Oxford University’s Polo Club has recently celebrated success in the Winter Challenge Tournament at the Royal County of Berkshire Polo Club with its newest recruits lifting their first trophy. The tournament saw the team compete under the floodlights in a 22-chukka extravaganza against the University of London, University of Kent and Royal Holloway University.
Oxford’s Frederick Hamilton, Peter Kutzen and Thomas Johnson took up the mallet for only their first time this term, showing great promise as they battled strong opposition. The players were thrown in at the deep end with a challenging early match against Royal Holloway, managing to overcome the opposition with a hard fought 1-0 victory.
The team began to gel together as the tournament progressed, working as a stronger and more reliable unit, learning to communicate and back up each other with great tenacity and at times strokes of finesse. The team was impressive in its ability to clear the ball from throw-ins and restarts and instantly apply significant pressure to the opposition’s goal
The result of the team’s endeavours was a string of victories, culminating in a remarkable 7-0 victory against hosts Universities of London Union. Completing their whitewash, the team finished on the maximum possible eight points. Thomas Johnson was given the Most Valuable Player award, scoring most of the team’s goals and displaying fine ball control throughout the tournament.
The Novice team, comprising Noel Newman, Kasey Morris and Adam McKay, also had some successes including a win over the University of London. Impenetrable defence and strong ride-offs came from Morris, supported by Newman’s relentless attack and McKay demonstrated notable stoicism having been subbed up a division at the last minute.
The club extends its thanks to ULU for organising the tournament, Green Point Polo for providing the ponies, and – as always – coaches David Ashby and Rupert Lewis at The Oxford Polo School.