There are over 68 polo clubs in the UK, many of which have professional polo players. All of the players at Veuve Clicquot Polo on the Beach have either been professional players or are currently professional which is why Polo on the Beach is such a high handicapped beach polo match.
In a standard polo match each team has four players but as beach polo has a much smaller pitch there are only three players per team. All the players have to be right handed to avoid injury.
Here are some of the players who have been involved with Polo on the Beach. Teams will not be confirmed until very close to the weekend as the polo season is still underway and the players may still have professional commitments.
Handicap 2 goals
After a career as a professional polo player around the world, Andy now runs South West Polo near Wadebridge. He teaches polo to novices, trains horses and works to develop the sport in the region. Andy will be riding his own horse Shrivar in the kitesurf challenge, racing kitesufer Dreya Bennett along the shoreline in a speed showdown. As captain of First Great Western, Andy is looking to reclaim the Watergate Bay Trophy after narrowly missing out at Veuve Clicquot Polo on the Beach 2012. This year, he will also captain the Cornwall team who will play against the Rest of the World on Saturday.
Handicap 4 goals
Tim Vaux is one of Veuve Clicquot Polo on the Beach’s most experienced players and been a regular at Polo on the Beach for six years. This year he is playing in the Cornwall Team on Saturday as well as captaining Team Joules on Sunday. A professional player for many years, Tim runs the family business at Vaux Park Polo Club in Somerset. Equally at home on sand or turf he is regarded as an expert arena polo player. He has been playing polo for 12 years and currently owns 40 polo ponies of his own, as well as stabling another 60!
Richard Blake Thomas
Handicap 5 goals
A regular player at Veuve Clicquot Polo on the Beach, Richard Blake Thomas missed last year’s event due to a broken ankle. He has made a strong recovery and seen his handicap increase from four goals to five. Richard plays for the Polistas team based at the Guards Club at Windsor Great Park and also plays for Wales. He breeds and imports horses specifically for polo and is the older brother of Andrew, who will play for rival team Joules.
Andrew Blake Thomas
Handicap 5 goals
Younger brother of Richard, Andrew is also a regular player at Veuve Clicquot Polo on the Beach. A former England international, Andrew is a firm favourite with the crowd here at Watergate Bay thanks to his prolific performances in front of goal which helped his team Joules to victory in 2012. Andrew currently plays for patrons in the UK and abroad.
Jamie Le Hardy
Handicap 7 goals
Current England squad member Jamie Le Hardy is a qualified polo coach and professional player based at Crowdray Park Polo Club in Midhurst. Jamie has competed in polo matches in over 40 countries around the world, winning nine national opens. He spends most of his time playing in Argentina through the winter months.
Handicap 9 goals
Chris is Europe’s highest ever handicapped Arena player at 9 goals and was captain of the successful England team beating America in February 2013. He also won the St Moritz Snow Polo in January this year with Team Cartier and was named World Polo Tour Most Valuable Player. This will be Chris’ debut at Polo on the Beach and we are very excited to be welcoming such a highly handicapped player to Watergate Bay.