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.