It was Kent’s weekend at the Midland Tournament on the 8th and 9th of August as the sun baked down on Arden’s club grounds. There had been worries about rain stopping play but on the two days of the tournament the sun came out in force. The pitches were still fairly wet when play started on the Saturday and they quickly cut up. This factor, combined with the long grass on a couple of the pitches, made picking up and bouncing hard and players had to fight the pitches, as well as their opponents, all weekend.

However, this couldn’t stop Kent having a good weekend as they took home the A and B grade trophies and were joint winners of the E grade with Pennine. Solent also had a good weekend, winning the C and D grades, to buy themselves some breathing space at the top of the size league.

Kent defeated Highlanders by 20 goals to 10 in the A grade final and beat Pennine by a similar margin in the B grade. Highlanders opted to do what they often do at this stage of the season and divided their top A grade players and mix them in with their young talent. Therefore, the Highlanders team which made the final lacked the Highlanders captain Guy Robertson, and also players such as James Davidson and Jono Keen. Kent will be pleased to have got the A grade victory but they will also know that come to Nationals their task will be a lot harder.

However, Kent will be more confident after Jason Webb looked on very good form on his new young horse, Banjo, after he had the disappointment of his top horse Honey being ruled out for six months. She suffered ligament damage while playing against the South Africans for the UK. Simon Shearing also looked on good form at number 1 and it was no suprise whe Kent picked up all the best number places.

In the B grade it was Annie Waterer at number 1 who did a lot of the damage for Kent, as they defeated a Pennine side which fought hard and kept it close earlier on but then let Kent slip away in the middle of the match. Pennine had had an incredibly close semi final when they knocked out the other Kent B grade side by just one goal and perhaps they were still feeling the effects of that.

In the C Grade Solent defeated a combined Ashfields and Henson (the French club) team in a very hard fought final which went to golden goal. Solent went into the lead but Ashfields pulled it back for the teams to be level at the start of the final chukka. One goal each in the final chukka meant that Ashfields returned to face Solent for the golden goal but that ended rather disappointedly for them as they committed a head hit to give away a free goal.

Solent also took the D grade defeating Vale Impi, again by just one goal, though this time it was in normal time. Both these clubs have made a habit of winning in the lower grades this year but on this occasion it was Solent’s day. However, Vale Impi will be determined to get revenge at the Nationals in a few weeks’ time.

In the E grade Vale Impi were also pushed into second place, this time by a combined Kent/Pennine side. In the Juniors it was Pegasus Croome who emerged victorious, pushing a Welsh Dragons team into second place. Pegasus Croome also picked up Best Number 1 and Number 2 for Harry Twinberrow and Sophie Johnson. Harry also picked up the Best Junior Horse prize for his horse, Abi.

In the Primary Juniors it was Arden who won, though they did borrow Max Pedley off Pennine for the weekend and he was one of the main reasons for their victory, winning himself Best Number 1 in the process. The visiting Fench Henson side picked up another second place for the weekend with their primary juniors side finishing behind Arden.

This weekends results have not really made much difference to the top of the league tables, Pennine just stay fractionally ahead of Arden and then Kent are a little way back in third place. Solent have given themselves a bit of room at the top of the size league, moving on to an average of over seven points per player. Pennine are still in second sport at just under 5 points per player and then Highlanders are just 0.5 of a point further back.

Full Results

Best Horse % Rider combination – Simon Shearing and Cougar (Kent)
Best Horse – Jason Webb’s Banjo (Kent)
Best Junior Horse – Harry Twinberrow’s Abi (Pegasus Croome)

A Grade
B Grade
C Grade
D Grade
E Grade
Primary Juniors
1st Kent Kent Solent Solent Kent/ Pennine Pegasus Croome Arden
2nd Highlanders Pennine Ashfields/ Henson Vale Impi Vale Impi Welsh Dragons Henson
Best Numbers  
1) Simon Shearing (Kent) Annie Waterer (Kent) Ben Jefferies (Ashfields) George Harding (Ashfields) Kate Bonelle (Allsorts) Harry Twinberrow (Pegasus Croome) Max Pedley (Arden, normally Pennine)
2) Wayne Henning (Kent) Ollie Harwood (Kent) Chris Illingworth (Celyn) Lydia Rampin (Vale Impi) Abie Ward (Vale Impi) Sophie Johnson (Pegasus Croome) Holly Gedge (Pegasus Croome)
3) Jason Webb (Kent) Sarah Simkin (Celyn) Alex Clay (Celyn) Beth Scott (Pennine) Natalie Cameron (Henson, normally Pegasus Croome) Jesse Deurinck (Henson)