The Welsh Dragons polocrosse club held their first tournament for a number of years at their new grounds near Tirley, just south of Tewkesbury on the 15th and 16th of August. With three good pitches, entries of 160 players and some excellent weather it was a big success and a credit to all the effort that the Welsh Dragons members (and member’s parents) had put into it. The standard of play was also excellent as the UK polocrosse season rapidly approaches its peak, with the National Championships just two weeks away.
In the A grade the matches were all close but by the Sunday afternoon only Highlanders and Kent Target remained undefeated, after both had overcome the Welsh Dragons themselves and Cotswold. The final between them on Sunday afternoon was a tight affair and for the first few chukkas there were only a few goals in it. The Kent ladies section dragged them back into the lead in the third chukka but in the fourth the Highlanders men started to run riot and built them a small lead. In the fifth chukka the Highlanders ladies carried on where their men left off and stretched the lead to five goals and from there it was a reasonably easy job for the Highlanders men to put the game to bed. Kent were the stronger out the back of the line outs, with both Will Halcrow and Emily Gilfillan winning more ball than their opposite numbers but elsewhere the Highlanders just mopped up more loose ball and capitalised on it. Will Halcrow’s Domillon deservedly won best horse for its efforts for Kent.
In the B grade it was the home club who recorded the victory as they overcame Kent in a hard fought final, after they had both won their respective pools. Kent had borrowed Max Pedley for the weekend from Celyn, as Celyn’s A grade team wasn’t playing, and he had a huge influence, riding on the resurgent Col, who won best horse while Max won best number 1, as he won ball and smashed goal after goal through the posts for Kent. However, though he caught the eye, the Welsh Dragons always kept the scoreboard turning over and their other section, with Lewis Parr in the number one shirt, constantly outscored their Kent opposition. They built their team a five goal lead going into the last chukka. At first Max Pedley looked like he might pull it back, as he put in four goals in three minutes, but then the Welsh Dragons won ball and slowed down the game and scored a couple of their own goals to eventually deservedly win it by two goals.
In the C grade it was an all Welsh Dragons affair in the final after both their teams had won their halves of the draws and so it ended with a Welsh Dragons one-two in the final placings. In the D grade it was Rugby who won the day with Kent Target again picking up second place after they just lost out them in their round robin match. Nick Johnson of Rugby won best number 1 and his horse Buddy won best horse.
In the E grade it was another win for Limemere Sparks with a Ledbury section in second place. The legendary horse Snitch, who sadly passed away soon after the tournament, picked up the best horse prize in the E grade, a fitting end to a career which saw him play every grade of polocrosse in the UK and carry everyone from international stars to complete beginners to victory. He won many best horse prizes during his life and also won many fans as he did so.
In the Junior grades, it was a combined team of Arden, Bucks Bronco and Celyn who won the open juniors with Ledbury in second place after a hard fought match. James Cook of Celyn and Leila Franzen of Bucks Broncos won best number 1 and number 2 respectively. However, Ledbury did pick up best number 3 via Josh Smith and best horse via Rosie George’s Dixie.
Arden picked up the Intermediate Juniors win, with Welsh Dragons coming second. Maeghan Brown of Arden won best number 1 with Tilly Mullens of Welsh Dragons winning best number 2. Miriam Gembus of Kent won best number 3. Jack Rees-Elford’s horse Vieri won best horse.
In the Primary Juniors it was Celyn who won the day with a combined Limemere and Northern lions section in second place. Kate Tranter and Sally Watney of Celyn picked up best number 1 and best number 3, while Robert Ferguson of Northern Lions picked up best number 2. Kate Tranter’s pony, Coke, picked up best pony.
|Division||1st||2nd||Best Number 1||Best Number 2||Best Number 3||Best Horse|
|A Grade||Highlanders||Kent Target/td>||Best Lady -Joanne Lavery (Kent Target)||Best Man – Travis Timm (Highlanders)||Domillon – Will Halcrow (Kent Target)|
|B Grade||Welsh Dragons||Kent Target||Max Pedley (Kent Target)||George Boisseau (Welsh Dragons)||Simon Paynter (Rugby)||Col – Max Pedley (Kent Target)|
|C Grade||Welsh Dragons||Welsh Dragons||Fin Bristow (Welsh Dragons)||Gary Pedley (Celyn)||Matilda Marsh (Kent Target)||Kraft – Luke Brandon (Welsh Dragons)|
|D Grade||Rugby||Kent Target||Nick Johnson (Rugby)||Jeanette Mitchell (Celyn)||Lily Dewhurst (Celyn)||Buddy – Nick Johnson (Rugby)|
|E Grade||Limemere Sparks||Ledbury||John Simpson (Limemere Sparks)||Hazel Metcalfe (Cotswold)||Amanda Wasdell (Limemere Sparks)||Snitch – Jason Haywood (Ledbury)|
|Open Juniors||Arden/Celyn/Bucks Broncos||Ledbury||James Cook (Celyn)||Leila Franzen (Bucks Broncos)||Josh Smith (Ledbury)||Dixie – Rosie George (Ledbury)|
|Intermediate Juniors||Arden||Welsh Dragons||Maeghan Brown (Arden)||Tilly Mullens (Welsh Dragons)||Miriam Gembus (Kent Target)||Vieri – Jack Rees Elford (Welsh Dragons)|
|Primary Juniors||Celyn||Limemere Sparks/Northern Lions||Kate Tranter (Celyn)||Robert Ferguson (Northern Lions)||Sally Watney (Celyn)||Coke – Kate Tranter (Celyn)|