It was on Saturday 29th May that Warwick saw the invasion of York University’s polo players at their lush green polo training grounds of Offchurch Bury Polo Club. Despite the grey skies and persistent drizzle, York’s hosts showed them a weekend of Argentinian barbecues, an ever-flowing supply of beer and of course, action-packed polo.
As the YUPC arrived, they were greeted with a high-speed match consisting of experienced and apparently fearless players. The drama of seeing the horses galloping after the tiny ball hurtling through the air was heightened by the collision between a tiny Argentinian, and a huge hulk of a South African. However, thanks to Argentina’s passion for polo, it was the South African who crashed to the ground as his counterpart skipped away relatively unscathed. Fortunately, our gentle giant was hardened enough to provide York’s beginners and novices with a lesson and practice game before they came face-to-face with their blue clad rivals the following morning.
That evening, it was not entirely clear to the York players whether Warwick’s insistence of giving each of them ‘lovely, refreshing, cool beers’ was good hosting, or a mere ploy to have them playing with red eyes and thumping headaches the next day. Despite this sneaking suspicion, YUPC soldiered on and accepted the torrent of alcohol offered with vigour. It takes more than a few cans of Foster’s to keep them down.
This was made clear the following morning, as the beginner teams emerged from their tents, sporting their whites and parading their black and gold shirts. Saddled up and raring to go, the game began with Louise Iberson-Hurst, Ashley Welsh and Ottilie Wood hassling their opponents all the way. They alternated chukkas with Sophie Pohling, Stephani Lozier and Simon Kinsella, who continued to give the strong Warwick team a run for their money, with Kinsella scoring twice and leaving the final score at Warwick 8 York 2.
York players (from left, in black and gold) Louise Iberson-Hurst, Ottilie Wood and Ashley Welsh in the beginner’s match with Warwick.
The following match was played by the novices, consisting of Molly Riggins, Charles Osborne and Joseph Busby, who all played brilliantly. Their hard hitting and hassling had the spectating Warwick beginners clashing embarrassingly with their blue shirts as their deafening cries caused each to turn a charming shade of purple.
York’s performance at Warwick was proof of how far the club has come. After being defeated by Cambridge in February, the players have become more confident and experienced in playing against clubs with different tactics and techniques to their own. This bodes well for the upcoming University Polo Nationals on the 11th to the 13th June, held at Offchurch Bury Polo Club. The weekend was enjoyed thoroughly by each and everyone, and YUPC will hopefully bask in Warwick’s hospitality once again for more friendlies and inevitably, more Foster’s.
Sophie Pohling and Simon Kinsella (pictured), with Stephani Lozier, alternated chukkas with Iberson-Hurst, Wood and Welsh in the beginner’s match.