Our group of novice Polo players continues well with the welcome return of some players and the Tuesday group of advanced players has had some consistent attendance. Our coach remains pleased with the progress and enthusiasm shown.
Milo Sweet (C2 U6) the Captain of Summer Polo should be pleased with the effort he has made throughout this first half of term. I have been especially struck by the mature approach he has bought and the sportsmanship and encouragement shown when captaining less experienced players than himself.
Whilst we had to pull out of the prestigious Copenhagen Cup weekend, we did fulfil our commitments in playing two school matches and had a good internal Druids school match.
Early in the term we had a Druids young players match where Milo Sweet, Lucy Burgess (NC L6), Harry Alexander (BH Hu), Benedict Nott (C3 U6) were joined for this one day by Will Millar (C1 L6) and a good player from Sherborne. This ended at 7-5 and gave more players the chance to have proper chukkas on grass and was done in preference to trying to attend a re-staging of the cancelled arena SUPAs from the Lent Term. With a goal difference the scores were relatively equal, and this was used as a practice run.
Eton v Marlborough
Away at Guards, 7-4 lost
Milo Sweet as our experienced 1st team player led Harry Alexander (BH Hu), Eloise Fanshawe (NC Re) and Lucy Burgess who were three players with considerably less experience against four experienced individuals. The first two chukkas were shaky for Marlborough since they had never played as a team before and Eton capitalised on that with a few scrappy goals. However, in the third chukka with the coach and our captain’s input, Marlborough began to come together and play some attractive polo with goals from Milo Sweet and Harry Alexander making their mark. The final chukka was won by continued strong play from Milo and good defensive performances from Harry and Eloise, which enabled Lucy to have time and space to make it difficult for Eton to maintain possession and create chances. As Milo reflected, if we had started the match with the same intensity created in the third chukka we could well have turned in a different result against a talented opposition.
Marlborough v Harrow
Home at Druids Lodge 6-3.5 lost
As the exam season arrived, Ben Barnes stepped up to play with Lizzie Hankinson, Lucy Burgess and Eloise Fanshawe in what proved to be one of the wettest afternoons of play we have had. Despite this and being against a team of four practised players, led by one of the strongest youth players in the country, Ben did well. Following the example Milo has set out he did him proud, continuing with giving confidence and guidance to the girls. Both captains played their teams and ponies sensibly, taking their cue from the coach as to the weather. This was, as in the Eton match, a very respectable score and showed team spirit even when soaked.
Whilst we may, on paper, have lost the two school matches which we played, some very good play was shown and the captains Milo Sweet and Ben Barnes both are to be congratulated on the way they have led, encouraged and supported some very determined newer ‘1st team players’ who have stepped up to allow the matches to go ahead. Players who have put the time into the coaching have found themselves playing in the front line and have contributed to some rewarding polo.