Exeter University Polo Club stalwarts Lucy Gibson and Harold Hodges report on a stellar end to the season for the club:
Following on from a resoundingly successful SUPA Winter Nationals in February, Exeter were quietly conﬁdent going into the varsity against London’s Royal Holloway last Sunday. There were four matches over the course of the day with all players showcasing an impressive improvement in their ability from beginner through to the more experienced novice sections.
Watched on by their club mates, the Beginner 1s got the day underway, the team of Emma Boswell, Lara Hopkins and captain Kio Briggs comprehensively winning their match 9-0. Despite all of them having only started playing polo in September, up against an equally inexperienced team from Holloway, they were able to come out on top in a convincing display.
After ﬁnishing the ﬁrst chukka in front, Exeter never lost their conﬁdence and Royal Holloway weren’t able to get back in the game for the rest of the encounter.
Fortunes were slightly more mixed for the Beginner 2s of Holly Turner, Imogen Cook and Louise Saul. Despite some well worked plays, they were up against a more impressive team from Holloway, who ﬁnished in front winning 9-1. One supporter remarked it would have been interesting to mix up the two beginner teams in order to create a more balanced second team to match the visitors.
The more experienced Novice 1s of India Ringer, Harriet Shaw and captain Charley Howell were up next, fresh from a convincing nationals display. After a dominant ﬁrst chukka, with some fast attacking play from Exeter, Howell showed an impressive calmness with her penalties.
Holloway came back slightly in the second but Exeter were still on top going into the last chukka. Here their superior skills prevailed, with great defence from Ringer and attacking play from Shaw and Howell. Exeter were by far the better side and came through victorious 17-8.
Following were the slightly less experienced Novice 2s side of Amy Lewis, captain Peter Philips and Lucy Gibson. Exeter profited from some scrappy play from their opponents and ﬁnished the ﬁrst chukka with a 4-0 advantage.
Michael Karlsson-Greenhill swapped with Gibson for the second chukka and made an instant impact, extending his team’s lead. Despite a strong Holloway response, Exeter were still in the lead going into the third. Philips continued to play strongly from the back, sending forward plenty of long balls for his two forwards to chase. Three well worked goals from the returning Gibson and great defence from Lewis meant they could close out the third chukka, leading to a ﬁnal score of 7-5 to the home side.
Exeter Captain Harold Hodges remarked: “The rewards of a hard worked season were clear as we won three out of the four ﬁxtures. This holds great promise for next year.” The day culminated in a presentation with prizes for all in the Druids clubhouse kindly sponsored by the Polo Magazine and Polo Times.
Royal Holloway Beginner Alex Bishop and newly appointed Exeter president Charley Howell won MVP and a JD Solis belt as the most valuable players of their respective sections.
Umpire and Exeter coach Giles Ormerod summed up what has been one of the most successful Exeter sides in recent times: “It has been great to see all levels make such progress in their abilities both individually and as teams, a huge thank you must go to the Exeter committee for supporting Druids Lodge in both weekly training and in organising these ﬁxtures.”
The day was a great success, showcasing the improvement made by all players after a hard arena season. All of the Exeter sides showed lots of attacking ability, which was a joy to watch.bookmark me