On Saturday, thousands descended onto the grounds of the Royal County of Berkshire Polo Club for the second consecutive year to attend the annual Hurlingham Polo International Day. After a fast-paced, high octane test match, which saw the great and the good of polo on the edge of their seats, GRM Argentina clinched the title of the winning team, with 14 goals to 6, to defeat Frasers England to win the historic Coronation Cup. The presentation of the Coronation Cup was made by Argentine Ambassador, His Excellency Mr Carlos Sersale di Cerisano.
Juan Britos, 26, of Argentina won the Fairfax & Favor ‘Most Valuable Player’ prize and Twitter, owned by Jim Gilmore played by Facundo Pieres won the Saracens ‘Best Playing Pony’ prize.
Royal County of Berkshire Polo Club, CEO, Jamie Morrison said of the match “What an incredible day! The great British weather has been a challenge, but we’ve seen some world class polo played here today. Whilst Argentina claim the Coronation Cup, England played brilliantly. I am very proud to have hosted the Hurlingham International at the Royal County of Berkshire Polo Club, everyone here looks to be having an amazing time. I couldn’t be happier”.
England Captain, James Beim, commented on the defeat “Argentina were the better team on the day and played some outstanding polo. The first Chukka wasn’t our best performance, so they took the lead which put more pressure on us to bring it back. We were much better in the second half, but it wasn’t quite enough. They are the best team in the world, so it was certainly a challenge”.
The day commenced with a rare ‘Through the Levels’ Masterclass with five times Olympic Gold Medallist, Carl Hester, MBE, who demonstrated the training techniques which earned him his place on the world stage in Dressage, starring dressage superstar horses Nip Tuck & Utopia.
This was followed by fantastic pre-match entertainment with saw a Handley Cross chukka played by the Pony Club who celebrated their 90th anniversary this year.
As is tradition, the polo club welcomed a renowned brass band, accompanied by solo singers who sang the national anthems for both respective countries, England and Argentina, ahead of the Coronation Cup match.
Winning team, GRM Argentina, were presented with the historic, Coronation Cup, upon defeating Frasers England. The Coronation Cup was played for in 1951 between Hurlingham and La Espandana, a visiting Argentine team. A tournament was then played in 1953 to mark HM Queen Elizabeth II’s Coronation, participants were Argentina, Chile, England, Spain and the United States. Argentina beat England in the final game, 7-6.
Hurlingham Polo Association Chief Executive, David Woodd said of the event; “If one can ignore the Argentine whirlwind in the first chukka, our team played really well, and we saw some great polo. A lot of superb ponies and 8 very talented players on a fast ground with very few stops for fouls. It is always a big day for the players and there are very few opportunities in polo for them to play for their country at that level. Against Argentina it will always be tough, and the higher the handicap, the tougher it gets. It was a fast-open game and they certainly gave those watching something to enjoy and admire.”
Guests in attendance on the day included footballing legend, John Terry and wife Toni, rock n’ roll royalty Mike Rutherford, and fashion model Kirk Newmann, who attended with his partner, Hayley McQueen (both pictured).