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.