The Harrison Cup, Cowdray Challenge Cup and Holden White Cups, played as Cowdray’s Goodwood Week series, are open to all-comers and lead to the overall awards in the HPA’s Victor Ludorum series. The Final of the 15 goal Harrison Cup, on August 3, is always the first to be played and was a truly exciting contest as befits one of the highest rated 15 goal tournaments in the UK polo calendar writes Liz Higgins.
From a total of 14 teams entered, Sally Turner’s CPG Nightingale and Momin Sheikh’s Berkeley Healthcare made it through to the Final. Alongside Sally were Will Harper (2 goals) playing at number 2, George Meyrick (6 goals) at 3 and 7 goaler Juan Gris Zavaleta at Back. Lachie Gilmore (2 goals) took the number 2 slot for BHC, with 6 goaler Matt Perry at 3 and Jack Richardson (7 goals) at Back.
Zavaleta made the opening goal for CPG Nightingale, his score swiftly answered by Matt Perry for BHC. Zavaleta’s next attempt went wide but he was accurate in his following attempt and also made the pass that enabled young Harper to make goal number 3 for CPG Nightingale.
Chukka 2 started with a roll-in and the ball came out with BHC. Jack Richardson went on the attack and a brilliant pick up by Gilmore saw him send a mighty shot between the posts to pull a goal back for BHC. Meyrick finished a lovely hit towards goal by Zavaleta and once more CFG Nightingale had a two goal lead – but not for long.
A super goal from Perry helped to close the gap and Richardson made the goal that levelled the scores on 4-4. In a terrific all-action chukka, another massive shot from Lachie Gilmore enabled BHC to take the lead, but their party was spoilt when Sally Turner made a useful pass to Zavaleta and the scores were equal again at 5-5 as the chukka closed. Harper’s talent came to the fore with two great goals in chukka 3 while BHC failed to mark the scoreboard and the first half ended at 7-5 in CPG Nightingale’s favour.
Within 15 seconds of chukka 4 opening, Zavaleta had taken CPG Nightingale on to 8-5 and it wasn’t long before he was charging away again, his attempt at goal finished off by Harper.
Zavaleta’s huge shot down the field accurately landed with Turner who aimed, hit the goal post, the ball then trickling through to put her side into double figures at 10-5. Zavaleta obliged with another huge hit and it was seven goals on the trot for CPG Nightingale before a super goal from Jack Richardson saw the score at the end of chukka 4 at 11-6.
The final chukka saw a rally from BHC with goals from both Perry and Richardson, the latter from a 60 yard penalty. Was a come-back possible? Not while Juan Gris Zavaleta was on the pitch. He finished off a blistering performance with two more goals to give Sally Turner’s CPG Nightingale side a commanding victory of 13-8 and unsurprisingly picked up the Le Chameau prize for Most Valuable Player. To round off his afternoon, Zavaleta’s pony Oli Vercera was awarded the Schweppes rug for Best Playing Pony of the match.