Archives from 2005

APOLOA Report For 2005

Published in News on 30 Dec 2005

2005 was a busy and pretty successful season for the Army Polo Association. There is an aspiration to create more official fixtures at all levels for all members of the Association, continue to send tours abroad and above all have as many people playing polo as possible.

The aim of APOLOA’s 2005 Mission Statement was ‘to encourage, support and organise polo throughout the Army at all levels in order to widen its membership and increase the opportunity to play the game’. 2005 has gone someway to achieving this by encouraging both new members to join and supporting those already existing players.

Membership: The level of membership during the season has been encouraging, with the Association growing to over 100, including RMAS and RAPA. A detailed breakdown enclosed at Annex A. Due to Operational Commitments and the loss of the Light Dragoons and Kings Royal Hussars, the amount of established players able to commit to polo was lower than usual, however this is an ongoing issue. The most encouraging factor has been the huge interest/ take up of Polo within traditionally non polo playing Regiments/ Corps, the RLC, AGC and 1BW are all examples. This can be directly linked to both the introduction of polo at RMAS and the continued success of basic courses run by the Tidworth Polo Club.

Fixtures: APOLOA entered a number of official teams in tournaments through out 2005 at all levels:
a. Toulston. An Army team was sent to Toulston for their four goal Tournament, the team came fifth out of eight.
b. Rundle Cup. The Army team defeated the Navy during a hard fought game.
c. Inter Regimental. APOLOAS hosted the tournament for the CSPA with The Household Cavalry Regiment winning beating RMAS 9 – 51/2 in a tight game at Guards Polo Club. The number of entries was down due to operational commitments, but the standard of polo was high.
d . Captains and Subalterns. RMAS won the Captains and Subalterns in a hugely successful tournament, comprising the AGC, 1 BW, Bovington, RDG, RMAS, Navy, RAF.
e. Cornwell Affiliates. Having beaten the Navy in the first game 2 – 1, the Army was narrowly beaten in the last 30 secs of their second match, losing 31/2 – 4 to the home side Cornwell Affiliates.

Overseas Tour:
 During 2005 and early 2006 season, APOLOA organised two official tours abroad, sending players to Argentina and Nigeria:
Argentina: APoloA sent an Official Army Team to Argentina for seven days between October 23 and 31. The tour was a training event for the more established members of the association. Official matches were organised, however at the last moment the Argentine Army were unable to field a team, however they played a series of matches at local clubs, which included a number of instructional chukkas.

Nigeria: On behalf of the CSPA, APoloA sent a four man team to Nigeria to take part in the inaugural International Military Tournament in KADUNA. two official matches were played against the South Africans and the Indian Army.
Training Days: APOLOA organised two Training Days during the season at TPC which proved highly successful. In total 20 members took advantage of the free coaching. It is the Association’s aspiration to hold one every month during the season in 2006.

Accounts: The accounts will be issued to the CSPA on completion of the Audit.

Website: APOLOA now has a website where all its information is now posted on a regular basis. All those wanting information should refer to the site. It can be accessed under ‘APOLOA’ on the CSPA site,

Conclusion: All in all 2005 was a pretty successful season, however importantly it has laid the basis for an even more successful 2006. During 2006 there is an aspiration to create more official fixtures at all levels for all members of the Association, continue to send tours abroad and above all have as many people playing polo as possible


Published in News on 29 Dec 2005

ALL at the CSPA would like to extend warm congratulations to the new Mr and Mrs Roger Martin who were married at the end of 2005.

2005 Season Report

Published in RAF on 30 Nov 2005

The Royal Air Force polo association enjoyed another active season in 2005. The fixture list was expanded again, another successful Cranwell training weekend was held, player numbers increased and standards of play improved with two players being raised in handicap.

The fixture list was increased with the addition of matches against Eton College, the RLC and Beverly Polo Club. The RAF also has matches against the RN, Rutland Polo Club, a Cav team and Millfield School as well as taking part in fixtures at Ascot Park and Orchard Polo Club and participating in the Captains and Subalterns tournament. All games were competitive and highly enjoyable. Of particular note was an excellent performance by emerging players over the Captains and Subalterns weekend.

Another very successful training weekend was held at RAF Cranwell in early May allowing all players to get together for intensive training as well as matches and a full social programme. Some 13 players were able to intend and the Services of an HPA coach were employed for the whole weekend. It was an enjoyable and very valuable exercise and one which we intend to repeat this year.

A very useful link has been forged between RAF Cranwell and Rutland Polo Club with an increasing number of RAF personnel receiving instruction and taking part in chukkas at Rutland Polo Club. The efforts of Flt Lt Dave Black in all of these activities must be recognised as a major influence in their success. The training courses provided by Tidworth Polo Club continue to be well used by RAF personnel. Tidworth represents the gateway to Polo for many Service players and long may it continue to do so.

Group Captain Tim Brown was selected to play for the CSPA against the touring American team in the Indian Cavalry Officers Trophy. 

Arrangements are already in hand to undertake a winter training tour to South Africa. This is due to take place in Feb/Mar 06.

Polo continues to grow in the RAF. Numbers involved have increased and there are more fixtures with greater opportunities for new players. The profile of the sport has risen within the Service and playing standards are gradually improving. We look forward to maintaining the momentum in 2006 and enjoying another wonderful season of polo.ordination and rapid manoeuvre needed for polo were similar to those necesssary for aerial combat.

Army Polo Association Newsletter – Autumn 2005

Published in Army Polo on 30 Nov 2005

1. The season has now drawn to a close and the autumn newsletter not only looks back over the summer, but more importantly looks forward to the 2006 season.

2. Website
APOLOA is entering the 21st Century and can now be accessed on the web, the intention being to generate a paper free environment!!!!! Members and those interested in the Association can access all the information they require from the website. Over the next few months all information, results, articles, photographs and entry forms can be downloaded, reducing the need for constantly changing distribution lists. If you wish to put something onto the site you need to contact APOLOA Secretary Capt Mark Dollar or CSPA Director Mark Cann.

3. Membership
The Association this year had over 100 members with 70 actively playing, this is great and very encouraging for the next couple of years. A large proportion of those who have started this year have done so through word of mouth and all members are encouraged to continue spreading the word.

4. Results
During the season, APOLOA has played a number of matches at different levels:
a. Toulston. An Army team was sent to Toulston for their annual 4 goal Tournament. After coming up against some very strong opposition, the first game was lost by 1 goal, the second game the Army beat Perth Polo Club and on the final day a disappointing display resulted in the team coming fifth out of eight Teams. A very enjoyable weekend was had by all and our thanks go out to Jim Haigh for inviting the team.
b. Rundle Cup. The Army team defeated The Navy during a hard fought game.
c. Inter Regimental. The Household Cavalry Regiment won The Inter Regimental, beating RMAS 9 – 51/2 in a tight game at Guards Polo Club. The number of entries was down due to operational commitments, but the standard of polo was high.
d. Captains and Subalterns. This year’s tournament was split into two parts, allowing the less experienced teams to compete evenly. RMAS won the main competition with the RAC Centre winning the Cup for the Plate. to the 2006 seasonThe format worked very well and will be repeated next year. The teams that took part were: Navy, RAC Centre, Bovington, RMAS, RAF, The Black Watch, Royal Dragoon Guards, AGC/ Army Legal Service.
e. Cornwell Affiliates. Having beaten the Navy in the first game 2 – 1, the Army was narrowly beaten in the last 30 secs to the Sponsors Team losing 31/2 – 4.

5. Training Day
During the summer there have been two training days at the Tidworth Polo Club, coached by Martin Ffrench-Blake. In total of 20 people benefited, at all different levels, with a lot more unable to attend. It is the intention during the 2006 season to hold a similar event every month during, dates etc will be accessed through the web.

6. Tours.
a. Tour to Argentina. Full Report to follow.
b. British Forces Foundation (BFF) Tour to USA. three APOLOA members took part in the BFF Tour to the USA this September ( Lt Vestey RHG/D, 2Lt Kaye KRH and 2Lt Hicks KRH). For the first time in a number of years the British won the Commonwealth Cup, the highly coveted US Trophy. The full report detailing the tour can be found on the CSPA Website.
c. Tour to Nigeria. The Nigerian MOD has formally invited a UK military team to play in their international military tournament between 11-16 Jan 06. Likely teams are India, Pakistan, USA, UK, Australia and Nigeria. The team handicap is between 4-6 goals, any plus goal handicapped players wanting to go should contact me ASAP.

7. Sponsorship
Nothing definite to report, however negotiations are ongoing with a number of potential sponsors for the Association and it is looking very positive and exciting. If talks prove successful, then the benefits will be considerable and the level of support to players will grow considerably.

8. Fixtures for 2006
During the next couple of months work will be ongoing for the 2006 season, however it is intended to enter a number of new tournaments and generate some additional fixtures. This will be spread through out the association, giving all players the chance to play for the Army. There will be more at the AGM.

9. AGM
The AGM will take place on Fri 24 February at a location TBC. The Agenda and all other relevant information will follow shortly (ON THE WEB)!

Army Tour To Argentina

Published in Army Polo on 29 Oct 2005

It has been some time since an official touring team, from any of the three services visited Argentina. However, at the end of October, four members of the Army Polo Association were lucky enough to be picked to represent the APOLOA and spend a week playing at the El Retiro Polo Club, 45 minutes north of Buenos Aires. The team was to comprise of Major Michael O’Dwyer Irish Guards, Major Jamie Hayward Scots Guards, Major Rupert Lewis RHG/D and Craftsman Ryan Collett REME.

Three members of the team, Majors O’Dwyer and Hayward and Craftsman Collett all met on Sunday afternoon to catch the flight to Buenos Aires, via Washington DC. Major Lewis was due to join the team out there, as he was needed on parade for the King and Queen of Norway’s State Visit on the following Tuesday. Unfortunately the team encountered its first and only drama on the tour. Craftsman Collett was unable to fly due to his passport not been compatible with recent upgrades in the customs and immigration procedures of passengers transiting through the States. After much negotiation, Craftsman Collett’s ticket was changed to the Tuesday flight and Majors O’Dwyer and Hayward travelled on. That evening, to compound the problem, Craftsman Collett unfortunately went down with pneumonia and was ordered not to fly by his doctor.

Fortunately the Chairman of the APOLOA was able to wield a little bit of power and unending charm to secure the services of 2nd Lt Philip Kaye, who is currently on his Troop Leaders’ course in Bovington. Thus on Tuesday both Major Lewis and 2nd Lt Kaye flew to Argentina to make up the rest of the team.

With the team now complete in country, the tour got under way in earnest. Marcos Llambias, host for the week and owner of El Retiro Polo Club, had put together a full and exciting programme of stick and balling, practice chukkas, three matches and visits to Hurlingham Country Club to watch the Hurlingham Open, Argentina’s second most important Polo tournament. Of course, for the younger members of the team, nights out in Buenos Aires were also on the agenda.

For the first couple of days the team got down to the business of trying and selecting horses for the matches. Marcos very kindly produced upwards of 30 horses and, by the end of the second day, the team had chosen their favourites and felt well mounted for the forthcoming matches.

The first was a round robin match against the El Retiro Polo Club team and a visiting team from a local club. The matches could not have been closer and ended in draws all round. Naturally after the match everyone adjourned to the club house for light refreshments and prize giving.

The second match was held at a private field 40 minutes from El Retiro, on a small estancia called La Florida owned by Miguel Garcia Labougle. The field was undoubtedly the best any of the team had ever played on (better than even the Hurlingham Open fields) and as a result the polo was both fast and exciting. Again a round robin, they acquitted ourselves very well putting together some good team polo, ending up the overall winners, winning by one goal in the first match and five in the second.

Following the polo they all, including family and friends, gathered for a superb asado (an Argentina BBQ). At this point the La Florida team, made up of four older, but no less competitive, players challenged the team to a return match on the following Monday. The chance to play a straight six chukka match on a near perfect field was too good an opportunity to miss.

Thus, in order to not over do the horses, Sunday’s programme was changed from a match in the morning and afternoon to a single four chukka round robin in the morning back at El Retiro. Again the players were able combine well as a team and ended up winning both matches by the slightest of margins.

And so to Monday, the final day, and the day of the much talked about return match at La Florida. Having only beaten La Florida by one goal over three chukkas on Saturday the players knew that we would have to work even harder if they were to win again. They started well and took an early lead, however never ahead by more than two goals. As the game wore on experience seemed to pay and their number three, Miguel Lalor, a former six goal player, and a massive hitter of the ball was able to convert a couple of sixty yard penalties to lead at the final whistle by one. Despite losing it was very enjoyable and hard fought game, where as a team, they played well and relished the chance to play on such a lovely field and in such beautiful surroundings.

After the game the APOLOA side were very kindly hosted by Carlos Agote’s, their number one, to an asado at his estancia a short distance away. It could not have been a more perfect way to end the tour. Post match analysis, between polo players from opposite sides of the Atlantic, with different languages and over a numerous bottles of 20 year old vintage Argentine wine, should be what polo is all about. During the friendly banter it was pointed out by Santiago Lannusse, La Florida’s number four, that over nine chukkas it was still a draw and he therefore decided that there be a rematch next year.

The team would like to thank all those, both in Argentina and the UK, who helped make this tour so memorable and enjoyable. A very special thanks must go to Marcos and his family, who welcomed the players into their beautiful house and looked after them like they were family. Congratulations must also go to Major O’Dwyer who, whilst out in Argentina, received news of his selection to be the next Commanding Officer of the Irish Guards. Lets hope that polo in the Irish Guards flourishes under his command.


Cadillac Commonwealth Cup

Published in News on 11 Sep 2005

THE British team achieved an outstanding victory to lift the Commonwealth Cup for only the fourth time in the past 20 years. Their strength and aggression rocked the home-side and they had the edge at crucial moments in the game.

SPONSORED by Virginia Commerce Bank, a strong and competitive British Forces Foundation (BFF) team achieved a remarkable victory in the Cadillac Commonwealth Cup at Olville, Virginia, in September.

They took the trophy from their hosts for only the fourth time in the twenty-year history of the tournament.

Three of the visitors – Ben Vestey, Philip Kaye and Quentin Hicks – are all young Army officers while the fourth, Mark Cann, had a military career before becoming director of the BFF.

They spent a week touring Virginia, to promote the BFF and prepare for the big game, which was held in front of around 4,000 spectators.

The match was the fulcrum of a large fundraising. effort that saw over $150,000 donated to the Goochland Fellowship and Family Service. It was also one of the best games in the history of the contest, the BFF, on University of Virginia horses, starting the strongest and scoring three quick goals in the opening chukka.

The strength and aggression of the British rocked the opposition, and at half-time the score was 6-3. Things were closer in the second half but the BFF always seemed to have the edge at crucial moments.

A spot penalty from Vestey, from behind the half-way line through the middle of goal at the end of the fifth chukka, must have made the Americans feel it was not their day.

Every player contributed on both sides, Philip Staples proving hard to pass in the US defence, hitting big backhands and stopping and clearing cleanly no less than three penalties. Juan Salinas Bentley was a powerful as ever, scoring fast counter-attacking field goals; while Taylor Dameron and Gary Leonard also contributed to the Commonwealth squad total.

The ‘Brits’ were very focused, with Kaye making a magnificent job of marking Salinas and, with Hicks, breaking fast. Vestey was the skilful playmaker and co-ordinator of all attacks, with Cann solid in defence.

The sixth chukka was a nervous affair, with the Americans fighting hard and coming back into the game, until Cann made up for an earlier miss from close range by scoring off an excellent pass from Vestey – giving him his first victory in six attempts.

The crowd appreciated a very entertaining match, brought alive by the witty commentary of Tom Hulfish.

Tom co-ordinated, together with Juan Salinas Bentley, the rest of the BFF tour, which saw the visitors play an arena game at Great Meadow, winning 7-6; grass games at Buckland Farm and Font Royal, at which they were also victorious. They tripped up at Virginia Beach, after being hosted grandly by Bart Frye, but the game also drew a large crowd and raised $30,000 for local children’s charities.

Click here for a personal view of the tour

Chapple Cup Series

Published in News on 16 Jul 2005

THIS year the CSPA faced up to a strong touring team from the Eastern Circuit United States Polo Association. For the first time ever all hinged on the final game of this three-match series at Guards Polo Club, with the first match being drawn and the second going in favour of the CSPA.

FOR the first time in its history the Chapple Cup series was taken to the wire, as the Eastern Circuit United States Polo Association threatened to wrestle the Cup from the CSPA.

However, having never the lost the series before the CSPA weren’t willing to give it up just yet. Having drawn the first match and romped to victory in the second, they managed to scrape the third by just half a goal – and remain undefeated.

The series got off to an intriguing start at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst Charity Polo Day. It was a very even match, reflected in the 5-5 scoreline, with the main battle between the CSPA’s Lt Vestey (4) and ECUSPA’s Juan Salinas-Bentley (3).

It was a different story two days later at Tidworth Polo Club on Rundle Cup Day when the sides met in the second match of the series, this time for the ICOA Trophy.

The CSPA were boosted by the inclusion of HRH The Prince of Wales and O/Cdt Wales who gelled fantastically with Gp Capt Brown and Lt Vestey. The team proved far too strong for the touring side with Gp Capt Brown hitting some brilliant goals. The final score was 10-4 to the CSPA.

So the stage was set for a thrilling climax at Guards Polo Club for the third and final game of the Chapple Cup series, the United Services Cup. If ECUSPA could post a big enough victory they would go home with the honours; the CSPA needed at least a draw to ensure their unblemished record stayed intact.

The game proved very tight and there was just half a goal in it at the final bell – the CSPA clinching the series 2-0.

Inter-regimental Cup Final

Published in News on 12 Jul 2005

THE Household Cavalry Regiment and Royal Military Academy Sandhurst battled it out to lift the coveted Inter-Regimental Cup Guards Polo Club. It was a welcome return to Guards after a number of years absence and the day was heralded a huge success by sponsors, spectators and organisers alike.

THE oldest polo competition in the world made a very welcome return to Guards Polo Club this year – and was immediately hailed as one of the greatest finals ever.

The excitment and anticipation which built up before the game was equally matched by some thrilling play on the field.

It was a clash between the Household Cavalry Regiment and Royal Military Academy Sandhurst – and was a far closer game than the final score suggests.

RMAS were without O/C Wales, who had royal duties to fulfil, but the team proved the strength in depth at the Academy through O/Cs Nigel Anderson (0), Quentin Hicks (1), Jack Mann (2) and Philip Kaye (1).

However, they were up against an exceptionally strong side from The Blues and Royals (RHG/D). The team were Capt James de St John Price (-1), Capt Rupert Lewis (1), Lt Ben Vestey (4) and Capt Mark Dollar (2).

“The standard of polo was exceptionally high,” said Lt Col Simon Ledger, Chairman of the Army Polo Association, who has commented on every Inter-Regimental Cup final for the past ten years.

“The Household Cavalry Regiment ran out winners by nine goals to four and a half, although the game was much closer than the score suggests.”

It fell to Lt Col Ledger to award a special trophy and new polo stick to the player he thought had played the best according to their handicap. The honours went to O/C Philip Kaye who had a great game, with one particular moment catching the judge’s eye. On the back-hand, at full gallop, O/C Kaye cleared the ball off his own goal line, knocking it 50 yards to save a certain goal.

Lt Col Ledger said about the day: “We were determined to return this competition to Guards (the first time since the Foot and Mouth crisis four years ago), attract a decent sponsor and stress the importance of Inter-Regimental Cup final which has been going since 1858.

“There was a large crowd and it was a real fun day. I’m thrilled with how things went and we look forward to being back at Guards next year with the Inter-Regimental Cup final and the last game in the Chapple Cup series.

Rundle Cup

Published in News on 08 Jun 2005

THE Army and Royal Navy clashed at Tidworth Polo Club in the annual spectacle that is Rundle Cup Day. For the past three years the Navy have walked away with the spoils but this year the Army, which had called on players from all over, were not going to let them have it all their own way.

THE Royal Navy’s recent domination of the Rundle Cup came to a crushing end at Tidworth Polo Club.

The holders failed to click and the Army took full advantage winning the game by seven goals to three.

This year the side was truly representative of the Army. Cfn Collett (1) serves with REME, Capt Eyre-Brook (0) is with the 9/12 Lancers based in Germany, Lt Col Stanhope-White (1) is in the RLC at Tidworth and Maj Hayward serves with the Scots Guards at Windsor.

Most of the victorious team had played together at Ascot Park the week before and that cohesion showed in their performance.

Teams For CSPA Fixtures July 2005

Published in News on 01 Jun 2005

TEAMS have been selected by Chairman CSPA to play in the fixtures at Sandhurst, Tidworth and Guards this July. Players are reminded that this is a selection for the Combined Services and should be regarded as such when prioritising other commitments. Any player unable to fulfil his/her selection should notify Mark Cann on 07802 815 294.