Polo on the Beach match report
A record number of spectators enjoyed a spectacular display of equine entertainment at this years Veuve Clicquot Polo on the Beach.
Now in its eighth year, the award-winning event hosted by Watergate Bay Hotel delivered an expanded programme of three polo matches and more entertainment than ever before.
Headline sponsor Veuve Clicquot brought their Airstream and Champagne Bar and parked up alongside delicious food and drink from The Beach Hut barbecue. Pop-up shops, Segway taster sessions from Cornwall Segway, The Stampede Stunt Company and an off road Land Rover experience took to the sand whilst Joules welly-wanging raised £700 in aid of Help for Heroes.
As the sun set on the first day, up and coming DJ duo ‘Billon’, hand-picked by Tinie Tempah, entertained crowds on the beach.
The opening game of the event showcased the UK’s first professional all-ladies beach polo match with teams from South West Polo and Veuve Clicquot starring a line-up of rising female players from across the UK.
Former Miss Wales and TV Gladiator Amy Guy captained Veuve Clicquot, joined by team mates Emma Boers and Charlotte Sweeney, who both hold a two-goal handicap. Rosie Ross, playing with a three goal handicap, captained Team South West Polo with Georgia Sweeney and Phillipa Fitz-Henry.
The match consisted of four closely-fought seven minute chukkas with competitive play from both teams. At half time, Veuve Clicquot held a narrow lead of half a goal, but in the fourth and final chukka South West Polo fought back, led by Phillipa Fitz-Henry, who harried the opposition to secure the seventh and winning goal for her team.
Rosie Ross completed a lap of victory in the arena, waving the flag of St Piran to mark South West Polo’s victory of 7 goals to 5.5.
During the half time treading in Watergate Bay Hotel had a surprise up their sleeve. A flash mob performed by over 100 local school children and community groups around Newquay and Cornwall broke into a 1920’s inspired dance choreographed by CScape and Dance Republic2, all supported by FEAST.
Following supercharged displays from the ladies teams, the high goal Watergate Bay Trophy match between teams from First Great Western and Joules got underway.
Representing First Great Western was Caspar West (3 goal handicap), Andrew Blake Thomas (5), and captain Jamie Le Hardy (7). Tim Vaux (4) returned to the sand as captain of Joules with team mates Daniel Loe (3) and Richard Blake Thomas (5).
Joules started with a two goal handicap advantage, but after intense back and forth play First Great Western scored their first goal of the match through Jamie Le Hardy. Richard Blake Thomas quickly retaliated, scoring with a long-range shot from 25 yards just before the hooter sounded.
First Great Western pulled level for the first time in the third chukka thanks to a penalty scored by Jamie Le Hardy. A goal from Richard Blake Thomas restored the lead for Joules, before his brother Richard scored for First Great Western with a spectacular long-range shot.
A thrilling fourth chukka ensued, with the scoreboard level at six goals each following an early penalty from First Great Western. As the clock ran down both teams fought for the winning goal, with a great move involving all three players from First Great Western resulting in a decisive strike from Tim Vaux to take the win at 6-7.
Jamie Le Hardy won the trophy for most valuable player. Torda, ridden by Daniel Loe, was presented with a horse blanket as the Best Playing Pony by Cornwall Farmers.
Sunday began with a battle of the sexes. Three riders from Cornwall Farmers’ Patch & Acre saddled up for a Champagne relay race against three professional polo players. Cornwall Farmers were quickest around the course to claim victory.
Next up was the UK’s first ever Segway beach polo match between the professional polo players and Cornwall Segway. The Segway team were no match for the skills of the polo players, who showed that on horseback or Segway they are a formidable force.
The weekend ended with a final polo match between Team Cornwall Farmers and Team HSBC Rest of the World. Captain Daniel Loe (3), Tim Vaux (4) and Ben Marshall (1) were flying the flag for Cornwall against Amy Guy (0), Algy Sim (3) and team captain Richard Blake Thomas (5).
Chasing an initial lead by HSBC, the Cornwall team fought back to level the scores at four goals apiece going into the final chukka. In a dramatic move Tim Vaux scored a victory goal seconds before the final hooter blew, with Cornwall winning the Carrs Land Rover trophy by 5 goals to 4 to the delight of the crowd.
Polo on the beach will return in 2015. We’re looking forward to it already.