England won the PolyPads Four Nations overall title, lifting the Triple Diamond trophy for a third time, after a weekend of hard fought matches against Wales, Scotland and Ireland, at Celyn Polocrosse Club in Cheshire.
England were really made to work for their overall victory as Wales pushed them very close in the final and other nations taking wins off them in the different age group competitions. Ireland won the AKT Minis trophy, as they ended the weekend undefeated, and Wales took the Scott Seniors Trophy on goal difference after they, England and Scotland each ended up with two wins in the Seniors competition. England did win the NVable Junior Trophy but it had to be decided on goal difference after they drew their final match with Wales 7 all.
However, overall England were undefeated, with their junior section grabbing them the overall victories against Scotland and Ireland and then their Seniors and Minis just defeating Wales in the last match of the weekend.
Scotland had some really bad luck in the run up to the competition, as they lost two of their team members to injury the week before, with Izzy Baker-Cresswell suffering a non riding related concussion and Ross Horne breaking his foot, meaning they had no impact players in either their junior or senior sections and their remaining players had to play every chukka. However, their fans were delighted when Hamish Gillanders of the Scottish Seniors section won the Mark Simkin Memorial trophy for his performance over the weekend, as he displayed great skill, sportsmanship and horsemanship. Hamish, who works for the Kent based horse trainer Jason Webb, said “It’s a great honour to have won this amazing trophy. I had a brilliant weekend, thank to everyone involved for such a great competition. We had a tough run up to the competition due to the injuries to Ross and Izzy and we wish them both a speedy recovery. However, I’m very proud of the whole Scottish team for their efforts, hopefully in two years time we can be on top of the podium!”
It was brilliant weekend of polocrosse with some incredibly close matches as the four nations battled it out for the four trophies on offer. There were some brilliant moments of skill displayed from players of all nations and of all ages and also, of course, from their horses, who showed off all their moves, as they helped their riders get the ball and find a way through to the goals.
This was the third time the Four Nations competition had been held and the standard of play was the highest yet, with some amazing performances from the riders and their horses. With teams made up of members ranging from 8 to 21 years old, and from all over the UK and Ireland, the competition really showed the way Pony Club polocrosse has developed in the last few years.
This year’s competition was given an additional dimension by the involvement of the Irish Pony Club. Previously the competition had a Northern Ireland team but this year it was broadened out to be an all Ireland team and a number of members of the Irish Pony Club were also selected in the Ireland team.
Pony Club Polocrosse Chairman Jan Whitehead said “It was great to see such amazing play from all four Nations over the weekend and also brilliant to see so many new players in the teams, particularly in the Minis and Junior sections. Some of them are players who only started playing in the last couple of years and have trained really hard with their horses and got into the team; that just shows what an accessible sport polocrosse is and what can be achieved by dedicated training and good coaching. All of the members were a huge credit to their Branches and Centres and represented them brilliantly over both the training camp and the competition.
England versus Scotland was the opening match and it really did not disappoint with Scotland’s Minis and Seniors both just winning their three chukkas with some great performances. However, England’s juniors did manage a strong win and overall they swung the game in England’s favour, with the final overall scoreline reading 23-16 to England.
Wales versus Ireland was next up and Ireland started the brighter, leading 7 goals to 4 after three chukkas. Wales then fought back and in the end managed to win the overall game 17-14, with their Juniors and Seniors both recording wins. However, Ireland’s minis section showed their strength with a strong win.
In the Saturday afternoon matches England managed to beat Ireland, though again Ireland’s Minis won their chukkas before Wales and Scotland fought out a brilliant match that went right to the wire. Scotland lead 17-15 going into the last and with a strong senior section many thought they would hold on for the win. However, Wales seniors pulled out a 6 goal chukka to win the overall match 21-17 and also importantly win their Senior match and keep themselves in the hunt for the Scott Senior trophy.
On Sunday morning Scotland and Ireland met in a match that would decide the Minis trophy, as both teams were undefeated on Saturday. The two minis sections gave everything and the match remained very close throughout but Ireland’s Minis in the end won their chukkas 7-5 to claim the AKT Minis Trophy. The overall match was incredibly close as well and kept the crowd on the edge of tehir seats right to the end. Ireland lead by one goal going into the seventh but Scotland fought back and they then lead by 1 goal going into the last. Both Senior sections produced a great last chukka but Scotland just edged it by 4 goals to 3 to win the overall match 25-23, and giving their Seniors their second win to keep the pressure on Wales and England.
Wales and England was the final game and it also did not disappoint. Wales lead for the first five chukkas but then the English Seniors gave them a 2 goal lead in the sixth chukka. Their Minis section pulled out a great seventh chukka to extend the lead to 16-11 and though Wales tried to respond in the last two chukkas they couldn’t close the gap, with the end score being 19-14.
As the Welsh and English Juniors drew their three chukkas, meaning they had to be separated on goal difference, which awarded the Junior trophy to England.
The Senior trophy was also decided on goal difference after all of Scotland, Wales and England ended on two wins. Wales were announced the winners with England in second place and Scotland in third.
This was the third time the Four Nations competition had been held and the standard of play was the highest yet, with some amazing performances from the riders and their horses. With teams made up of members ranging from 8 to 21 years old and from all over the UK and Ireland the competition really showed the way Pony Club polocrosse has developed in the last few years.
A huge congratulations to all the amazing players and horses who took part and a big thank you is due to all our volunteers who made it happen, to Celyn Polocrosse Club for hosting and of course to our amazing sponsors; PolyPads, Polocrosse Extreme, Countryside Financial Services, Jones Bros Civil Engineering, Blay Training, Arumba Coffee, NVable and Biggar Chill. Thank you all for you help and support and we look forwards to doing it all again in 2021!
For full details of all the teams please see our news story on the teams selection
The Mark Simkin Memorial Trophy (awarded to a member who has demonstrated not only outstanding play but also great sportsmanship and horsemanship)
Hamish Gillanders (Scotland)
The Triple Diamond Trophy (awarded to the overall winning Nation)
The Scott Senior Trophy (Awarded for the winning Senior team)
The NVable Junior Trophy (Awarded for the winning Junior team)
The AKT Minis Trophy (Awarded for the winning Minis team)
Scotland vs England
Wales vs Ireland
England vs Ireland
Wales vs Scotland
Ireland vs Scotland
England vs Wales