England beat USA 19-13 in polo showpiece at Hickstead

The winning England side at Hickstead | Picture by ImagesofPolo.comThe winning England side at Hickstead | Picture by ImagesofPolo.com
The winning England side at Hickstead | Picture by ImagesofPolo.com
A strong England side lifted the Bryan Morrison Trophy after beating the USA in the Inspired International Arena Polo Test Match 19-13 at Hickstead.

Ground staff at the All England Polo Club had to work tirelessly throughout the week to ensure the fixture could go ahead, after overnight temperatures dipped to -6℃. Fortunately the arena surface stood up despite the chill, and the test match – featuring two of the highest-rated teams in arena polo – could take place.

With both the England and USA teams playing off a handicap of 24, the teams were very evenly matched, and the game remained close for the first three chukkas. The USA were the first to get on the scoreboard thanks to captain Tommy Biddle (9 goals), before England debutant Matias Amaya (7 goals) evened things up for the home side.

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By half time, England were leading 9-7, before the USA’s Felipe Viana (7 goals) levelled the score with two quick goals. Things were still tight by the end of the third chukka, with England leading by 13-11. But in the final chukka, England’s captain Max Charlton – currently the only arena polo player with the highest-rated handicap of 10 – showed off the best of his skill to pile pressure on the visiting team, while his team-mates Amaya and seven-goaler Jack Hyde also added to the England tally to see the home side run out the winners 19-13.

“It was a tough game but we just pulled ahead in the last few minutes, and got the job done,” said Charlton. “We want to thank the Americans for coming to join us and making the trip, it was a big effort so thank you very much to them.”

Tommy Biddle, who was a last-minute addition to the US line-up, added: “We played really well for three-and-a-half periods then the last half of the last chukka we fell apart and got a little loose, but it was a shame because I don’t think the score was indicative of the game. I thought it was a great game, thanks to the HPA, and to the Bunn family for their arena – it’s the best one I’ve ever played in.”

Earlier in the day, the situation was reversed with the USA Collegiate team just beating the Great Britain SUPA team in the SUPA test match, winning by 12-11. The match can be watched on demand via https://www.clipmyhorse.tv/

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