William IV Cup line-up confirmed

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Dallas Burston Polo Club House

IG HAC Vs The Grenadier Guards

In 1830 King William IV ordered that the HAC should regard itself as his personal guard in the City of London much as the Grenadier Guards were when he was at other locations. He decreed the units should co-operate closely and that the HAC should base its uniform on that of the Grenadier Guards. The annual William IV Cup honours the deep ties between these two historic units. This year the event will take place on Sunday 23rd June at Dallas Burston Polo Club as part of its annual Ladies Day. The event will be in aid of a military charity.

The incredibly fashionable DBPC Ladies Day will see society's finest  donning the most spectacular hats in the County. This is an event for every self-professed fashionista on the land to attend!  Tickets can be bought directly through Ticket Factory, please click here

Non ticket holders can still enjoy the polo action and shopping pavilion free of charge, simply bring your own picnic, pre-order one from the club to be ready for your arrival or you can purchase food around the ground on the day.  Bring your own picnic blanket or chairs and you and your friends can enjoy a wonderful day out for free! Contact the club for details on ordering picnics.

IG HAC – Team Colours: Maroon

Team:

1. LCpl Gearoid O'Connor  -2

2. Tpr Luke Hartley -1

3. LCpl Ben de Rivaz 0

4. Sgt Tim Johnson 0

Grenadier Guards –Team colours: blue and red quarters.

Team:

1. Lt Col (rtd) Howard Flood -1

2. Capt Folarin Kuku 0

3. Mr Tayo Awogboro 0

4. Maj (rtd) Ben Marshall 0

Cholderton Cup, 25th - 26th May 2013, Tidworth Polo Club

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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). British Army Polo Team

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

IG confirm third year as main polo team sponsor

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HAC Polo is delighted to announce that we have agreed a third year of partnership with our main sponsor - IG Group. The contracts which were recently exchanged represent the commitment of IG to continue to support military polo. The sponsorship was announced at HAC Polo's start of season launch held in the Prince Consort Room of Armoury House. The launch saw the unveiling of the 2013 season kit with the new IG logo. IG and HAC continue to grow their partnership. 2013 sees the first season of a third IG HAC Polo team - IG HAC V or Veterans team. IG have also increased their sponsorship by 25% on the 2012 season. HAC Polo chairman - Gearoid O'Connor stated;

"The fact that IG have agreed to support HAC Polo for a third year is a real endorsement of the success of the partnership between IG and the British Army's most dynamic polo team. It has been a partnership that has grown year on year and we hope it will continue to ensure those who serve in the HAC continue to gain access to affordable polo"

RAF Cranwell starts the 2013 polo season

The Polo Teams of Martyn Bebbington Memorial Trophy Tournament on the Steps of Cranwell College 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.

Mount! Start up! HAC Polo Taster Days 2013

Mount, Start up. Polo Taster Day One of the stated aims of HAC polo is to encourage people to take up the sport of polo. In order to help people decide if polo is for them (we're biased but we think its unmatched as a sport!) we run a series of taster days. Its a chance to learn what the sport entails, what it takes to learn the sport, the kit and any costs involved. In an environment amongst other people who are in a similar position.

Any members of the regiment, company or saddle club can speak to the instructors about the courses offered. Of course, it wouldn't be  a taster if you ultimately didn't try your hand at it. So there will be a quick introduction to the basics of the sport including the key rules, the swing and the ride off. The day ends with everyone getting on a polo pony and learning how its controlled and gently trying out some of the swings. No previous riding experience is required. Snacks and refreshments are served to keep you energised.

Our Taster sessions are hosted under the watchful and friendly eye of Hon Georgiana Crofton at Fifield Polo Club, Windsor - the Home of HAC Polo.

Georgiana Crofton - HAC Polo's Instructor

So why not gather some friends and spend a day out in the country trying out the unique sport of polo. Our Summer Season Taster Days are as follows:

  • Saturday 20th April
  • Sunday 21st April
  • Saturday 27th April
  • Sunday 28th April
  • Saturday 28th September
  • Sunday 29th September
  • Saturday 5th October
  • Sunday 6th October

How much does a taster day cost?

Regimental: £75 Company and Saddle Club: £85 Prices inclusive of snacks and refreshment.

Book your place now, simply Contact Us

Date for HAC 105 Polo Tournament 2013 announced!

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HAC 105 Polo Tournament 2013 The date for the HAC's flagship event for the 2013 season has been agreed. The HAC will host the 105 polo tournament on Saturday 31st August 2013. Be sure to put it in your diary. The event is set to be bigger than ever. The format has been adjusted but rest assured the day will continue to provide action packed polo matches with a blend of military music and displays.

IG Index HAC 105 Polo Invitational 2012

  IG Index HAC 105 Polo Invitational with HAC Band

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.

Some ladies jumping at the IG Index HAC 105 Polo Invitational

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.

Hackett Army with the IG Index HAC 105 Trophy

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!

105 Invitational programme of events

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The Honourable Artillery Company (HAC) is proud to host The IG Index HAC 105 Polo Invitational, a three match exhibition polo event in aid of the Regimental Charity - The HAC Benevolent Fund. The event will be held on Saturday 8th September 2012 at Ham Polo Club, Richmond, London. In 2011 the event drew a crowd of 900+ spectators and raised much needed funds for the HAC Benevolent Fund. And to top it off the HAC - "The worlds oldest fighting unit" - celebrates its 475th anniversary from August 2012. IG Index HAC 105 Ham Polo Club

We're pleased to announce that the regiment has adopted the day as one of its flagship community engagement events and as such its a great opportunity to see some of the fantastic aspects of the HAC. So ensure you put Saturday 8th September 2012 in your diaries.

This year will see a number of teams play for the honour of a number of beautiful trophies (kindly provided by Mappin & Webb) and the main match sees The Hackett Army team compete for the "105" (A 105mm brass cartridge used to fire an artillery round from a standard British Army field gun). The day will also feature matches between the HAC and the RAF and Army Reserves teams.

Apart from the frenetic and exciting polo there will also be a tent pegging display by the HAC Light Cavalry, Music by the HAC Band, HAC Light Guns, the Horsebox Gallery, IG Index's electric polo pony to try out and food stands.

Tickets on sale. BUY TICKETS

TIMINGS Provisional timings* are as follows:

11:00 Gates Open

11:30 IG Index HAC (Bullecourt) Vs Army Reserves

12:00 HAC Lunch (Clubhouse & Enclosure)

13:00 HAC Band (Marching Display)

13:30 The IG Index “105″ – IG Index HAC (Arras) Vs Hackett Army

14:30 HAC Light Cavalry Tent Pegging display

15:00 HAC Saddle Club Vs RAF

16:00 HAC Band (Marching Display)

16:30 Prize Giving

17:00 Close of Polo

17:00 Onsite After party with DJ’s and bar.

00:00 Close

*Timings are subject to confirmation.

The After Party The After party will be kick started at 18:00 by pianist Carl Joseph. Carl has performed at countless events for some of the world’s most prominent organisations. Several BAFTA ceremonies; the 2011 V-Festival; The 2011 HTC Beats Party at The Roundhouse (featuring will.i.am); he’s performed at Adele’s post-Brit party in February. He has a solo residency at the recently-reopened Arts Club in Mayfair. But his speciality is getting the best of crowd interaction and singing going.

Once Carl has the party swinging, DJ Crispin Dior will take the party to the next level. Successful appearances for Prince William: a 21st Birthday at Windsor Castle and the Princess Diana Memorial Concert after show at Wembley Arena has seen Mr Dior entertaining the wedding guests of HRH Prince William And Catherine Middleton until the early hours in Buckingham Palace. Other than that you can find him in Shoreditch House or Fabric.

Have you got a better plan for Saturday night….?

TRANSPORT The Nearest Tube and Train Station to the 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): Smart Casual, summer wear permitted.

2012 IG Index HAC 105 Polo Tickets On Sale!

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Tickets for the HAC's flagship polo event of the season are now on sale

The IG Index HAC 105 Polo Invitational will be held on Saturday 8th September at Ham Polo Club in Richmond.

* * * BUY YOUR TICKETS HERE! * * * 

This year will see the following matches:

IG Index 105 Cup

IG Index HAC A Vs Hackett Army

Bahamar Cup

IG index HAC B Vs Army Reserves

HAC Saddle Club Vs RAF

To celebrate the HAC's 475th anniversary - the oldest regiment in the British Army - the event will see displays by:

  • HAC Pikemen & Musketeers
  • HAC Light Cavalry
  • Band of the HAC
  • HAC Corps of Drums

Lunch tickets have been snapped up and are already SOLD OUT but general access  and car pass tickets are still available so book today for an action-packed family day out!

 

Royal Artillery Cup Win for IG Index HAC

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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.

RA Cup Teams 2012

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

De Rivaz in action against the Royal Artillery Red teamThe 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.

RA Cup PresentationThe 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 Royal Artillery Cup Winners 2012

HAC team (L-R): Lt Lloyd Jones (1) - LCpl de Rivaz (3) -  LSgt Grant (2) - Tpr O’Connor (4)

 

HAC Polo Rugby club training camp 2012

The week preceding the weekend of Saturday 9th June typified the great British summer of 2012. Holidaymakers’ caravans were being swept away by flash floods in Wales, while flooded tube lines caused commuter chaos across the City. It was against the background of the continuing deluge that the HAC arrived at Rugby Polo Club in Warwickshire for the June training weekend. The course was run by Phil Baker, the polo manager at the club. The unseasonal conditions forced practise on Saturday into one of the clubs two large indoor arenas, where Phil put the HAC through a series of drills developing shots on both the near and offside of the pony. The mechanics and reasoning behind each swing were explained in detail before players attempted the swings at a stand still, progressing to a walk and then a gentle canter. Arena Polo Lesson

After a tactics session in the clubhouse in front of the whiteboard came club chukkas, and an opportunity to execute the swings taught earlier in match play. For many members of the HAC this was their first taste of competitive arena polo, a bewildering transition for those used to the pace and flow of the outdoor game. Players have to adjust not only to different rules but also to a fundamentally different style of play; the game commences and turns at a much faster pace than on grass, and rapid adjustments have to be made for the constant movement of the ball off the walls.

Blue skies and sunshine on Sunday heralded the move outdoors onto grass. Fresh ponies, (used to a summer season spent indoors), were brought out, and after a warm up session with Glyn – a former 6 goal Kiwi instructor - Phil elaborated on new drills and stick & ball techniques to improve both coordination and timing. After lunch, another tactical brief and plenty of coffee in the clubhouse the focus shifted to positional play and team tactics, often a weak point in the HAC’s game. Despite the darkening skies and a perceptible drop in temperature the rain held off for the remainder of the afternoon, and after a long day in the saddle the tired players gathered in the clubhouse for a final cup of tea and cake before the drive back to London.

The instruction and facilities at Rugby were excellent, and the players finished the weekend imbued with new skills and tactical insights into the game. HAC Polo would like to thank the Baker family and Rugby Polo Club for looking after us so well, and we look forward to future weekends in Warwickshire.

IG Index HAC play first tournament of 2012 season

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)

IG Index HAC Team

Day 1

HAC GazeboThe 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.

Day 2

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

Sgt Tim Johnson in actionThe 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.

RAF Cranwell Polo 2012 Presentations

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)

Leadenham (Red)

1. Mr Rob Hoe (S) 2. Mrs Lesley Maxwell-Gullet (-2) 3. Mr Julian Deeming (-1) 4. Paul Maxwell-Gullet (0)

Leadenham (Black)

1. Mr Jack Ketch (S) 2. Miss Lucy Sheard (S) 3. Mr Ralph Thacker (-2) 4. Mr Miles Underwood (0)

 

Leadenham Polo Training Camp 2012

The start of the 2012 polo season took place on the final weekend of April with our now annual polo training camp at Leadenham in Lincolnshire. The 8 places were quickly snapped up and despite the foreboding weather forecast the group rendezvoused for a swift tipple in the George Hotel on the Friday night. After a restful night in Leadenham House the good news was that the national drought issue was being addressed with a relentless torrent of rain sweeping in from the North Sea. While the weather forced a move to a nearby pitch in RAF Cranwell it did not daunt the assembled players from mounting up and shaking off the winter cob webs and settling back into the saddle. It wasn’t long before the riders warmed up and began to put each other through their paces with passing and supporting. Leadenham House, Polo Training Camp 2012

  The morning saw a stick and ball session for all riders to focus on their riding technique and balance. After a lunch at Leadenham House the group returned to have some instructional chukkas under the watchful eye of Miles Underwood the polo manager at Leadenham. It was reassuring to see LCpl O’Riordan return to his former standard of play by dismounting with panache and performing a text book “tuck and roll” – a big improvement on his pile driver technique at the 105 Invitational in 2010. Sgt Johnson returned to form with a vocal performance that drowned out the wind and rain at times and left Julian Bowman wondering if he was perhaps back in uniform and transported to a recruits course with a barking platoon sergeant.

LSgt Al Grant coming to terms with the UK

LSgt Grant also made some progress realising that he was no longer in Colombia and was in fact back in the UK…baby steps I suppose. In the midst of all this our one member with no military background took it all in her stride as Astrid focused on subduing a bucking bronco.

The group returned gratefully to the warmth of Leadenham House for the post-training debrief and beers. The Saturday night allowed the group to discuss the day’s progress over a wonderful candlelit dinner in the Dining Room.

Sunset sadly gave false hope for Sunday's practice.More in hope than expectation Sunday arrived to see the rain intensify and following a quick inspection of the pitch the group decided it was best to apply the approach that “discretion is the better part of valour” and that the group should call the weekend to a close. Despite the weather the weekend proved useful to shake off the winter for those who had not ridden, and the odd stiff walk was observed en route to the cars for the rain-lashed trip back to London. The following weekend sees the Team return to RAF Cranwell for the first competition of the season.

Polo - Front and centre for HAC profile

TAQ Cover January 2012 Issue The HAC's flagship event - IG Index 105 Polo Invitational - provided the dramatic cover photo for the January edition of the TAQ (Territorial Army Quarterly) a regular publication of the British Army. The photograph of LCpl Ben de Rivaz (HAC) riding off Tpr Freddie Wakeford (Household Cavalry Regiment) in the driving rain at Ham Polo Club last September can leave no reader in doubt of the energy and effort both teams put into winning on the day. The match in question saw the IG Index HAC team win the title match 11 goals to 4.5. A score which did not reflect the closely fought nature of the match. Read the January edition of TAQ.

Pre-season warm up in Spain for HAC Polo

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Tres Rosas Polo ClubOver Christmas 2011 there was chatter regarding a pre-season training trip. Argentine, South African and Spanish options were discussed. In the spirit of austerity we eventually settled for Spain. A group of six HAC Polo players will be departing for Spain on the 4th May and is formed from a mix of Regimental and Saddle Club players.

We will be training with Ricardo Bas for 5 days at Tres Rosas Polo Club.

The Club is situated in the south of Spain 15 minutes from Sotogrande’s beaches and surrounded by the biggest and wildest nature reserve in Spain, the Alcornacales park.

The aim of the Club is to promote an Argentine Hacienda in Europe. We will stick and ball in the morning and play school chukkas in the afternoon.

We look forward to good sport, Spanish hospitality and improved match play for the 2012 season.

Post tour report to follow...

HAC Polo at St James's Palace for the Queen's Guard Dinner

The regimental polo squad were recently honoured to be invited by an Officer of the Guard Major James Fox to dine as guests at the Queen's Guard dinner at St James's Palace. Hosted by Major Fox, OC Nijmegen Company - The unit of the Grenadier Guards responsible for mounting the guard at Buckingham Palace - and Capt Kuku stalwart of the grenadiers polo team, the evening began fittingly with a champagne reception. Also dining was Lt. Col (retd.) Howard Flood - late of the Canadian Grenadier Guards - who has worked enthusiastically to encourage polo between the Household Division and the HAC. HAC Polo at St James's Palace for the Queen's Guard Dinner

The HAC and the Grenadier Guards can trace their close links back to 1770 when the HAC's Regimental Sergeant Major was provided by the Guards to instruct the HAC in foot drill. The post continued to be provided by the Grenadier Guards until as recently as 2008. Until a recent review of the order of precedence of the Army the HAC historically was positioned between the 1st and 3rd Battalion of the Grenadier Guards during the coronation of monarchs. This tradition lapsed on the coronation of George V. The Household Division and the HAC are the only army bodies charged with the honour of defending and protecting the monarch. But we digress.

Silver goblet presented by the Honourable Artillery Company on the occasion of a Queen's Guard it mounted in 1958The food and service throughout the evening was fantastic and the conversation flowed from matters military to automotive to polo itself and the upcoming season. Throughout we were served by a sergeant whose medals displayed that his service was as dedicated to operations as to the care of his guests. At one point LSgt Grant remarked it was shame the HAC did not serve its cocktails in silver goblets as fine as those on show. Capt Kuku explained that the silverware were gifts of various units who had carried out the Queen's Guards over the years. On raising the goblets in the dim light of the Victorian dining room we we're were surprised to find the goblets in question were in fact gifts of the Honourable Artillery Company on the occasion of a Queen's Guard it mounted in 1958. Surely a coincidence?

Miss Angela May tries on a bearskin and sabre for size.The night concluded with a bevy of drinks and cocktails including the Grenadier's signature drink "Silver Bullet" and the odd sabre and champagne bottle action. It was also agreed that despite the operational commitments of the Grenadier Guards who are currently deployed on operations in Afghanistan the HAC and Grenadiers would fulfill their now annual fixture of the William IV Cup. A special word of thanks are due to LSgt Tim Johnson who organised the date in everyone's diary.

Tpr Hartley takes precautionary measures as Major Fox opens the champagne.

HAC Sweep Up at IG Index 105

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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.

IG Index HAC Polo Arras & Bullecourt Teams

 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.

Sincura Finsbury Cup

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

IG Index 105

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).

Zepter International Cup

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.