In total, thirteen teams made the sweltering pilgrimage to Tedworth Park with players spanning all three Services, Regulars, Reserves, and even a cohort of wizened and grey-headed Veterans and following several years of consistent expansion the Royal Artillery Tournament. With four divisions to get through, it was a remarkable feat by both Tedworth Park Polo Club and the pony providers to both mount all the players and get everything done in just a single day.
Army Polo has been undergoing a real renaissance over the last five years, seeing numbers grow to such an extent that the Gunners can consistently field up to four teams, and the reappearance of Royal Signals and Royal Engineers teams for the first time in years – next year we even hope to see a REME team, as there are three spanner-jockeys currently being incubated under the nurturing wing of the RA. The Cavalry had seen their ranks thinned by operational deployments, but fortunately the Gunners were able to lend them a handful of players to raise their numbers (and their game) – can’t live with us, can’t manage without us. Unfortunately, the Infantry were unable to pull a team together for this year’s Tournament, mainly due to the same reason.
All in all, the day was a great success, all, of course, overlaid with the ever-present soothing liturgy of Colonel Simon Ledger’s commentary!
When it at last came to the prizegiving, the benefits of the Gunners’ recent training camp with Selby Williamson of Jurassic Park Polo in South Africa were clear to see, with Capts Darryn Wilson (HQ 6 Div) and Will Young (29 Cdo RA) being selected for the Army teams in the Sassoon and Rundle Cups respectively. The Army polo season continues with the Captains and Subalterns Cup on 20th-21st August, and the AGC Cup on 29th August – do please come along to support, talent scout, or just to enjoy the fray.