SPECTATORS were treated to an action packed thriller in the Final of the 12 goal Dollar Cup, the first in Cowdray Park Polo Club’s series of six annual HPA tournaments open to all-comers. Seventeen teams competed for the trophy, which opened on May 9, with BHC taking on 2015 winners Poulton Balvanera in the Final on Sunday May 30.
With two pairs of English brothers competing on each side, Momin Sheikh’s BHC team saw the patron at number 1, Ralph Richardson (2 goals) at number 2, South African Dirkie Van Reenen at number 3 and 6 goal player Jack Richardson at Back. The Ephson family’s Poulton Balvanera side included Patrick Ephson (1 goal) at the front door, Ludo Ephson (2 goals) at number 2, Juan Jose De Alba (3 goals) at number 3 and Tomas Iriate (5 goals) at back. With Poulton Balvanera making up an 11 goal side they received a half goal advantage to start the match.
Poulton Balvanera were first on the ball but BHC soon gained possession and headed for goal. Ludo Ephson saved the ball from the goal line but his side then gave away a penalty. Jack Richardson’s 60 yard shot went wide and the resulting hit in from the back line by Iriate enabled Poulton Balvanera to battle forward to BHC’s end and finally achieve the first goal. However, all too soon Poulton Balvanera gave away another penalty and this time Richardson didn’t miss. Just as the chukka was drawing to a close, Van Reenan escaped and ran the ball all the way down the pitch for a lovely goal which gave BHC a lead of 2-1.
The action tore along in the second chukka although Poulton Balvanera could not find the form of earlier matches. A 60 yard penalty by Jack Richardson saw BHC’s lead increase. Iriate and De Alba combined well to make Poulton Balvanera’s second goal, but two splendid field goals from Dirkie Van Reenan and a brilliant run to the goal by Mo Sheikh saw BHC well ahead at the close of the chukka at 6-2.
Back and forward went the action in chukka three with good defensive play by Ralph and Jack Richardson keeping Iriarte at bay. There was simply no luck running for Poulton Balvanera as Ludo Ephson had a couple of good chances but sent the ball wide of the goal posts. No goals came for BHC but a 30 yard penalty finally gave De Alba the chance to pull one back for Poulton Balvanera and the chukka ended at 6-3½ in BHC’s favour.
Hope stirred for Poulton Balvanera when Patrick Ephson seized a chance and made a super shot at goal for 4½-6. Was a come-back on the cards? Not for long, as a 60 yard penalty saw Jack Richardson move BHC’s score on to 7-4½.
A hit awarded to BHC saw Jack Richardson tap the ball and then send a long shot to Van Reenan who raced all the way to score his third goal giving BHC a 8-4½ lead. Another field goal came from Jack Richardson and then yet another terrific run ahead of the whole field saw Jack Richardson send through his fifth goal of the match and achieve an impressive victory for BHC on a score of 10-4½.
Clare Milford Haven presented the Dollar Cup to a delighted Mo Sheikh and individual prizes to the players, sponsored by polo suppliers Casablanca. The Award for Best Playing Pony, sponsored by PoloSplice, the local mallet and equipment suppliers, went to Princess owned and played by Jack Richardson. Jack also picked up the Award for Most Valuable Player, sponsored by The Polo Magazine.
In the subsidiary Final, Sally Dawson’s CPG Nightingale team beat Snake Bite to win the Robert Fraser Cup.