Varsity Polo Match

Cambridge trounces Oxford at Polo Varsity, reports OLI LAWRENCE.

alex rose david ponting horse riding horses james marshall jamie hepburn polo polo varsity Riding Sam Brown varisty

The 2012 Polo Varsity match was possibly the finest example of dark blue trashing for several hundred years.

Despite a difficult lead up to the match due to poor weather conditions the light blue side were on top form thanks to the resourcefulness of the team’s weather beating tactics. Cambridge went in to the historic match the underdogs with a poor track record in recent years but after intense training both in this country and abroad a stronger team than ever before was put forward. The two veterans, Alex Rose playing at 3 and Jamie Hepburn, at 4, had both played in the last 3 varsity matches. They were accompanied by the baby of the squad, Sam ‘skid mark’ Brown, and the last minute surprise player up front: James Marshall.

James Marshall takes a tumble

Superb team play and support from behind led to a 13-2 victory with 8 goals including converted penalties from Sam Brown. James Marshall had a few grievances with gravity and hit the ground at high velocity on several occasions in a dubiously tactical manner, while both players at the back held their nerve and delivered calm defensive play.

From the off the aggressive play of Cambridge put Oxford onto the back foot with 5 goals in the first chukka. A strong Oxford team talk brought the dark blues 2 hard earned goals but some strong ride-offs and accurate backhands from the Cambridge 1 and 2 up front turned any defensive play to tatters. Chukkas 3 and 4 saw the goal margin increased with some enormous shots from the back from Jamie Hepburn and Alex Rose outweighing impressive individual play on behalf of Oxford’s Tom Meacher.

Cambridge ride out against the Dark Blues

Sideline antics naturally ensued: a certain Swedish committee member normally held in high regard for her meek and mild behavior exposed most of herself to the Yale team while riding in a dress. Yale went onto win, no doubt encouraged by this phenomenal show.

Cambridge Old boys also performed well with a win despite poor ground conditions and Eton trounced Harrow.

Lifting the Cup

Many thanks go to the Cambridge Polo club’s sponsors EFG International for supporting the team throughout the year and to Jack Wills for hosting the match day and casually flying both Harvard and Yale teams across the Atlantic. A special mention must also go to the team coach Dean Thomas who stood by the team with his typically aggitated enthusiasm through the highs and lows of their preparation.


Photos courtesy of David Ponting