The Cartier International 27 July 2008

The Coronation Cup

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It was a wonderful day, sunshine, a few dotted clouds, and International Polo - Photoscience was happy - despite a threatening abscess on a molar - owww!

Amazingly the trip to Smiths' Lawns was uneventful, up the M3 from Southampton way and there wasn't a hint of a queue as I approached Guards' Polo Club - lovely! England vs Australia a rematch from 2005 when the Aussies were victorious; well we had won The Ashes since then (ok and lost them again) done quite well in rugby (historically) and...okay...I was hoping for a win - it would be a good end to the weekend. Unfortunately I had no note-taker - D'Arcy was otherwise booked and my wife had painful and swollen ankles - so it was all down to Photoscience - so my apologies if I miss anything in my commentary.

Just because everyone will know the outcome by now - England did win - 10:9 - it is a shame the (from what I've heard) Aussie streakers' disrupted the 6th Chukka, they must have been bad losers - at least the streaker at Midhurst last year entertained the crowd during a long injury stoppage...and he kept his socks on - so we know he was English ('nough said!).

A little thought - can we get the England rugby team (and also the Scots) and the England cricket team some 'poloponies'? (apologies to Steptoe and Son) - Just a thought, it might help further successes!


The Match

3.15 pm and the parade started, young players, the teams and the hounds - then down to the business at hand - Cartier International Polo!


England lined up 1, James Beim (6); 2, Mark Tomlinson (7); 3, Malcolm Borwick (6) and Bk Luke Tomlinson (7) = 26

Australia fielded 1, Rob Archibald (6); 2, Ruki Baillieu (7); 3, Glen Gilmore (7) and Bk Damien Johnston (6) = 26

Coronation Cup slideshow (22Mb pdf)

1st Chukka - I missed the first minute of shooting as spare ponies were being warmed up, blocking my view - and joined the game as Australia were taking what seemed to be a 30 yard penalty - this didn't cross the line and a period of open flowing Polo was entered into with the majority of the field of play being used from end to end - after 4 minutes Australia's No 4 Johnston opened the scoring. England came back 90 seconds later through Mark Tomlinson to level at 1:1 at the beginning of the 6th minute; Malcolm Borwick (3) then knocked home his first 30 seconds later at the western end, where I was standing, to end the chukka 2:1 to England.

2nd Chukka - The restart saw a lovely run by Archibald (Aussie 1) and a pass to Glen Gilmore which ended in a scuffle at the England posts which was cleared by Borwick to Mark and taken wide, down to the far end where Luke converted it to take England into a more comfortable lead of 3:1 after 2 minutes. Two minutes later Mark T added a second to his score sheet and England were at 4:1 with 2 minutes to go. Australia took the initiative through a lovely run by Archibald past the North Grandstand which was completed at 5 minutes by Baillieu bringing the score to 4:2 in England's favour.

3rd Chukka - Australia again kept up the pressure bringing a further goal back after 1 minute, the second for Baillieu giving a score of 4:3 to England, but giving the appearance that England were losing some of their earlier initiative. Australia kept up their attack from the restart and the ball was cleared off the line by Malcolm and passed to James Beim, at this point, in the high speed chase, MT's mount lost some footing and Mark took a tumble in the midfield - but remounted and having changed horse continued the game. Glen Gilmore again came on the attack in the passage of play passing to Archibald, Borwick intercepted and cleared again to James who took it down the field for Luke to again convert, on the bell, to take the score at half-time to 5:3 in England's favour.

4th Chukka - We all know that Australians take their sport seriously and no-one would expect them to do anything other than come out after the interval and level the score - which they did with a little bit of style - Glen Gilmore leaving the ball for Johnston to knock in from a narrow angle after 3 minutes and then Baillieu levelling the score at the far end 90 seconds later - 5:5 and approximately 2 minutes to play in the chukka. The restart saw James Beim take the ball down the far end and over the line to give a little bit of breathing space. Baillieu took the ball from the restart and completed a nice run until leaving the ball behind, following legitimate harassment; Luke then back-handed this away and an infringement took place that led to a free ball for Australia, taken by Glen and converted on the bell by Baillieu - 6:6 at the end of the chukka.

5th Chukka - England needed to seriously find their luck and stick it to their mallets to ensure that this match didn't run away from them with the fire the Australian team had on their mounts' studded shoes - and England didn't disappoint - 3 goals in 2 minutes - the first from James - the ball looking like it was going wide of the posts and dead - scooped up and slotted away - beautiful - 45 seconds - the second by Malcolm at the far end 45 seconds later and the 3rd following the restart by Mark - a hit from about 40 yards out at 45 degrees carried across the line despite the Australian chase by Archibald and Johnston . England 9 Australia 6 but with just over 4 minutes to go in the penultimate chukka. Australia hit back, despite England having another shot from James go wide, and engaged on a long run followed by a shot at goal that was going wide before Baillieu tapped it back between the posts - England 9 : Australia 7 just before the bell.

6th Chukka - The restart saw a nice run from Malcolm Borwick through the Australian defence and a lovely neck shot past Glen Gilmore to bring England's tally to 10 with a comfortable(ish) margin against Australia's 7. From the restart Australia took the ball with Johnston having a nice run which he lost, but the back pass from Borwick to Beim was intercepted by Glen Gilmore and Archibald brought on the attack and knocked the ball straight towards the goal - somehow Luke Tomlinson got back and with a reverse neck-shot knocked the ball off the line and to safety - superb! An infringement must have taken place as a 40yard (I think) penalty was awarded which was cleared by Mark Tomlinson. The clearance was not all that clean and a slight scuffle broke out as the players on both sides tried to close their play. Rather than any penalties for the crossing of the line/turning on the ball etc, the umpires sensibly did a no-fault restart of a throw-in. Glen Gilmore got the ball and passed it to Archibald who knocked it between the posts from a fine angle for Australia's 8th with two minutes to go. After the restart Glen Gilmore got the ball before the 'numpty' streakers interrupted everyone's game...and breaking the spell of anticipation/excitement... then the game got going again and there was a lovely run to the far end and a whopping shot from quite an acute angle by Glen Gilmore and it was 10:9 to England with a minute still to go!! The final minute was one of end-to-end polo, with not a quarter given or taken before the final bell and England took their precious victory 10:9

You are welcome to download the pdf below - please remember the copyright remains with Murray

Coronation Cup slideshow (22Mb pdf)


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