Apart from a deluge of rain coming down on Sunday morning, the National Championships were played out under glorious sunshine and the Highlanders certainly enjoyed themselves as they lifted their third A grade title in four years. What was equally important as the polocrosse was the slave auction on Sunday night whicuh raised over £6,000 for the Air Ambulance. The highlights of it included Guy Robertson being sold for £570 to Uncle Pete and Richard Chapple (who was only meant to be the auctioneer, not a slave) being sold for £900 to a consortium fronted by Penny Webb, though it never became clear what they wanted him for! Another highlight was the costumes that the slaves wore and we will do our best to bring you some pictures over the next few days!

Back on the actual polocrosse, in the A grade final Highlanders beat Arden by 20 goals to 10 in the final match of the weekend after both teams had defeated every other team in the grade. For the Highlanders their Captain Guy Robertson was on very good form and he deservedly picked up best number one for his troubles. Arden once again didn’t seem to fire when it really mattter and a weak first couple of chukkas cost them dear.

The way the teams declared meant that the two stronger sections (for Arden Greg Sargeant, Hamish Michael and Brad Clarke; for Highlanders Guy Robertson, Martin Brookes and Jono Keen) did not face each other but instead faced the weaker sections of the other team. Arden really needed Greg, Hamish and Brad to pump goals past the Highlanders trio of James Robertson, James Davidson and Sarah Simkin and this didn’t really happen till the final chukka. The Arden section started with Greg at 1, Hamish at 2 and Brad at 3 but swapped in their second chukka so that Brad went to 1 and Hamish dropped to 3 with Greg in between them and when this happened the goals started to flow more easily. Credit must go to the Highlanders section against them who played very well and contained the Arden threat well but if Arden had started in their eventual formation it could have been much closer.

In the B grade Kent did what they have threatened to do all season and lifted the trophy, defeating Crusaders in a very hard fought final match. It was very level until the fifth chukka but then Kent dragged out a small lead and eventually won 13-9. Crusaders were guilty of making mistakes, Beth Peaker missed a couple of goals and Dean Chappell head hit Tom Witchell in the fifth chukka to give away a penalty goal at a crucial time. Kent were not flawless either, Kim Lampard dragging a shot wide in the final chukka when Kent were only up by two to leave fans sitting on the edge of their seats for a bit longer. For the most part though they were very impressive, with both Kim Lampard and Penny Webb scoring well and Kerry Bean being rock solid in defence against Alex Bull, who was the Crusaders biggest threat.

In the C grade it was Kent again who took home the silverware, with their young team defeating Arden reasonably easily in the final match. It was always going to be tough for Arden as the Kent team was packed with young talent and good horse power. Kent were very consistent all weekend, easily winning their pool and really their final wictory never looked in doubt, as all their players performed well and made very few mistakes.

The D grade went to Pennine as they narrowly defeated Solent in the final match but Solent did have revenge in the E grade were they beat a Kent side to take the top prize.

The Juniors trophy returned to Celyn after being won by Kent last year. With Kent opting to run their juniors in C and D grade it was left to Arden and three Pennine sides to challenge Celyn but none of them could find a way to beat them, with Simon Amor on particularly good form. Arden also had an excellent weekend, defeating all three Pennine sides to finish second. Pennine will be disappointed not to have got a top two finish but it might be that they divided their strength too thinly.

In the Primary Juniors it was Centaur who won knocking Pennine into second place and Arden into third. Katie Newbrook was on particularly good form for Centaur aboard her new pony Tia, as she won best number three and Tia won best pony.

A Grade

1st) Highlanders
2nd) Arden

Best Numbers:

1) Guy Robertson
2) Martin Brookes
3) Sarah Simkin

Best Horse: Honey (Jason Webb)

B Grade

1st) Kent Target
2nd) Northern Lion Crusaders

Best Numbers (All Arden):

1) Kim Lampard
2) Beth Peaker
3) Elliot Gloyn

Best Horse: Papoose (Elliot Gloyn)

C Grade

1st) Kent Target
2nd) Arden

Best Numbers:

1) Sammy Rowden
2) Tom Beney
3) George Wilson-Fitzgerald

Best Horse: Monnie (Sammy Rowden)

D Grade

1st) Pennine
2nd) Solent

Best Numbers:

1) Tom Kitchen-Dunn
2) Kathy Hopkins
3) Beccy Rowley

Best Horse: Paris (Dan Kelly)

E Grade

1st) Solent
2nd) Highlanders/Pennine

Best Numbers:

1) Tim James
2) Kat Forrest
3) Dawn Goodfellow

Best Horse: Sonny (Joe Hopkins)


1st) Celyn
2nd) Arden

Best Numbers:

1) Laura Hughes
2) Emily Gilfillan
3) Amy Hughes

Best Horse: Sprite (Amy Hughes)
Bombers Award: Olivia Miller

Primary Juniors

1st) Centaur
2nd) Pennine
3rd) Arden

Best Numbers:

1) Josie Cameron
2) Stuart Dyson
3) Katie Newbrook

Best Horse: Tia (Katie Newbrook)
Bombers Award: George Harding