A bright sunny day signalled the end of Cowdray Park’s Polo season on Sunday 18 September when a large crowd turned out for the traditional BBQ lunch, subsidiary Finals and Finals of the 12 goal HPA Autumn Cup and the 6 goal Farewell Cup, and a highly popular Dog Show.
The 2016 Autumn Cup had nine entries with Emma McCarthy’s Emlor C and Shane Finemore’s Gardenvale making it to the Final.
An action filled match led to the scores level at 4-4. Early in the fourth chukka, a super run by Beim to Emlor C’s goal and a nifty pass to Perry resulted in another goal for Gardenvale. Both teams fought for every ball, but finally Fernandez-Llorente pounced on a loose ball and passed it to an ideally positioned Ed Morris-Lowe who zipped it between the posts but Gardenvale managed to hold on to their lead and won the 2016 Autumn Cup 6-5.
A delighted Shane Finemore accepted the Autumn Cup from Clare Milford-Haven who also presented prizes of quality polo kit on behalf of sponsors Casablanca. Matt Perry was awarded The Polo Magazine prize for Most Valuable Player, his horse Vasca Irlandes also picking up the Polo TImes award for Best Playing Pony. The subsidiary Final was won by BHC beating E Rosario 8-7.
The Farewell Cup is a historic trophy more than 50 years old and this year received a bumper entry of 11 teams, with Andrew Swaffield’s Alcedo team meeting Parke Bradley’s Silver Fox in the Final. Alcedo scored yet another victory to finish the season with a fifth report.
Mr George Robinson presented his family’s Cup to Andrew Swaffield and prizes to all players. Will Harper’s Exquisite was judged to be Best Playing Pony, the rug being presented by The Hon Mrs Lila Pearson.
Gracious in defeat, Parke Bradley nonetheless said that getting to the Final was a great end to his polo playing career and that he will be returning to Cowdray Park as a non-playing member from 2017. The subsidiary Final was won 6½-5 by Emma McRae’s Ice Craft.
In the final presentations of the season, the Millenium Plate for Umpiring Services was presented by Chris Bethell, Polo Manager, to Adrian Wade and the Pimms Cup for Most Improved Junior Player went to 14 year old Will Harper whose skill and confidence make him certain of a handicap change. The Large Cup for Pony Welfare was presented by Mr. Tam Large to Nick Clague.