UKAFPA tour to the States

Published in News on 21 Sep 2017

The UKAFPA tour to the US was a shorter but equally as chukka filled, in comparison to tours in previous years.

Heading to Middleburg, Virginia the team, consisting of Major Mark Cann, Capt George Walker, Lt Paddy Selfe and OCdt Hector Fair, had one night to recover from the jet lag before being thrust into the arena.

Although the hurricanes had steered clear of this area, heavy rain over the weeks before had not, so the team spent a couple of days getting their eye in and trying ponies in the arena instead of on the grass.

This set them up well for the Twilight Series Arena polo event played at Great Meadow Polo Club on the Saturday. The evening event attracted at least 800 spectators watching from their tailgates or boxes.

With some fast, experienced plays to begin with, the US team got a couple of early goals in. However, Selfe dug out his back hand that found the stick of Fair and Walker, who took the ball up field with conviction. Cann then swapped in on the next chukkas and we saw the slightly unconventional but effective offside under the neck backhand, that he was a so keen to teach us earlier, demonstrated with aplomb and finding the goal. He was so chuffed with himself and exuded so much confidence that he barely stayed mounted for the rest of the chukka and missed a short penalty.

The well-practised and strong US team, with some strong ride offs and well-executed plays, managed to claw a couple of goals back and the final score finished with the US winning 6 goals to 3.

Unperturbed and after a relaxing evening the team headed back to Great Meadows for the main match of the tour; the National Sporting Library and Museum 7th Annual Polo Classic.

Facing Dubai in the competition the UKAFPA team did not know quite what to expect. However, having managed to get some practice chukkas on the grass the day before, the team felt well-rehearsed and keen to improve on the result of last year.

Determined to make a strong start, the team fought hard from the first line out and Walker took the ball from the front. With Fair following up the team took it into the opposition’s half and began to apply some early pressure. This resulted in a 60 yard penalty which Selfe drove high above the opposition’s goal, securing an early lead.

More positive plays, marking the opposition hard and causing them to make some early mistakes unsettled the opposition. The US team defended well preventing a couple of close goals until Cann was just too much for them and slotted a goal in.

In the second and third chukka it seemed the Brits were going to pull ahead but somehow the Dubai team managed to stop the ball before goal, allowing only one more to be scored by Selfe in another 60 yard penalty.

In the final chukka Fair had a fast run up field to convert. When the final whistle blew the score was 4 goals to 1, with a convincing victory to the UKAFPA side.”

A week of parties and polo with some significant fundraising. It was not difficult to enjoy.

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