The heavens finally opened in preparation for the Beaufort Ladies 12 – 18 Goal Victrix Ludorum following weeks of cloudless skies and blazing hot sunshine. The storm clouds cleared just in time for this hotly contested tournament, which saw some of the best female polo players in the world take to the field.
In the first league game it was the bright yellow of Maize Dulce that shone bright as they took an early lead. However, Monterosso snuffed them out, rallying to win 7 – 4. Coombe Place then dominated over Tarantula, in part due to Hazel Jackson-Goana’s impressive play, scoring goal after goal.
Tarantula would suffer another loss against Dodson & Horrell, who despite their ½ a goal handicap were conclusive victors with 6 ½ goals to 3; one courtesy of Beaufort’s own Olivia Lamphee who proved a worthy substitute. La Rosada started their campaign well with a win over Monterosso on a score of 6 goals to 2.
Thursday the 2nd August would provide an exciting and fiercely-fought contest between Dodson & Horrell and Coombe Place; having both notched up convincing victories in previous games it was a game of excellent play and an impressive score. Victory would ultimately favour Coombe Place as they claimed 9 goals to 6 ½. Maize Dulce then won over La Rosada, claiming 6 goals to their opponents’ 4.
The Semi Finals were no less exciting as Dodson & Horrell firmly secured their place in the final with a 7 – 2 win against La Rosada. The second Semi Final was a much closer affair, with Coombe Place and Monterosso remaining toe to toe throughout the match. By the end of the third chukka there was only half a goal between the teams. However, Coombe Place were not about to give up and slotted in another goal in the fourth to make it 4 ½ – 3.
As Finals day dawned the heatwave was back in full force as spectators lined the banks of the ground with picnics and prosecco in hand. Tarantula trailed behind Maize Dulce in the first half of the Subsidiary Final, leading 2 ½ – 1. However, they would turn their fortunes around in the second half to crawl all over Maize Dulce, taking their tally to 3 goals in the third chukka and adding a fourth in the concluding chukka to seal the deal. Maize Dulce failed to respond to add to their half time score finishing on 2 ½ goals to 4.
The Final produced some impressive play from both teams in a fiercely contended game that was fast paced with end-to-end play. Nina Clarkin would set-up a goal for Hannah Henderson to get proceedings underway for Dodson & Horrell, and then effectively intercepted a 60-yard penalty from Hazel Jackson-Goana who would demonstrate an accurate backhand to level the score. However, Dodson & Horrel were quick to retaliate with a text book backhand from Nina followed through by Saffy Oliver to record another goal; swiftly followed by a 30-yard penalty which Nina sent firmly and straight as a die between the uprights. It was the electric play of Nina Clarkin, who scored some notable goals including a nearside under the neck shot from an acute angle and a chance shot under her pony, as well as excellent play by Saffron Oliver that would ultimately seal triumph for Dodson & Horrell. This was despite some ferocious defensive and attacking play from Hazel Jackson, who would steal the ball from under Dodson & Horrell’s noses twice on the cusp of scoring, but could only send it wide of the uprights. Coombe Place would secure a hard-fought goal for their pride and as play concluded the score on the board showed 6 to 2 ½ in the favour of Dodson & Horrell to reap victory and revenge for their earlier defeat in the league stages.
The Club were delighted to have Women in Polo’s Sarah Wood present and provide prizes alongside delicious Pinckney’s Gin and flowers from Persephone Violet. Best Playing Pony was awarded to Nina Clarkin’s Nipas and Most Valuable Player went to Dodson & Horrell’s Saffron Oliver; both kindly sponsored by Polo Times.