Dark blues overwhelm Cambridge and smash 105-year record, while Harvard dominate Yale in Atlantic Cup
Oxford University Polo Team were on devastating form on The Princes' Ground yesterday, defeating their old rivals, Cambridge 19-0 in a fast-paced, four-chukka match on La Martina Varsity Day. All four Oxford players were on fire and the Most Valuable Player judges had difficulty choosing which of these four sharp-shooting players should receive this accolade. It went to George Pearson, the captain of Oxford, who steered his team to this remarkable and historic victory.
Oxford might have thought about taking their foot off the gas in a chukka or two to allow Cambridge, who played well, but just couldn't convert some strong play into goals, to get back into the game, but Oxford were on a different mission. The record for the highest score in a Varsity match, which has been played since 1877, was 19-1 in 1911. So once Oxford were 8-0 up at half-time they realised they had a chance of beating that record. This they did, shooting through the 19th goal in the final seconds of the game.
Not only were Oxford's players impressive - this year the university fielded a two-goal team compared to Cambridge's -5-goal squad - but their pony power was superior too. Vere Harmsworth received the La Martina Best Playing Pony rug from La Martina Europe Managing Director Enrico Roselli for the nine-year-old Whisper.
Oxford also dominated the Old Blues game with Guards Polo Club Board Director Konstantin Graf von Schweinitz shooting through five goals to see Oxford defeat Cambridge Old Blues 7-5.
The other winners on this day were Harvard in the Atlantic Cup. They overwhelmed their Ivy League rivals Yale 7-1. Yale started this game strongly and were leading 1-0 at the end of the first chukka. Then Harvard's Johann Colloreda-Mansfield rode onto the ground - he had been delayed on his journey to Smith's Lawn - and immediately turned this game around. Harvard, which were the stronger team on handicap, were 5-1 up at the end of the second and never looked back.
It is traditional that these matches are played open and so both Cambridge and Yale were hampered by the substantial difference in team handicap. That said though, both Harvard and Oxford were deserved winners. These two teams produced some strong polo which is a great advert for the health of university polo both here in the UK and the USA.