By Diana Butler, Communications Director Guards Polo Club. All photos by www.ImagesofPolo.com.
Park Place confirmed their status as the leading 15-goal team in the UK after winning the Bentley Motors Royal Windsor Cup. In a thrilling game on The Queen’s Ground, Andrey Borodin’s team defeated Charlie Wooldridge’s Twelve Oaks 8-7.
There had not been much air between Park Place and Twelve Oaks throughout these five chukkas, played in the presence of HM The Queen, HRH the Duke of Edinburgh and Dr Andreas Offermann, the member of the Bentley board for sales and marketing.
Strong defensive play from both sides stopped either team running away with this game and ensuring a fast and competitive match for the many spectators.
South African international Chris Mackenzie, later named the Bentley Motors Most Valuable Player, gave Park Place a 6-4 lead at half-time and when team-mate Juan Britos converted a penalty in the fourth, it looked as if Twelve Oaks’ chances were over.
Charlie Wooldridge’s team had other ideas though. A successful penalty was followed by some brilliant play from Chris Hyde in the fifth and final chukka. He found some space in a huddle of players, creating a clear path to goal to level the scores.
The crowds were eager for extra time – this final had been a fitting end to the UK’s leading 15-goal tournament – but Mackenzie put paid to that. He fired through a ball on the bell to guarantee that it was Park Place’s name that was added to Guards Polo Club’s oldest trophy.
The pony Mackenzie was playing in this chukka, Crystal, was later named the Bentley Motors Royal Windsor Cup Best Playing Pony. This nine-year-old mare, a former racehorse, had also been played by Chris in the second chukka. In a generous gesture, Mackenzie invited Crystal’s groom, Amber Jacobs, to receive the pony’s prizes from HM The Queen.
An earlier match, for the subsidiary Mountbatten Trophy, saw a win for Maximillian Kirchoff’s Armis Snake Bite. They beat Henry Porter’s GSA 11-9 on The Duke’s Ground.
Lady Tatiana Mountbatten presented the prizes after another, equally tough game, which saw England internationals James Beim and James Harper forge a strong partnership for Armis Snake Bite, delivering victory for their patron.
There was one further match on this day – a Penny Farthing Polo International – featuring England v Scotland. This is the first time that penny farthing polo has been played at Guards Polo Club, but this six-chukka match generated much interest. England, led by Neil Laughton, came out top, defeating Scotland, captained by David Fox Pitt, 8-4.
The day concluded with the elegant parade of the championship winners from the neighbouring British Driving Society Show. Both HM The Queen and HRH the Duke of Edinburgh, who had watched the parade from the Royal Box, spent time with each winner after presenting them with their winners’ rosettes.
Park Place: Andrey Borodin (0); Nico Roberts (3); Juan Britos (6); Chris Mackenzie (6). Twelve Oaks: Charlie Wooldridge (1); Charlie Hanbury (4); Oliver Cudmore (5); Chris Hyde (5).
Armis Snake Bite: Maximillian Kirchoff (0); David Ashby (3); James Harper (6); James Beim (6). GSA: Henry Porter (2); Adolfo Casabal (4); Satnam Dhillon (5); Matias Machado (4).