HAC Sweep Up at IG Index 105


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.

RAF Cranwell Polo Weekend

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

Hackett Army Development TeamThe 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

Army vs. RAF SpitfiresSunday 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