Cotswold Polocrosse Club ran their first tournament (well, first one for the newly, fully reformed Cotswold club anyway) and it was more successful than they could have possibly hoped for. They expected entries around the 100 mark and ended up having to cap entries at 198, as with three pitches they couldn’t get any more play in.
Play was battled out over 7 grades on two days of pretty perfect weather. There was some light rain on the Sunday but nowhere near enough to dampen the spirits as the finals progressed through the grades to end with the A grade between Kent Target and Celyn.
It was Kent who won the day, they led early on with both their ladies’ and men’s section going well but then Celyn fought back and led after a strong third chukka from their ladies. However, the Kent men pulled it out again and then made the game safe. For Kent, Chris Dunlop picked up Best Male Player of the grade and Sarah Simkin of Celyn picked up Best Lady Player. Also the young players in Simon Amor, Alex Richardson and Will Halcrow all looked on good form, which is a promising sign for the future of UK polocrosse.
In the B grade it was the home club Cotswold who scored a good win. They came up against a Vale Impi side, who really had done very well to reach the final. The Vale Impi had an average age of just 16 and though the average age of Cotswold would have been only about 22, six years makes a lot of difference. Cotswold produced a very good team performance throughout with all the players doing their jobs well and they contained the threat of Vale Impi. Charlie Wright-Roberts looked in good form as he reminded us as to why he had been a UK Under 16 and Under 21 once upon a time but it was his team mate Jenny Hall who picked up Best Player for the grade and Best Horse for Skye as she continued to show the excellent form she has shown as a number 1 this year for Cotswold.
In the C grade it was Ashfields who again claimed victory and this time there was no need to rely on a disqualification as they comfortably won their group and then beat Kent 20 goals to 5 in the final, which they never looked like losing. They did have the help this weekend of Dean Wilson, of the New South Wales Under 16 squad, and he was very influential at number 1 as he pumped in the goals (including two overarms which his NSW coach will not have been impressed by). He deservedly won the Best Player prize and Best Horse prize for Rosa but all the Ashfield team played very well and Livvy Foley was particularly impressive as she was impassable as one of the number 3s,
In the D grade the Welsh Dragons were guaranteed a win before the final started as both their teams had made it through their groups. However, it was still a hard fought final and went to the wire, with no indication of any club orders to let a particular side win. George Boisseau of the Welsh Dragons picked up Best Player in the D grade while Nadine Bristow of Arden won Best Horse for Chaps.
In the E grade it was the Canterbury Colts who reigned supreme, with Vale Impi again coming in second place. Kirsty Sparks of the Colts won Best Player, while Isabelle Price of Vale Impi won Best Horse.
In both the Juniors and Primary Juniors it was a one/two for two of the big clubs as Arden calimed first and seconed in the Juniors and Kent took both spots in the Primary Juniors. Natalie Cameron claimed best player in the Juniors and Alice Kish won both best player and best horse for Tommy in the primary juniors.
So a highly successful first tournament for the Cotswold club and it was wonderful to have a new venue and tournament on the UK polocrosse calendar. Judging by the response of the polocrosse community its quite possible that next year they might have to somehow try and fit in some more pitches.
|Banjo (Kent Target) – ridden by Chris Dunlop, owned by Jason Webb
|Skye – Jenny Hall (Cotswold)
|Rosa – (Ashfields) – ridden by Dean Wilson, owned by Jason Webb
|Chaps – Nadine Bristow (Arden)
|Isabelle Price’s horse (Vale Impi)
|Alice Zawoda’s pony (Arden)
|Tommy – Alice Kish (Kent Target)
|Best Lady Player
|Sarah Simkin (Celyn)
|Best Male Player
Chris Dunlop (Kent Target)
|Jenny Hall (Cotswold)
|Dean Wilson (Ashfields, loaned from NSW Juniors)
|George Boisseau (Welsh Dragons)
|Kirsty Sparks (Canterbury Colts)
|Natalie Cameron (Arden)
|Alice Kish (Kent Target)