Seaford College performed exceptionally well at the Schools and Universities Polo Association’s senior schools arena nationals polo tournament at Rugby Polo Club.
It is the biggest tournament for schools in the UK during the winter, with 50-plus schools taking part, including some of the biggest schools in the polo world.
This was the first polo tournament Seaford College had taken part in and both teams rose to the challenge, with one team winning their division and the other coming third.
The A team beat Rugby 3-1 and Felsted 6-0 then played the Seaford B team in the final league game to set up the league win.
Seaford A comprised Bartholomew Baker (Year 10), Cally Nugent (Yr 12) and Martha Crosdil (Yr 10). Seaford B were Isabel Anderson, Andrea Aranda and Rosey Grant (all Year 13).
Matthew Pitteway, in charge of polo at Seaford, said: “Polo, for the current Seafordians, began last summer when I took 20 beginners out for their very first lesson at Cowdray Park Polo Club, midway through the summer term.
I am absolutely thrilled that in just over six months the pupils have gone from never having played to winning a national tournament.Matthew Pitteway
“Following this, we had eight regular outdoor players and then, when we moved indoors for the arena, that core group became cemented.
“I am absolutely thrilled that in just over six months the pupils have gone from never having played to winning a national tournament.
“The standard of polo was fantastic and we had to play hard every game to win. It was a really great day and a perfect opportunity to put ourselves up against some of the biggest schools in the polo world.”
Seaford College pupils attended their first polo taster session at Cowdray Park’s Polo Academy less than nine months ago. Regular extra-curricular lessons from former professional polo player and qualified Hurlingham Polo Association coach Guy Verdon and dedication from pupils and Pitteway ensured rapid progress, resulting in the formation of two teams, with some team members developing from non-riders.
The pupils all played with prowess, demonstrating knowledge and skills suggesting significantly greater experience than actually held, with an impressive number of goals scored.
Verdon said: “Seaford College polo teams should be extremely proud of their hard work and achievement. I certainly am.
“To win a Championship tournament is tremendous, to win in these circumstances is exceptional.
“It is the satisfaction of introducing new players to the sport and observing their progress and ultimate pleasure at moments like this, that makes teaching at the Cowdray Park Polo Club Academy so gratifying.”
It was in fact a double success for teams coached by Cowdray Polo Academy, with Langley Abbey School, Norfolk, also victorious in their section, intermediate three. Again their team played cohesively, winning all three of their chukkas, only conceding one goal.
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