Some great teamwork from Shalimar resulted in them winning the Hildon Archie David Cup at Guards Polo Club, defeating Snake Bite 8-5 in a thrilling final. Patron Kassem Shafi received the UK’s leading 8-goal championship trophy from Hildon’s James Burston and Samantha Greatbanks.
Played as a tribute to Hildon founder Christian Heppe, a life playing member of Guards Polo Club who died last year, this sponsorship is the next chapter of Hildon’s long-standing relationship with Guards Polo Club. Hildon also requested that finals day was a fundraiser for the Nicolls Spinal Injury Foundation (nsif). An auction over lunch raised some £7,000, while the day’s raffle was still being totted up at the time of writing.
Vieri Antinori showed Shalimar’s intent from the first minute, firing through a goal in less than 60 seconds. Team-mate Milly Hine, who was later named The Polo Magazine Most Valuable Player, repeated this feat in the second minute, giving Shalimar a lead which they never relinquished.
Maximillian Kirchhoff’s Snake Bite were equally competitive – resulting in some fast, flowing polo on The Queen’s Ground, but they failed to convert some good runs to goals. Meanwhile, teenagr Milly Hine was playing well above her handicap and had no qualms in riding off some higher-handicapped opposition.
Nick Pepper kept Snake Bite in contention, well supported by David Ashby, but Shalimar’s 6-3 lead going into the fourth and final chukka was a tough one to overcome. Ashby started this chukka with a penalty and Pepper, who later received the Hildon Best Playing Pony prize for the 10-year-old Patsy, shot through a field goal, but it was not enough. Milly Hine produced another successful race to goal – despite Thomas Coid’s best efforts to stop her. Nico Roberts, who last week had been a member of the winning Royal Windsor Cup team, confirmed Shalimar’s dominance by firing through a 60-yard penalty – the final goal of the match – with only two minutes remaining on the clock.
The sub final, for the Caterham Cup, was equally competitive. Not surprising as 26 teams had entered this year’s Hildon Archie David Cup competition, ensuring that all those entered had to be at their peak for every game. This Caterham Cup match saw a 7-5 win for Mindi Byrne’s Tex8n Polo. The Chairman of the Hurlingham Polo Association, Stephen Hutchinson’s Tayto team started strongly, but some great team-work from D’Artagnan Giercke, Nico San Roman and Nicolas Fontanarrosa put Tex8n ahead by half time. Tayto fought back strongly in the second half, but Tex8n Polo kept their cool to win through.
A hallmark of the Archie David competition is that the Guards teams that are knocked out after the league stages can play for the Claude Pert Cup. This year’s cup final featured Mo Sheikh’s BHC Polo and Stefan Sund’s Previse Polo Team. Sund’s boys came out best in this match, winning the Claude Pert 9-7.
Shalimar: Kassem Shafi (0); Milly Hine (0); Vieri Antinori (5); Nicolas Roberts (3). Snake Bite: Maximillian Kirchhoff (0); Thomas Coid (1); Nick Pepper (4); David Ashby (3).
Tex8n Polo: Mindi Byrne (-1); D’Artagnan Giercke (1); Nicolas San Roman (3); Nicolas Fontanarrosa (5). Tayto: Stephen Hutchinson (0); Rupert Lewis (2); Shaun Brokensha (3); Freddie Horne (3).
Previse Polo Team: Stefan Sund (0); Mark Hayden-Kellard (1); Leon Allen (2); Matt Perry (5). BHC Polo: Momin Sheikh (0); Louisa Donovan (0); Temur Nadeem (2); Jack Richardson (6).