UK Lifestyle Communications – 8 September 2014
Kaulai Harwood-Scorer / Olivia Gillespie
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England triumphs at the final Audi International maintaining its unbeaten record at Chester Racecourse Polo Club
Chester Racecourse Polo Club welcomed spectators to the final test match in this year’s Audi International Polo Series on Saturday 6 September. The England line-up defending the Chester International Trophy featured a familiar trio of young British talent; Max Charlton, George Meyrick and Jack Richardson under the captaincy of Tom Morley.
The Veuve Clicquot Rest of the World team attempting to deter Audi England’s third consecutive victory at Chester Racecourse Polo Club contained Richard Le Poer from Ireland, and a trio of Argentines, Guy Gibrat, Manolo Fernandez Llorente and Matias Torres Zavaleta. Due to handicap differences, the Rest of the World team was awarded half a goal advantage (see note one) before play started.
The first chukka featured end-to-end polo yet both sides struggled to have any influence on the scoreboard. It was only in the final seconds when Tom Morley succeeded in opening the scoring, adding a goal to the board for the home team and taking the score to 1–½ in England’s favour.
As the match progressed, all eight players began to find their rhythm and naturally both sides then began to play more fluent polo. Richard Le Poer was the next to find the posts, reclaiming Rest of the World’s half a goal advantage. However a mistake by Rest of the World resulted in a penalty for England.
Returning to the field for the third chukka, it was evident that neither side was willing to give anything away. England returned with a more attacking approach while Rest of the World ensured that it stayed strong in defense. Despite endless attacks from England, faultless resistance from Rest of the World meant the scoreboard remained unchanged, and at half time the score still read England 2: Rest of the World 1½.
While the players used the half time break to discuss tactics for the remaining two chukkas of play, the guests were invited on to the field in order to ‘tread-in’ the divots, following true polo tradition.
England returned for the second half with the attacking drive we had seen throughout the previous chukka. An early penalty goal scored by Jack Richardson extended its lead to one and a half, and although Rest of the World was quick to reply with a penalty goal of its own, Tom Morley produced his second goal of the afternoon to take England 4–2½ ahead just moments before the end of the penultimate chukka.
With just seven minutes left on the clock, there was certainly no obvious winner but England’s Number Three, Max Charlton, illustrated his newly appointed 7 goal status. England subsequently went on to dominate the remainder of the match, scoring three goals to Rest of the World’s one, taking the final score to 7–4½ and seemingly saving the best polo of the day for the concluding minutes. Despite strong and consistent play throughout the game, there was very little that Rest of the World could have done with such a late and explosive attack from England.
Following England’s victory, Captain Tom Morley gave an overview on his side’s performance, “It was so great to Captain the main England team for the first time at the Audi Chester International. Not only was it great to beat Rest of the World but it was also great preparation for our team before The Super Nations Tournament in China in October. Jack and George attacked very well throughout the game and Max played very well at Number Three, controlling the midfield, which meant I was able to concentrate on defending well. Our plan was to play a fast, open game and move the ball quickly, and we achieved that. We managed to step it up a gear at the end of the fourth chukka and kept that same intensity during the fifth chukka which allowed us to secure the win.”
Audi England was presented with The Diamond Jubilee Trophy for the third consecutive year along with the Audi Silver Plate. Max Charlton was awarded The Links of London Most Valuable Player Award and also The Lycetts Best Retrained Racehorse prize for his pony Taper Jean Girl while Richard Le Poer’s Jet was presented with The LDF Best Playing Pony award.
Audi England: Jack Richardson (5), George Meyrick (6), Max Charlton (6), Tom Morley (6)
Rest of the World: Guy Gibrat (4), Richard Le Poer (5), Manuel Fernandez Llorente (6), Matias Torres Zavaleta (7)
1. Team Handicaps
If the handicaps of the two teams do not match, the team with the lower handicap will receive what is called a ‘handicap start’ to compensate. In this case Rest of the World received half a goal as the combined handicaps of the Rest of the World side was 22 whereas England’s handicaps added up to 23. The amount the team receives depends on how many chukkas the match is and the total difference in handicap.
2. Polo Handicaps
Like golfers, polo players are rated using a handicapping system, with their handicap expressed as a number of goals. Polo handicaps start at -2 (the lowest rating) and go up to 10. A 10 goal achievement is something that only a handful of pla