On the 16th of July, Tomlinson Equine took on Tafia Mafia in the first league game of the Bat Cup 10 Goal. Tafia Mafia were the first to add to the scoreboard but a perfectly executed penalty by Luke Tomlinson drew the teams level at 1 – 1 heading into the second chukka. Luke made it a double with another penalty followed up by an incredible goal by the young Marcus Speed. In the third, Luke stole the ball from Dave Allen and sent through another goal making it 4 – 1. In retaliation, Allen replied with a goal of his own. In the tussle for another goal, both the ball and Felipe Massu went through the goal mouth making it 4 – 3. Once Felipe had remounted, Tafia Mafia levelled the score 4 – 4 and the pressure was on Tomlinson Equine to regain the lead they had suddenly lost in the second half of the game. The opportunity for victory was handed to them with a penalty that Luke easily scored and they won 5 – 4.
The league game between Shibumi and Specsavers was a thrilling display of excellent polo. Shibumi started proceedings with a penalty, but Specsavers were hot on their heels, with Ben Malasoma scoring, followed quickly by a goal by Mark Tomlinson. Shibumi sent through an amazing shot of their own to make it 2 – 2 but Tomlinson raced towards the goal, with Mark Baldwin breathing down his neck to make it 3 – 2. In the second chukka, Luke Wiles showed excellent control of the ball and tapped the ball in the air like he was playing tennis to make it 3 – 3. Mark Baldwin picked up the pace, sending through goal after goal until Shibumi led 6 – 3. Specsavers were given a chance to make a comeback with a penalty, which Tomlinson converted with a big hit that sent the ball flying over the trees. With the score at 6 – 4 in the fourth chukka, Wiles pressed on the accelerator and dashed past all the competition, sending through three goals one after another and giving Shibumi a healthy 9 – 4 win.
The next game was a battle of the Lukes, with the young Luke Wiles facing off against Luke Tomlinson. In the first chukka, Tomlinson scored two goals to Wiles’ one, making it 3 – 2 into the second. Wiles brought Shibumi up to 5 – 3, with a goal and a penalty 2. On a roll, Wiles played well above his 3 goal handicap, skirting past the defences to secure even more goals and left Tomlinson Equine in the dust, 8 goals to 4.
That same day, Tafia Mafia took on Specsavers for a chance at the Final. Both teams were barely a goal apart in the first half of the game, with the ball being chased from one end to another like a game of ping pong. The goals quickly added up and both teams had 3 goals apiece into the third chukka. Mark Tomlinson sent an impressive curved shot that rolled past the Tafia Mafia defences and made it 3 – 4. Two more penalties and a goal by Malasoma put Specsavers well ahead, 3 – 7. Two further penalties allowed Tafia Mafia to draw closer, 5 – 7 but Specsavers already had the momentum and they finished 9 – 5 at the final bell.
The Final for the Bat Cup did not hold back on drama, action and great polo. Early on to the game, Shibumi were given a 60yrd penalty that Luke Wiles sent through with ease. Specsavers were given a chance to do the same, however, it went wide. Tomlinson then stole the ball from Mark Baldwin and made it 1 – 1. Chagrined, Mark Baldwin scored a spectacular goal by chasing the ball from one end to the other. With Shibumi nipping at his heels, Malasoma made it 2 – 2 with a great goal of his own. Tom Beim took the ball to goal but was hooked out of it just before the posts. Luke Wiles was close behind and backed the ball into the goal, followed up with an under the neck shot by Mark Baldwin, making it 4 – 2. Another chance for Specsavers to pull closer to the opposition in the form of a penalty went wide but Malasoma made it 4 – 3 going into the fourth. Tomlinson raced to goal and attempted to back it into the goal as he charged past but it stopped dead at the goal mouth. Shibumi were the first to get to it and took it away from danger. Tomlinson tried again to claim an equalizer, fighting hard to put it through the posts, only to have Luke Wiles send it to the middle of the field and have Mark Baldwin pick it up and finish 5 – 3.
In the Subsidiary Final, Tafia Mafia aimed to make up for their earlier loss to Tomlinson Equine. Tomlinson Equine started out strong, with Emma Tomlinson securing her team a 2 – 0 lead early on. However, big hits from Max Hutchinson and Dave Allen saw Tafia Mafia overtake in the second half, 4 – 2. With the ball in his possession, Luke Tomlinson charged down the full length of the field to score 4 – 3. Tomlinson Equine reclaimed the lead in the fourth chukka, with an excellent goal at a narrow angle by Marcus Speed. It looked like they would be victorious, only to have Tafia Mafia sneak up on them to equalize 5 – 5. Both teams furiously raced around the field to claim possession and take back the lead, but the clock ran down and another chukka was required. It was Rupert Lewis, who had been substituted for the injured Ollie Jones, who secured the final goal in Tafia Mafia’s favour, to the enthusiastic cheers of his teammates.
A big thank you goes to Whatley Manor for providing prizes for the winners.