Polo finals throw up more thrillers

The Parkhouse Cup final / Picture by Clive Bennett - www.polopictures.co.uk
The Parkhouse Cup final / Picture by Clive Bennett - www.polopictures.co.uk
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In the final of the six-goal West Sussex Cup, from an entry of eight teams Todham Polo and Alcedo made it to the final.

Todham Polo featured talented young Alfie Hyde, who has recently won a Most Promising Player award in the under-14/15 Ssections of the Pony Club Polo Championships.

He played at No1, brothers Boyd Allen at two and Leon Allen at threeand Juan Pablo Villela at back. Andrew Swaffield was joined by Jamie Scott at No2 in his Alcedo team, with Nick Clague at three and Bautista Sorsana at back.

Alcedo opened the scoring with a classy swing from Bauti Sorsana. Todham Polo’s Villela made a rapid response to level it but strong team play gave Swaffield’s side the lead at 2-1.

In chukka two, Sorsana’s experience brought another goal from a lovely solo run down the pitch. His accurate pass to Clague resulted in a super under-the neck shot for the team’s fourth.

Todham Polo won a 60-yard penalty. Villela’s ball was stopped almost on the goal line but a smart little flick by Boyd Allen put the ball through the posts to make it 4-2 at half-time.

Beresford managed to hook the ball and send away a mighty shot gaining precious seconds until the bell sounded for the end of the match and victory for Conosco on 5-4.

A neat pick-up by Scott sent a ball from Clague through the posts for 5-2. 

The final chukka was nail-biting. A foul on Villela gave him the chance to send through a 30-yard penalty to pull Todham Polo up to 5-3. 

When awarded a 30-yard penalty moments later, Alcedo weren’t so lucky as Sorsana mis-hit the ball. With two minutes to go the whistle blew again and Todham Polo were awarded another; Villela scored bringing them within a goal of Alcedo.

Villela saw a chance slip away and Alcedo deservedly ran out the winners.  

Andrew Swaffield accepted the West Sussex Cup from Richard Billett, MD of Louis Roederer, Cowdray Park’s official champagne partner. Best Playing Pony was judged to be Storm, ridden by Bauti Sorsana.

Meanwhile the four-goal Park House Cup, presented to the club in 1962 by the late Ione O’Brien, founder of the Park House Hotel at Bepton, attracted a large entry of 12 teams with Sea Breeze and Alcedo making it to the final.

Wilf Fine played at No1 for Sea Breeze with Will Harper at two, Nick Pepper at three and Charles Seavill at back. Terence Lent joined Andrew Swaffield ‘s Alcedo at No2 with Jack Berner at three and Nick Clague at back. With players aged 14, 17 and 18, the match represented all that Ione O’Brien hoped to achieve in promoting an entry-level tournament.  A 40-yard penalty sent through by Nick Pepper opened the scoring for Sea Breeze, answered by a hat-trick from Jack Berner to give Alcedo a 3-1 lead at the close of the first chukka. 

Nick Pepper pulled one back for Sea Breeze in chukka two, the half-time score being 3-2 to Alecdo. Despite plenty of attacking play by Sea Breeze, Wilf Fine’s side failed to score in the second half. 

Jack Berner impoved his tally of goals by scoring twice more for Alcedo in the third chukka, and an equally on-form Nick Clague scored in the final chukka to give Andrew Swaffield his second trophy in six days. 

Stella O’Brien presented the Park House Cup and team prizes. Nick Pepper’s Rufo was Best Playing Pony and 18-year-old Terence Lent was voted Most Valuable Player.

The subsidiary final was a 10-4 win for Jo Stuart’s Los Hamblinos against GCN.

Fast and exciting polo was the hallmark of the final of the eight-goal PSI Trophy played between Shane Finemore’s Gardenvale and Jeremy Pemberton’s Conosco from an entry of nine.  

Jack Kiely played at No2 for Gardenvale with Nick Clague at three and Ed Hitchman at back.  Jeremy Pemberton favoured the No3 position for himself with Will Emerson playing at the front door, Will Harper at No2 and Tommy Beresford at back.

Ed Hitchman made a swift goal to open Gardenvale’s scoreline but it wasn’t long before Beresford sent through a neat shot to even the scores.

Chukka two saw lovely confident play from 14-year-old Will Harper, who backed the ball between the posts to make a perfect finish for Pemberton’s run to Gardenvale’s goalmouth, Beresford raising Conosco’s score to 3-1.

A foul enabled Ed Hitchman to score swiftly from a safety. Conosco won the throw-in and Beresford tore away; Pemberton got his stick to the ball and then left it for Emerson who was fouled. An easy tap through the posts by Beresford saw Conosco 4-2 ahead.

A super solo goal by Emerson took Conosco into a healthy lead in the fourth but a foul against Hitchman gave him the chance to send a 30-yard penalty shot between the posts to pull Gardenvale up to 5-3. 

The throw-in saw Gardenvale come away with the ball. Another foul gave them a 60-yard penalty and Hitchman scored again. 

Gardenvale were only a goal behind. The fight for possession was intense with Conosco doing all they could to prevent Gardenvale scoring.

Beresford managed to hook the ball and send away a mighty shot gaining precious seconds until the bell sounded for the end of the match and victory for Conosco on 5-4.

Terry Hanlon presented the PSI Trophy on behalf of Peter Pattenden, founder of People Skills International and a former well-known patron at Cowdray Park. Best Playing Pony was Tommy Beresford’s Serpantyna.

The subsidiary final saw The Import House beating DJ Cats 6-5.  

LIZ HIGGINS

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