Great Start to the Summer at Ham Polo Club
Story by Benjamin Davis Photography by Celine M-P Genonceau
Polo is underway at Ham Polo Club, London’s only remaining venue for polo, marking the start of another exciting season. Established in 1926 Ham is one of the most historic clubs in the UK; it was the first club to restart polo after the sport ceased to exist in England during World War II and has carried on playing ever since.
The grounds, nestled below Richmond hill, are still overlooked by the beautiful Jacobean Ham House and when at the club its hard to believe you are only seven miles from Hyde Park Corner. Ham also boasts one of the largest and most lively clubhouses to be found at any polo club in England. Due to the location weekend matches draw a fantastic crowd of enthusiastic supporters and polo followers. On a sunny day with the clubhouse full and the sidelines at capacity with picnickers the atmosphere at Ham is quite unlike any other club.
Sunday polo began last weekend under blue sky and with the largest crowd of spectators we’ve ever seen at the first day of the season. The Number 1 Ground was possibly in the best condition it has ever been. A combination of the hot weather and just the right amount of water from the irrigation system meant that the horses ran perfectly and the ball hardly ever bounced. Sunday's trophy was the Pat Erskine Trophy, donated by the Erskine family. The Erskines have been long standing members of Ham and their trophy will be played for on the first match of every new season. The first game was between Los Dientes and AES International. Each team featured a 3 goal professional player, Santi Boudou for Los Dientes and Charlie Wood for AES. Boudou had an impressive game showing off the new ponies he has brought to England from his own breeding program in Argentina. Los Dientes were the eventual winners and were presented with bottles of Champagne from Ham’s 2013 prize sponsor Frerejean Freres.
The second game between Tiger Stream and Cavaliers made full use of the fantastic playing surface. The combination of Ibrahim Pataudi and his uncle Ba Pataudi worked well for Tiger Stream however in the second chukka Cavaliers put their foot down and went 4 goals into the lead. No scores for either team in the third chukka meant Cavaliers went into the fourth with a significant advantage.
Cavaliers were the victors, however the score line disguised what had been an excellently contested game and tremendous fun for both the players and the ponies to be in.
1. 2013 Polo season in U.K. kicked off...Champagne!
2. HPC the London Polo Club chairman Nicholas Colquhoun Denvers
3. Sam Instone at HPC the London Polo Club
4. Lucie Dowie vs Benjie Davis at HPC the London Polo Club
5. Ibrahim Pataudi at HPC the London Polo Club
6. 2013 Polo season in U.K. kicked off...Champagne!