Seaford reached the final of the public schools arena polo championships at Rugby Polo Club in Warwickshire. With teams representing most of the big schools such as Eton, Harrow, Wellington and Stowe, Seaford knew they were going to have their work cut out. They were in the top class, the Open, for players of any handicap. They were able to use some superb ponies from Grant Collett of Offchurch Bury Polo club but they did not have long to get used to their unfamiliar mounts.
They made a slow start in their first match against Cheltenham College Black and went two goals down very quickly but they kept their heads. Alfie Hyde controlled play beautifully from the back and brought the ball up for Beanie Bradley and Rufus Uloth to finish off the attacks.
They dominated the second half of the chukka and were delighted with a draw. In the second match against Harrow they were up against Hugo Taylor, who was in the winning King Power team in the Cowdray Gold Cup two years ago. Beanie Bradley did a brilliant job of negating Taylor’s influence on the game, freeing up the others; their positive approach forced fouls that enabled Seaford to claim a famous victory 2-1, and qualification for the final against the other Cheltenham team.
Seaford dominated most of the match but Cheltenham slipped through at one point to score and it remained at 1-0. It was a tremendous effort from such a young team: Beanie and Rufus are Year 9 and Alfie is Year 10. They potentially have another four years to have a tilt at the title.
Credit must go to their coach Guy Verdon for preparing them so well and supporting them on the day and to Equestrian Manager Lucy Sanders for also being there and for the considerable organisation in getting them to the tournament.
The future of polo at Seaford looks very rosy.
Report kindly written by Mr Rupert Uloth.