HCR attacks with Tpr de Rivaz opening up the game with a number of long passes up the field. With the match firmly heating up the rain arrived to cool players and mounts alike. While the crowds sheepishly crept into what tents and Gazebo’s straddled the sides of the pitch – one savvy member (Maj Dehnel late Grenadier Guards) saw the opportunity for some fund raising and raised £150 for the Benevolent fund there and then from contributions from 20 members of the public who sheltered in his tent. But fear not the grateful guests were plied with cake and drink in return and a typical “weather be damned” attitude set in. Meanwhile back on the pitch the HAC managed to draw some penalties from the HCR and went into the third chukka in the lead with 9 goals to 4 and half. The final chukka saw the teams press each other to the boards and fight it out with gusto giving the crowd a close view of the players and ponies. The game finished HAC Arras 11 – 4.5 HCR
Zepter International Cup
HAC Saddle Club Vs Household Division (veterans)
The final match saw the HAC Saddle Club team captained by Ms Lucy Bowman (0) with Andres Peres de Herrasti (-2) playing at no 2. , Stuart Atkinson (-2) playing at the back and William Savage(-2) up front at no1. Lt Col Howard Flood (-1) (late Grenadier Guards) was joined on the veterans team by Maj Peter Hunter (late Life Guards) Mr Martin Young and a familiar face from last year’s event Nick Swift (Late Grenadier Guards) who fielded for the infantry last year. Despite the downpour the match started with gusto and while the HAC started with a 3 and half goal handicap advantage they were in no position to relax. The veterans quickly recognised the talent of Ms Bowman and began to mark her heavily but the rest of the HAC Saddle Club team put in some dogged play and defended hard. The match took a brief halt as one of the veterans decided to test his helmet by an unorthodox dismount. Thankfully the presence of the ambulance on the field and the 5 minutes of pause belied the ability of even the veterans to bounce when required to do so. The veterans slowly chipped away at the lead throughout the match but the HAC secured a precious goal to stave off defeat and won the day by a half goal. Given the difference in experience of both teams this was particularly worthy of note and the players can be proud to have secured the clean sweep on the day. HAC SC 4.5 – 4 Household Division (Veterans).
See for yourself
Photo’s of the play have been beautifully captured by equine photographer Mark Beaumont. To see the them visit the IG Index HAC 105 Polo Invitational Photo Gallery on Mark's website.
HAC Polo Chairman Tpr O’Connor, GPE (1Sqn) would like to thank all who attended and particularly those who assisted on the day including members of the regiment, the HAC Saddle Club and its Polo committee and the Chairman and staff at Ham Polo Club who were extremely helpful in ensuring the guests enjoyed a wonderful day out. Particular thanks to the Commanding Officer Lt.Col Howard Wilkinson and his staff for such enthusiastic support. A special note of thanks to HAC Polo secretary Tpr Dehnel, C (2Sqn) whose tireless work brought it all together on the day.
The weekend of the 30th April/1st May saw the first polo match in the 2011 HAC Polo Calander, when Tpr Gearóid O'Connor and LCpl Ben de Rivaz were selected to play for the Hackett Army Development Team at the 'RAF Cranwell Polo Weekend' in Lincolnshire.
Day 1: The Martyn Bebbington Memorial Trophy
The tournament consisted of six teams from the Army, the RAF, and civilian polo clubs in Lincolnshire and Rutland, and the first day's play saw the Army pitted against the Rutland side. On paper the Army were the stronger team and started the match full of confidence with half a goal on the board. Little were we to know that Paul Girdon the Rutland patron, frustrated by a number of previous years at Cranwell without success, had hand-picked the strongest team his club could muster. Playing at 1 was Young England player Ed Banner-Eve off a -2 handicap, and at 3 Nick Winterton, brother of professional player Ed Winterton. They immediately put the Army under pressure following a quick succesion of goals in the first chukka, and despite valiant defensive efforts Rutland kept up the intensity throughout the game and the scoreboard reflected their work.
Day Two: Army vs. RAF Spitfires
Sunday saw the Army and the RAF Spitfires competing for third and fourth place in a much more balanced affair than the previous day. Despite the tremendous restraint shown by the team at dinner the previous evening and at the drinks that followed the RAF quickly gained the upper hand. Wg Cdr Martin Adcock, well backed by Flt Lt Dave Black playing at the number 4 position, hit some big shots to leave the Army playing catch up at the end of the first chukka at 3 goals to 1. The second chukka saw much better team work and communication with Tpr O'Connor linking up some decisive passing plays, and LCpl de Rivaz converting two 60 yard penalties to bring the scoring level at half time. The final two chukkas were a taut affair with each side exchanging goal for goal and unable to establish a decisive lead. The RAF went ahead in the last chukka with only a minute to go, and despite an opportunity to level the score in the dying seconds they held their lead to finish ahead by a single goal. The Army team ended the tournament in 4th place and LCpl de Rivaz was presented with the 'Most Valuable Player of the Tournament' award.
Thank you to the Reeve family for having the HAC members to stay at Leadenham Hall and for providing the pony power. The team was incredibly well supported by Col. Godbold and Col. Sheddon, who cheered on the players from the side lines and were on hand with cold towels and an endless supply of liquid refreshment. It was a fantastic weekend's polo organised by Flt Lt Dave Black and very generously hosted by the RAF, and the HAC looks forward to further competition against them in the future.
Report by LCpl Ben de Rivas
RAF Spitfires (-4) 1 OC James/ George Lockwood -2 2 Flt Lt Rich Williams -2 3 Wg Cdr Martin Adcock 0 4 Flt Lt Dave Black 0
RAF Hurricanes (-4) 1 SAC R Barriball/Flt Lt R Thomson -2 2 Flt Lt Ellie Hoogewerf -1 3 Gp Capt Affi Ashraf 0 4 Wg Cdr Mark Smith -1
Army Dev (-4) 1 LCpl Emma Steed -1 2 Tpr Gearóid O'Connor -2 3 LCpl Ben de Rivaz 0 4 Maj Tom Peterson -1
Ranksborough (-4) 1 Paul East/Laura Winstanley -2 2 Dave Gardner -1 3 Abi Watts -1 4 Jorge Uviedo 0
Leadenham (-4) 1 Will de Gale/Rob Hoe -2 2 Will Spicer -1 3 Lesley MG/Niamh Tye -1 4 Paul MG/Raol Dowding 0
Rutland (-5) 1 Edward Banner-Eve -2 2 Natasha Crouch -2 3 Nick Winterton -1 4 Paul Girdham -1