Tale of Autumn and Farewell at Cowdray polo fields

Lila Pearson and Peter Barfoot at the Autumn Cup presentation
Lila Pearson and Peter Barfoot at the Autumn Cup presentation

Ten teams contested the popular Autumn Cup, the last of Cowdray Park Polo Club’s six annual HPA tournaments.

Making it through to the final were Peter Barfoot’s Maiz Dulce and Simon Arber’s Four Quarters Orange teams.

We won all our matches through the tournament and the team played well with new member Tomas Iriarte just getting on with the job. It’s a lovely end to a good season for us.

Peter Barfoot

Four Quarters Orange had Simon Arber at No1, Tristan Wade (two goals) at No2, Federico Boudou (four goals) at No3 and six-goal team regular Tom Morley at back.

Peter Barfoot, at back for Maiz Dulce, was joined by two-goal player Jack Berner at No1, Glenn Sherriff (five goals) at No2 and newcomer Tomas Iriarte (five goals) at No3.

Four Quarters made a brisk start with Boudou giving them an early lead – but from the line-out Barfoot sent a good ball to Berner who replied with a neat goal.

Berner’s super high shot zoomed between the tops of the goal posts to take Maiz Dulce into the lead.

Chukka two saw the lead wiped out when Maiz Dulce gave away a penalty enabling Boudou to make it 2-2. Morley created the next goal when he left the ball for Boudou who outwitted Sherrif to claim his third and the lead for Four Quarters Orange.

After half-time, Four Quarters looked like they meant business with Boudou and Morley interacting well. Despite interference from Maiz Dulce’s IIriate, Morley was rewarded with his first goal.

Maiz Dulce could see it was time to put on the pressure. This provoked a foul by Four Quarters, neatly converted by Sherriff to reduce Four Quarter’s lead to 4-3.

Maiz Dulce were on the move and another foul gave Sherriff the chance to send through a 40 yard penalty shot and equalize on 4-4.

The fourth chukka opened with a penalty shot for Four Quarters which went wide.

An infringement gave Maiz Dulce a hit from the centre. The ball was tapped forward, passed and Iriarte found the opening to the goalposts and the score was 5-4 in Maiz Dulce’s favour.

From the throw-in Boubou raced away with the ball only to send it wide, but suddenly Four Quarters were in possession again and Boubou didn’t miss.

It was 5-5 and extra time was required. Chukka five opened with a throw-in and Berner grabbed it, Iriarte passed and Sherriff had made the deciding goal for Peter Barfoot’s first-ever victory in the 12-goal Autumn Cup.

He said: “We won all our matches through the tournament and the team played well with new member Tomas Iriarte just getting on with the job. It’s a lovely end to a good season for us.”

Lila Pearson presented the Autumn Cup to Barfoot and an array of prizes to both teams from sponsor Casablanca. The Polo Times award for best playing pony went to Snip, owned by Glenn Sherriff and played by Jack Berner, who also received The Polo Magazine’s award for most valuable player.

The last tournament of Cowdray Park Polo Club’s season is the six-goal Farewell Cup, which dates back to the 1960s. In the 2015 final Jon Forsyth’s Home Farm faced Andrew Swaffield’s Alcedo.

A lively and entertaining match saw the Home Farm team steadily gain the lead and the fourth chukka opened with Home Farm 6-3 up, but a tenacious performance by one-goaler Jack Taylor saw him pull back two goals for Alcedo, while Home Farm failed to put a mark on the scoreboard.

The final score was a close 6-5 to Home Farm and the historic trophy was presented to Jon Forsyth by Erica Robinson who also presented prizes to all players.

The award for best playing pony, presented by Lila Pearson, went to Caparta, owned and ridden by Kelvin Johnson.

LIZ HIGGINS

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