Players from the UK Polocrosse Association got the honour of christening the new arena at Dallas Burston Polo grounds as the UK season got underway early with the HorseKing 1 day arena tournament. Players traveled from around the country to take part in the six team challenge which saw players of a variety of different playing grades combining to make even teams. In the end it was Team Harris, lead by UK player Debbie Harris, who triumphed but only after getting through the pool stages on goal difference and a hard fought final against Team Williams.
The arena at Dallas Burston is as large as a full sized polocrosse field, making it perfect for arena version of the sport.The arena has only just been laid and not a horse had stepped on it until Saturday morning when the first teams walked out on the surface. The brand new surface did not disappoint either as it played beautifully all day and the sun even saw fit to come out and shine on the occasion. It is sunk into the ground with banks surrounding it, making it more like a coliseum to play in that a traditional arena, which added to the atmosphere and excitement of the event.
The six teams were split into two pools, with the winner of each pool playing in the final. Team Harris won their pool on goal difference after beating Team Borland but losing to Team Newbrook. However, then Team Borland, (which featured former UK Polocrosse player Shane Borland returning after a long absence from the game) then defeated Team Newbrook by two goals to put Team Harris through to the final. Team Williams also won their group on goal difference, with Team Smith in second place and Team Pedley in third.
In the resulting final and play offs Team Harris managed to just defeated Team Williams, Team Newbrook overcame Team Smith for 3rd place and Team Pedley overcame Team Borland to finish 5th. Team Harris also saw success in the Best Horse and Rider category as Freddie Leith and Lachuna won the prize. The Best Horse prize went to Harry, ridden by Iain Heaton of Team Newbrook and owned by John Whitehead.
Overall the whole event, which was sponsored and arranged by HorseKing, the equestrian trading website, and hosted by Dallas Burston Polo Club, was a great success, with players really enjoying the opportunity to have an early season run out in a particularly grand venue.
1st) Team Harris – Debbie Harris, Rachel Smith, Elliott Ford, Freddie Leith, Karen Smith, Coral Henshaw
2nd) Team Williams – Gareth Williams, Erin Tuffnel, Beth Scott, Tom Brown, Vicki Borland, Lauren Williams
3rd) Team Newbrook – Emily Newbrook, Gary Pedley, Jack Brown, Iain Heaton, Nick Johnson, Katie Loutisou
4th) Team Smith – Matt Smith, Alex Brown, Harriet George, Daisy Adamson (doubling up), James Allen
5th) Team Pedley – Max Pedley, Jake Hall (doubling up), Pippa Leith, Charlie Winder, Sophie Biswas
6th) Team Borland – Shane Borland, Theo Cornforth, Lucinda Cornforth, Meg Smith, Rebecca Cook, Liz Johnson
Best Horse and Rider: Freddie Leith and Lachuna
Best Horse: Harry, owned by John Whitehead.