On a warm September evening we hosted the first league game of the Sidebottom Cup 2 Goal. Originally a 6 goal tournament with the Final often played in front of a 400 strong crowd of Hospitality Action Charity guests, this year it was reformatted to a 2 goal tournament due to increased interest for this level. Smiths Polo took on Otterhouse, which proved to be a very successful start for the latter. Alex Cooper made a run to goal but was denied before the final line by Ed Walker. It was deemed a foul by the umpires and Sebastian Chialvo sent through a spot penalty. In the second, Seb added another penalty in favour of Smiths, followed by a field goal to end the chukka 3 – 0. Otterhouse fought hard but Seb once again wriggled out of their hands to score again in the third. Kim Croutear made it 5 – 0 to end the game.
Sirius were the first to score in their game against RedX. In the second chukka, RedX managed to level 1 – 1. Sirius went into the lead once again in the third chukka but RedX equalised once again in the fourth. The combined expertise of brother Tom and Marcus Collie saw Sirius just clinch the win, 3 – 2.
Summer was definitely over for the league game between RedX and Shibumi. As the players took to the field, Boundary Ground was coated in a cold mist and the sun was hidden behind thick clouds, leaving a sharp chill in the air. Amy Nizolek was the first to score for her team, but a penalty by Mark Baldwin levelled the score 1 -1. The first chukka ended in disaster for Amy when she fell, with Peter Baldwin following suit. Whilst Peter managed to dust himself off and remount, Amy was out of action with a dislocated shoulder. With Lorna Broughton brought in as a replacement, the second chukka started with a penalty by Mark, which RedX quickly responded to, 2 – 2. RedX continued to add to the scoreboard until it was 4 – 2. Robbie Slatter managed to make it 4 – 3 with a goal to end the second chukka. Mikey Howe extended the lead for RedX in the second half and a final goal by Jemima Walker ended the game 6 – 4.
It was an exciting contest between Smiths Polo and Sirius in their league match. Lisa Smith scored a fantastic goal in the first chukka, bringing the ball round to goal and sending it through at an acute angle to score. Smiths scored again in the second, but a goal by Marcus Collie put Sirius on the scoreboard, 2 – 1. A great team goal finished by Alex Cooper ended the first half 3 – 1. Smiths further extended their lead in the third, with Sirius only able to reply with a single goal, 4 – 2. However, Sirius made a comeback in the fourth, with a goal and penalty by Marcus to level the score. At the final bell neither team had managed to break the deadlock and the game finished 4 – 4.
The final league game was between Otterhouse and Shibumi. Otterhouse were the first to score but Shibumi were quick to respond and level. The following chukkas were neck and neck, with Shibumi finishing on a narrow lead in the third chukka, 3 – 2. In the fourth, Otterhouse ran out of steam and Shibumi took full advantage, scoring a further 3 goals and ending the game 6 – 2.
The day of the Sidebottom Finals was also the conclusion of the Summer 2020 Polo Season. A soft autumnal sunshine highlighted the verdant green expanse of the No1 Ground, as Smiths Polo and Sirius lined up to contest the trophy. From the hit out both teams made valiant attempts to score, but quick defences swept the ball away from the posts. Smiths Polo put up the first two goals on the scoreboard in the first, followed by Tom Collie scoring 2 – 1. Marcus Collie then sped through the traffic to level the score 2 – 2. In the second, Alex Cooper got the wrong end of the stick when a mallet caught his face and forced him to retire. Marcus Speed had a sense of déjà vu when once again he was asked to swap umpiring for playing, having replaced Rosanna Turk in the Eduardo Rojas Lanusse Sub Final the day before. Sirius made a play to go into the lead but Seb Chialvo was quick to take the ball back into Smith’s possession. He then put them in the lead with a penalty 3 – 2 in the third chukka. In his enthusiasm to score in the fourth, he took out a goal post but still succeeded, 4 – 2. With the minutes counting down, Marcus Collie put his team closer, 3 – 4 but Marcus Speed proved himself a worthy substitute, scoring 5 – 3 and concluding the game in Smiths Polo’s favour.
Shibumi and RedX played the curtain call of the Summer 2020 Season in the Sub Final. Mikey Howe sent a penalty soaring high through the uprights for RedX, with a goal by Shibumi and a great shot by Kevin Greenleaves ending the first 2 – 1. RedX stretched ahead, 5 – 1 in the second. Robbie Slatter on a quick pony made a run to goal, with Mark Baldwin behind him to finish 2 – 5. A massive shot by Mikey undid Shibumi’s hard graft, 6 – 2. Pete Baldwin attempted to bring the ball to goal but disaster struck when his stick broke leaving Kevin Greenleaves to back the ball into RedX’s possession. Shibumi kept up the pressure, with Jemima making a great run to goal, only to lose it in the ensuing melee of clattering sticks at the goal mouth. However, Mark Baldwin claimed possession and scored 3 – 6. However, Talan Dudd made the RedX win official with a 7th and final goal.
We want to express our thanks to all of our Members and sponsors, who have continued to support the Club during these difficult times, even if they have not been able to visit us this year, our staff who have worked so hard to ensure a successful Season despite many challenging obstacles and the amazing NHS and essential workers, without whom we would not have had the privilege to play a polo season at all. It is their hard work that continues to keep the country going and gives us hope for a successful 2021.
We look forward to welcoming all of you back to the Club in due course and hope in the meantime you keep safe and well.