Maximilian Kirchhoff’s Snake Bite added their name to one of Guards Polo Club’s most prestigious trophies on Sunday – the Hildon Archie David Cup. His blue and maroon shirts came out best of the 22 teams who had entered this competitive competition, defeating Vivek Rawal’s Tashan Polo 6-4 on the Queen’s Ground.
Kirchhoff received the trophy, first played for in 1958, from Simon Prosser, Hildon’s Operations Director. His team-mate David Ashby was named The Polo Magazine’s Most Valuable Player, receiving a kit bag full of prizes, while fellow Snake Bite player, Matt Perry received the Hildon Best Playing Pony Rug and Hildon goody bag for the 14-year-old thoroughbred mare Biscuit.
These prizes, which also included Taylor Morris sunglasses for the winning team, were well deserved as Snake Bit dominated the game, leading 3-0 at the end of the first chukka, and never relinquishing the lead. Tashan Polo, distinctive in their orange colours, failed to get into the game in the first half. They made plenty of runs to goal but failed to convert them to goals. It was Daniel Otamendi who put Tashan Polo on the scoreboard just before half-time.
The second half was a more even affair, although Snake Bite’s George Deverall continued to do a great job of supporting Perry and Ashby, allowing them free runs with the ball. Tashan’s Hamza Mawaz also made the most of any opportunities that he had to break free but was unable to convert some fast play into goals. Although goals from Ashby and Otamendi in the third (4-2), ensured this was still anyone’s game going into the fourth and final chukka.
Snake Bite confirmed their intent in this final chukka, powering through a penalty at the start of the fourth. Tashan replied with a penalty, only for Perry to produce a fabulous shot to goal to give Snake Bite a comfortable 6-3 lead with only minutes of this game left. Mawaz delivered another great run up the Queen’s Ground to score, but time was now against Tashan Polo and Snake Bite, who had been beaten finalists in 2017, ran out the winners 6-4 this year.
The subsidiary final for the Caterham Cup, saw a 9-8 win for Mindi Byrne’s Tex8n Polo. Mindi’s team was retaining this trophy for the second successive year. They defeated Alexie Calvert-Ansari’s White Crane in a close match, 9-8, on The Duke’s Ground.
Guards Polo Club always plays for a third trophy on Hildon Archie David Cup Finals Day – the Claude Pert Trophy. This is played for by Guards teams which are knocked out of the main competition at the early stages. This year’s contest featured Mad Dogs and Shoreline, with victory going to Tunde Karim’s Shoreline, winning another close game 7-6.
Snake Bite: Maximillian Kirchhoff (0); George Deverall (0); Matt Perry (5); David Ashby (3). Tashan Polo: Vivek Rawal (-1); James Emlyn (1); Hamza Mawaz (3); Daniel Otamendi (5).
Tex8n Polo: Mindi Byrne (0); Kian Hall (2); Nicolas San Roman (3); Fabio Lavinia (3). White Crane: Alexie Calvert-Ansari (0); Marcus Cork (1); Andrew Blake Thomas (3); Henry Fisher (4).
Shoreline: Tunde Karim (0); Santiago de Estrada (6); Julian Drake (0); Henry Porter (2). Mad Dogs: Jeremy Pemberton (0); Charles Cooney (1); Phil Seller (2); Vieri Antinori (5).