Midland camp and Arden tournament took place from the 30th July to 4th August at Arden’s club grounds in Henley in Arden, Warwickshire and saw a training camp, two test match series and one of the largest club tournaments of the year.

Midland camp is a training camp run jointly by the UKPA and Arden and sees some of the top coaches delivering three days of training to members from all around the UK. Alongside it this year was a UK vs South Africa Under 16 test match series which saw three fast and furious matches between the two young teams. South Africa ended up winners 3-0 overall but the UK fought hard right to the end of the last test match and it probably would have been a lot closer if the UK had not lost their star lady player Tegan Bristow half way through the first test.

The UK were actually leading at the half way point of the first test as their girls section had their upper hand and their boys were keeping it close. However, then a stumble from Tegan’s horse lead to a bad fall and she had to be taken to hospital for treatment. After that the South African girls manage to make it closer and their boys put them ahead for them to win the opening test 22-19. The second and third tests were not as close, the UK also lost horses from their pool and that fact combined with only have three lady players meant South Africa outscored the UK by a couple of goals a chukka.

The victorious South African Under 16 team
Photo credit: Izzy Baker Cresswell

The South Africans will be delighted with their test match series victory and the manner in which they played. They were worthy winners and played some brilliant polocrosse across the three test matches.

However, the UK will also be pleased with their teams efforts; they were a reasonably young and inexperienced team. Indeed, they had some selection issues in the run up to the test match series, with seven of their under 16 squad serving bans for poor behaviour, though none of the original squad were hugely experienced due to a lack of international test matches in the last couple of years and due to the timing of the series meaning this a new younger group of players coming through. However, the team battled hard throughout and showed what they could do with some great moments of play.

There was also a test match series of the UK versus Holland on the weekend, alongside the main club tournament. The UK had picked a young development team to face the Dutch team that were warming up for the European Challenge. Despite being a development team the UK team ran out 3-0 winners of the series, with Holland unable to match the pace of the UK team. However, after initially looking a bit nervous in the first test, Holland improved in both the second and third tests. They got more used to the pace of the game and their passing and link up work improved greatly, with few mistakes being made in the final test. However, the Dutch team could not match the UK for possession and so the UK were victorious.

Boy Wilson-Fitzgerald stretches out to catch the ball for the UK against South Africa
Photo credit: Izzy Baker Cresswell

With so much international polocrosse going on it was easy to ignore the domestic tournament but it was also a busy weekend with action across four pitches. Kent Target and Yorkshire Warriors both had good weekends and added valuable league points to their totals for the season. Cotswold also grabbed themselves two grade wins and there were a good mix of placings for other clubs as well.

The A grade saw what would seem to be the top six teams in the country run out in preparation for Nationals and the final was a great match between Highlanders and Kent, after both had won their pools to qualify for the final. In the end Highlanders won it reasonably easily, after Kent had kept it close for the first few chukkas. Travis Timms pulled on his Highlanders shirt for the first time this season and reminded everyone just how good he is, as he won ball after ball out the back to set up many goals.

With Arden’s top team stepping up to the A grade and Beaudesert not fielding a B grade team, the B grade was won quite comfortably by a strong Kent team, who defeated everyone in a round robin competition. Yorkshire Warriors ran them closest and ended up in second spot.

In the C grade it was Cotswold’s weekend. They welcomed back Hugh Ralli for what is likely to be his only appearance of the season and he reminded them of what they had been missing as he won best number 1 and Ingle duly picked up best horse. Beaudesert finished a hard fought second.

The D grade was split into Upper and Lower D grade, as is often the way at a tournament of this size. A strong Bethersden Bulls team won the Upper D grade at a canter with the home side Arden in second place. The Lower D went to Cotswold with Kent finishing as runners up.

The E grade was won by Yorkshire Warriors with Eastern Pennine in the silver medal position.

In the Junior grades it was a good weekend for Celyn as they won the Open Juniors with Kent in second spot, while in the Intermediate Juniors it was another win for Yorkshire Warriors with Limemere as runners up.

Full Results

A Grade:

1st: Highlanders

2nd: Kent Target

Best Number 1: Jack Brown (Kent Target)

Best Number 2: Layla Henshaw (Highlanders)

Best Number 3: Sean Hardy (Warwick)

Best Horse: Breeze – Jason Webb (Kent Target)

B Grade:

1st: Kent Target

2nd: Yorkshire Warriors

Best Number 1: Alex Brown (Kent Target)

Best Number 2: Andy Garrow (Kent Target)

Best Number 3: Matt Hale (Cotswold)

Best Horse: Natcho – Ruaridh Gillanders (Kent Target)

C Grade:

1st: Cotswold

2nd: Beaudesert

Best Number 1: Hugh Ralli (Cotswold)

Best Number 2: Hayley Marsh (Cotswold)

Best Number 3: Teemu Helve (Limemere)

Best Horse: Ingle – Hugh Ralli (Cotswold)

Upper D Grade:

1st: Bethersden Bulls

2nd: Arden

Best Number 1: Henry Burrows (Bethersden Bulls)

Best Number 2: Phil Henshaw (Arden)

Best Number 3: Kate Henning (Bethersden Bulls)

Best Horse: Mahara – Phil Henshaw (Arden)

Lower D Grade:

1st: Cotswold

2nd: Kent

Best Number 1: Cara Williams (Cotswold)

Best Number 2: Laura Scott (Cotswold)

Best Number 3: Kathy Hopkins (Chiltern)

E Grade:

1st: Yorkshire Warriors

2nd: Eastern Pennine

Best Number 1: Becky Davidson (Yorkshire Warriors)

Best Number 2: Amanda Alderson (Yorkshire Warriors)

Best Number 3: Emily Goding (Celyn)

Best Horse: ZaZa – Rachel Baker (Eastern Pennine)

Open Juniors:

1st: Celyn

2nd: Kent Target

Best Number 1: Charlie Evans (Celyn)

Best Number 2: Jess Clarke (Celyn)

Best Number 3: Xanthe Goodman (Kent Target)

Best Horse: Val – Charlie Evans (Celyn)

Intermediate Juniors:

1st: Yorkshire Warriors

2nd: Limemere

Best Number 1: Freya Macoll (Northern Lions)

Best Number 2: Georgia Wasdell (Kent Target)

Best Number 3: Sammy Borland (Arden)

Best Horse: Shelia – Sammy Borland (Arden)

Primary Juniors:

1st: –

2nd: –

Best Number 1: Bruno Ingley (Arden)

Best Number 2: Rosie Webb (Kent Target)

Best Number 3: Mollie Palmer (Kent Target)

Best Horse: Pepper – Bruno Ingley (Arden)