Arden and Solent came out on top at a very popular Kent Target tournament with Solent lifting the B and D grades and Arden taking the C and the E (with Cotswold) and being second in the D. Cotswold also finished second in the A grade to the UK’s World Cup team who were warming up for their test match series against Ireland on the 4th and 5th of May.
Kent received over 180 entries for their tournament, which was a big increase on the 150 who played there last year, which was itself a big increase on the year before. It lead to Kent having to run around at the last minute and create a third pitch for the weekend and also ask everyone to create smaller horse pens in the camping field. It also lead to the club saying that next year they might have to finally look for a new home for their tournament as they seem to have outgrown their current one. Indeed, though Kent fitted in three pitches, and it was of great credit to the organisers that all three pitches were playable as the UK has hardly seen any rain for about 3 months now, the third pitch was interesting to play on, with a slope both down and across the field meaning the ball would naturally run to the bottom left hand corner and so probably won’t become a permanent feature at the grounds, unless the UK team want to gain some sort of advantage in home internationals.
Though the UK won the A grade they did not have it all their own way and there was a bit of a worrying moment for their men against a young Pennine men’s section who held them level in the match, though the UK came through overall with their ladies winning reasonably easily. However, they ended the weekend on a good note, easily overcome a mixed team of UK and Australian players to send them into next weekend’s test matches on a high.
Solent overcame Celyn in a hard fought B grade final, with their number 3 in Joe Hopkins performing particularly well as he took best number 3 and Best Horse and Rider combination for himself and Tangles.
In the C grade Pennine sportingly declined a 4 goal lead at the start, which they were offered as a result of Arden players not turning up on time for their umpiring slots, but unfortunately they were made to pay the price as they lost by just one goal. They were down by 4 goals in the last chukka when Max Pedley showed exactly why he is one of the top rated juniors in the UK by pulling them back to be all square. However, out of the final line out the ball broke to Arden’s Lucinda Cornforth and she made no mistakes in going down field and scoring the winner. Pennine could take some comfort from winning the Sportsman prize for the tournament, as recognition for their good natured gesture, and also from Max winning best number 1 and Alex Rowley and Bailey taking Best Horse and Rider combination.
In the D grade Solent overcame an Arden team made up entirely of juniors who battled incredibly hard, and in some cases on small ponies, but could not in the end defeat Solent. There was also C grade and D grade plate competitions, as both grades were in a super 8 format. Vale imi took the C grade plate and Kent the D grade plate.
In the E grade a combined Cotswold/ Arden side won out against a combined Pennine/ Celyn side to take the honours. The E grade was played on the third pitch so the team also had to battle the slope as well as each other as they quested for glory.
So Risebridge Farm might have seen its final Kent Target tournament, if indeed Kent do move next year to bigger premises, but it is testament to both the growth of the sport in the UK and also how good a tournament Kent run that it has become so popular. Placed at one end of the country and not being that easy to get to means it will never have the same draw as places like Arden and Onley but the Kent Target committee have also run a very good, well organised and fun tournament and this no doubt is one of the main reasons the UK polocrosse community flock there.
Sportsmanship Award sponsored by Don Wilson
|Jason Webb (UK)
|Charlotte Pykett (UK)
|L’Oreal Lee owned by Lizzie Shearing (UK)
Best Horse and Rider sponsored by the Olive Grove
|Joe Hopkins & Tangles (Solent)
|Alex Rowley & Bailey (Pennine)
|Katy Long (Vale Impi)
|Alex Brown & Barbara
|Will Hunt (Cotswold)
|Max Pedley (Pennine)
|Will Arnold (Arden)
|Henry Burrows (Arden)
|Clive Kirkby (Solent)
|Dave Baker (Arden)
|Gwyn Parry (Kent)
|Jodie Davies (Kent)
|Joe Hopkins (Solent)
|Ashleigh Burbidge (Arden)
|Claudia Richardson (Solent)
|Charlotte Kitching (Pennine)