The La Ema Polo Mallet, usually the first 4 goal tournament of the season was given a boost to 8 goals to allow play to continue within the current COVID-19 restrictions. With 7 teams entered, it was set to be a fierce competition across two weeks of play.
Shibumi faced home side Beaufort in the first league game. The first chukka started out slow, with neither team able to take control and it ended 0-0. Shibumi picked up the pace and added two goals in the second chukka, before revving their engines to gain an impressive 5 goals to Beaufort’s 2. Ed Walker finished off in fantastic fashion with the 6th and final goal for Shibumi, tapping the ball in the air all the way through the posts.
The next day, DWF were the first to add to the scoreboard in their game against Lodge Security with a penalty. Lodge Security finally gained momentum in the fourth chukka, bringing the score to 6 – 7, however, DWF held fast to end the score 6 – 9.
AW Jenkinson took the lead in their league game against Beaufort, but quickly lost it when they handed Beaufort two penalties. The second chukka remained very close, with end to end goals from both sides. A W Jenkinson then regained the lead the final 30 seconds, 4 – 3, despite the wind blowing down a goal post! The second half of the game was a very one-sided affair, with A W Jenkinson dominating, sending through goal after goal. They concluded the match with a 9 – 4 victory.
On a rather damp Thursday morning, DWF took on Smiths Polo as dark clouds rolled over the Club. Smiths Polo lead the charge, clocking up 4 goals by the second chukka against DWF’s 1, and it seemed as though they had victory in hand. However, DWF snuck up behind Smiths with two penalties in the third and a spectacular goal from Luke Tomlinson at the beginning of the fourth chukka to draw the teams level, 4 – 4. DWF stormed ahead, gaining a comfortable 2 goal lead and despite a last-minute penalty by Grant Collect, Smiths conceded defeat 5 – 6.
The following day, Silvertown Properties took on Lodge Security. Each team clocked up a steady tally of goals, ending 3 – 3 by the end of the third chukka. Young Toby Bradshaw made a great impression in his first game for Silvertown Properties, dashing about the field and being a constant menace for the opposition. Lodge Security took things up a gear in the fourth, wracking up a further 2 goals to make it 3 – 6. A last minute rally by Silvertown proved too late and they finished just short, 5 – 6.
As July continued to be unseasonably cold and a harsh wind blew across the No1 ground, it was Shibumi’s turn to face AW Jenkinson. It was a steady start, with AW claiming the first goal in the first chukka, followed by Mark Baldwin making it 1 – 1 in the second. Steady back and forth between the two teams brought the score up to 2 – 2 in the third chukka, when AW Jenkinson fired two goals in quick succession to pull ahead 2 – 4. Shibumi managed to add a further two goals to their tally to A’’s one but a wide penalty early in the 4th chukka proved costly as AW Jenkinson took the win 5 – 4.
In the next league game, Mikey Henderson executed two perfect penalties for Silvertown Properties at the start of the first chukka, giving them a strong start against DWF. By the end of the second, DWF had managed to start closing the gap 3 – 2 but a big hit through the uprights (and into the Head Groundsman’s tractor) by Max Hutchinson in the third chukka put DWF on the back foot once again. Luke Tomlinson brought his team back from the brink with a series of expertly executed penalties to 6 – 5 but the clock ran out of time and Silvertown Properties claimed victory.
The league game between Silvertown Properties and Smiths Polo was a close contest, with classic end-to-end polo. Silvertown Properties opened their account with a penalty early in the first chukka, only to have Smiths overtake them with two goals of their own. In the second chukka, big hits from Seb Chialvo and Grant Collet made it 4 – 1. Max Hutchinson then pulled off a fantastic steal to secure a goal for Silvertown, only to have Nico Antinori increase Smith’s lead 5 – 2. A penalty gave Silvertown a leg up ahead of the 3rd chukka but there was still a lot of ground left to cover. In the third, the combined effort of Toby Bradshaw and Max Hutchinson closed the gap, making it 5 – 5 and suddenly the game was slipping out of Smith’s hands. Collet secured another penalty goal, only to have Bradshaw level the score once again 6 – 6. Straight out of the gate in the fourth chukka, Antinori made a big run to goal and gave Smiths their lead once again. There was plenty of fast and heated play up and down the field, with Silvertown fighting hard as the clock counted down. Despite their best efforts, they were forced to concede a narrow defeat, 6 – 7 giving Smith’s their first victory in the La Ema.
Smiths set out to recreate their victory in their game against Lodge Security. Lashing rain dampened the mood but not their play as Nico Antinori opened their account and kept it going in the first chukka. Within a short space of time they had a comfortable 3 – 0 lead. Lodge Security found some fight to pull themselves to 3 – 4 by the end of the second, but they ran out of steam in the second half. Smiths took advantage, with Grant Collet sending big hits up the field and Antinori breaking through the opposition’s defences to finish on a final tally of 6 – 9. This secured their place in the Semi Finals to face the as yet undefeated A W Jenkinson.
The long-awaited summer sunshine finally arrived for the day of the Semi Finals. Beaufort faced Silvertown Properties for a chance in the Subsidiary Final. Max Hutchinson dominated in the first chukka, sending through textbook goals to give Silvertown a healthy 2 – 0 lead. Kelvin Johnson started Beaufort off with a penalty in the second chukka, but Mikey Henderson maintained the two goal gap for Silvertown in the third. Suddenly, Beaufort levelled with a penalty and goal of their own making it 3 – 3 into the fourth chukka. With renewed energy, George Deverall shot through Silvertown’s defenced to score and immediately attempted to repeat it, although the ball just bounced off the post. However, he was given a chance to redeem himself when interplay between Kelvin and Tom Collie meant he was handed the ball once again. This time he did not miss and put Beaufort into the lead 5 – 3. With Beaufort on a roll, not even a penalty and persistent play from Silvertown could save them and the home side won 5 – 4.
On 3 Cornered, DWF took on Shibumi for a place in the Final. DWF started out hot, scoring two goals and claiming two penalties in the first chukka. In the second chukka Shibumi kicked on and found 3 goals to end 5 – 3. In the third, Mark Baldwin sent through an impressive 90 degree hit to score, followed up by young Ed Walker bringing the score in the 3rd to 6 – 5. Shibumi levelled in the fourth, 6 – 6, and it seemed like it could go either way, but two penalties to DWF snatched away victory from Shibumi and the game finished 8 – 6.
Having claimed an impressive win in their last game, Smiths were full of confidence for their fight against AW Jenkinson. Nico passed to Seb Chialvo to score, putting their game off to a good start. A further goal from Nico and a backhand shot by Seb made it 1 – 3 going into the third. In the next chukka AW Jenkinson closed the gap, making it 3 – 3. The fourth chukka was a ferocious and thrilling battle; immediately after Jenkinson went into the lead 4 – 3, Nico chased the ball down to bring the score level once again. In his desperation to add another goal to their tally, he nearly came off his pony charging through the posts, proving his dedication to win! With two minutes left on the clock, Seb scored and Smiths looked set to be heading to the final. As the seconds counted down, the dreaded sound of a whistle cried out and AW Jenkinson were given a penalty. They easily sent it through and with the final bell ending on 5 – 5, an extra chukka was required. Both teams fought hard in the 6th chukka, with neither letting the other side retain possession for long. Smiths were given a golden chance with a penalty, but it ran just short and was claimed by AW Jenkinson. As the teams scrabbled for the ball, AW Jenkinson managed to hold on to the ball just long enough to score and they won 6 – 5.
On Sunday 12th July, AW Jenkinson took to the No1 Field to face DWF for the La Ema Polo Mallet Final. It was sad to see the bank empty of spectators, however, we were fortunate enough to have Polo Line on the side lines to capture all the action for everyone at home. The first chukka featured a lot of back and forth between the teams, but Charlie Walton managed to steal the ball from Jonny Coddington to score the first goal. In the second, Charlie made it a double with a spot penalty. With the seconds counting down, Coddington chased the ball down to goal and a foul by DWF gave Chaves the chance to make it 2 – 1 before the final bell. After half time, DWF were still on the attack and Tomlinson sent an expert shot through the traffic to score, 3 – 1. AW Jenkinson attempted to add to their score but were thwarted by the DWF defence each time and they headed into the final chukka with plenty of work still left to do. The fourth chukka was a tense battle, with neither team giving each other breathing room. Tomlinson used all of his 6 goals to weave the ball round the AW Jenkinson defence, but was suddenly disadvantaged with his stick breaking. Seeing an opportunity, Coddington tried to drive the ball towards the goal but Chaves committed a foul, handing the possession back to DWF. They nearly capitalised on this, with Walton sending the ball along the ground towards the posts, however, it went wide. AW Jenkinson, back in possession of the ball, were not keen to forego another opportunity and raced towards the goal. Tomlinson managed to steal it, but it was quickly taken from him by Henry Smith and neatly sent through the uprights by Katie Jenkinson. With 3 minutes to go and only a goal in it, tensions mounted as the teams fought to claim victory. Chaves came incredibly close to scoring, only to have Walton deny him the equalizer. DWF went to add salt to the wounds, with Walton sending the ball to Fuller who came dangerously close to scoring, but it went wide. With only ten seconds to go, it was no matter as DWF had secured their victory in the La Ema Polo Mallet Final.
Home side Beaufort took on Lodge Security for the Subsidiary Final. Injuries meant that Stuart Lodge and Dom Lodge were replaced by Ed Walker and Patrick Lodge. Dave Allen opened the account for Lodge Security with a stunning long shot down the field, sending the ball flying through the uprights. Kelvin Johnson then avoided a hook by Allen to send through a neck shot, making it one a piece. Quickly after, Freddie Jodrell took the ball at speed towards the goal and easily sent the ball through to make it 2 – 1 for Lodge Security. In the second chukka, Allen sent the ball to young Ed Walker who took it right on the goal, only for the ball to stop dead on the line. George Deverall charged forward but was travelling too quick for his backhand to stick. Ed Walker then had time to double back and finish what he had started, making it 3 – 1. Beaufort then launched their comeback; Johnson ran the ball towards the goal, with Walker hot on his heels and made it 2 – 3. In the third they followed up with a penalty 2 to level 3 – 3. Allen, not willing to give up too easily, immediately replied with an expert goal and Lodge Security were back in the lead 4 – 3. George Deverall upset things in the fourth chukka with a neat neck shot to level the score 4 – 4, and despite excellent, open play by both teams they finished on a draw.
A big thanks goes to the Emersons who kindly provided prizes for the winners.