If like me you know little more about horses than to recognise the front and back ends then polo is a great sport for the uninitiated!
You can only marvel at the degree of horsemanship, skill and hand-eye coordination to whack a ball, little bigger than a cricket ball, with a 5ft mallet whilst galloping full tilt down the pitch — and that is without the opposition trying to barge you out of the way! Very impressive to watch and a tremendous spectacle. What was even more impressive was that this was no ordinary polo-in-the-park but the battle for the Rundle Cup between the Army and Royal Navy teams in the glorious setting of the polo pitch in the grounds next to Tedworth House on a perfect Summer’s day in Tidworh.
Up to 4000 spectators set up their pitches with picnics, gazebos and a real family atmosphere surrounded the frenetic activity as the ponies and their riders charged up and down the field. The band of the Royal Marines added to the occasion before a number of different matches provided the sporting entertainment. But the highlight was the Hackett sponsored Rundle Cup. Lt Col (Retd) Simon Ledger, a legend in the world of Forces polo, kept the crowd both informed and amused with his customary commentary as the match ebbed and flowed with tremendous action. With nothing separating the teams and the match running down to the wire, the final chukka eventually ended with the Royal Navy clinching a narrow victory. A great show!
Team Ethos are a significant sponsor of UKAF Polo and so it provided the perfect opportunity to include a number of industry partners to join the hospitality on the day in customary style, pomp and ceremony. It was the perfect setting to invite guests, sponsors families and friends with a host of stalls and stands all adding to the ambiance of this prestigious event.
Inspire Foundation and their valuable support of spinal injury research were the charity of the day and it was thanks to the Royal Navy Polo association for putting the event together.
Cover and top image by Peter Meade Photography.
Further information on British Army Polo can be found here.
The Hackett Rundle Cup
The annual Navy and Army Cup was first played in Malta in 1909. It was instigated by Sir Leslie Rundle, Governor of Malta, and supported by the then Prince George of Wales, later to become King George VI. The Royal Navy won the first cup and the Army won the last time the match was played in Malta back in 1966. The Navy won the first recorded match in the UK in 1976; the team then included Lt HRH The Prince of Wales. Outstanding scores include a hat-trick by the Navy in 1994–96, but the honours are now about even.
Published: 11 July 2017