Skip to content
Recruiting now.Explore navy careers

Rundle Cup at Tidworth Polo Club

Rundle Cup at Tidworth Polo Club
19 July 2016
Polo, trade stands and top drawer entertainment drew record crowds to Tidworth Polo Club for Hackett Rundle Cup day 2016

Summer reappeared at Tidworth Polo Club as record crowds gathered around the resplendent Fisher Ground for Hackett Rundle Cup day.  

Throughout the day, the 6,000 strong crowd would bear witness to some excellent polo, top drawer entertainment and a historic victory.

The day kicked off with the traditional Jockey’s V Eventers match - in aid of The Inspire Foundation -where the usual levels of cheating and one-upmanship reigned supreme!  

They were well drilled, slick and disciplined. A deserved win.

O/Cdt Hector Fair

Played in tremendous spirit, it was the Eventers who emerged victorious over two chukkas on horses and one on the bikes. 

The Inspire Foundation Wheelchair Race followed and then Max Lopez piloted Raj to victory in the Polo pony race, getting up by ½ length to beat former Jockey Will Kennedy on the rapidly closing Hermanito.

Match two saw the stars of polo future demonstrate their skills with the Pony Club Jorrocks exhibition match.

The match showcased the youngest players within the pony club, some as young as six!

Some incredible skills were on show and it bodes well for the future to see the young players coming through the ranks.

The REME and Royal Navy Parachute teams put on a magnificent display, despite high winds and poor visibility! 

Cloud cover meant that the guys jumped from the low height of 1600 feet, increasing the level of difficulty and danger.  Despite this, they all landed safely and won many admirers!

Her Majesty’s Royal Marine Band,  HMS Collingwood led The UK Armed Forces Polo Association team onto the ground to face the USA for the Indian Cavalry Polo Trophy.

The Americans put up a hard fight but it was the UKAFPA who won the day with a convincing performance that won them the match 5 goals to 1 ½. The Moore Blatch Solicitors Best Playing Pony went to ‘Gem’ owned and ridden by the USA’s Omar Mangalji.  

The main match of the day ‘The Hackett Rundle Cup’ went off right from the line out.  Lt Hiro Suzuki displaying his individual ability with two attempts at goal in the opening moments. 

The crowds were on the edge of their seats with the pre-game underdogs indicating they were on a mission right from the off.

However it was the Hackett Army team’s 2nd Lt Rishi Ahluwalia who put Hackett Army ahead at the conclusion of chukka one.

Play became scrappy in the second chukka, however The Navy worked hard to keep the annual skirmish a tactical affair.

The Navy kept shape and discipline and continued to detonate the ball to goal but without success. 

Their patience was rewarded however, when in the dying seconds Hiro Suzuki worked his magic with another exceptional effort to put the Navy ahead.

In Chukka three the pitch was alive with polo warfare, the protagonists engaged in battle in which the Navy were thriving.

With combined ages of The Army players at 92 and the Royal Navy’s combined ages at 168 it was looking like experience may just triumph over youth. 

Cdre Adrian Aplin scored a wonderful goal from  40 yards out and increased the lead to 4 ½ to 2 in the Royal Navy’s favour.

The Navy were in the driving seat going into the final chukka.  Hackett Army offered stern resistance though and it went off fast paced and both teams marked hard, rode fast and played superb open polo. 

After three consecutive losses in the Hackett Rundle Cup the Navy were not about to squander this chance.

They put the Hackett Army team under pressure.  Pressure though which the Army reciprocated, forcing Navy fouls resulting in Jamie Drummond- Moray drilling his 30 yard penalty to close the gap -  talk about taking it down to the wire!

The Army team had a chance to narrow the deficit yet further, when they were awarded a 60 yard penalty. 

The Navy drew breath sharply as the ball was sent wide and one sensed from there that The Army’s chance had gone.

In desperation they tried everything but to no avail.  This was the Navy’s day and richly deserved. 

The Royal Navy team had won The Hackett Rundle Cup, 5 ½ goals to 3.

Cdre Adrian Aplin commented after the match “We are absolutely over the moon,  4 years in the waiting and we deserved that win.”

O/Cdt Hector Fair for the Hackett Army team echoed the sentiment. “They were well drilled, slick and disciplined. A deserved win.”

So it goes to show that age doesn’t really matter!

Related articles

Navy News Magazine

We bring you the latest news, features and award-winning photographs from the front-line. Navy News has been reporting on all that happens in the Royal Navy and its wider community since 1954.