RAF Polo Season Report 2012

Published in RAF on 11 Mar 2013

Amongst the highlights of the 2012 season was the ever flourishing Cranwell tournament; a successful rematch in the now well established Ham Challenge as well as an increase in members, in particular amongst the lower ranks. Air Cdre Tim Brown, after over 10 years as Chairman of the RAF Polo Association, handed the reins across to Wg Cdr Martin Adcock in July.

Membership.  The RAFPA membership went up from 20 to 23 in 2012, particularly pleasing is the increase in ORs, largely thanks to the increased support from the RAF Sports Lottery as well as better publicity.  The RAF now counts 3 SACs, 2 Cpls and 2 NCOs amongst its members, one of whom played in the winning team against the Army in the Novice section of the Sassoon Cup.  The RAFPA has 7 pony owners.  No handicap changes this season. Two members were selected to play for the CSPA.

Fixtures and Results.  Of the 20 matches played in 2012, the RAF had 7 wins, 2 draws and 11 losses, the highs being at Cranwell, Ham and in the Novice section of the Sassoon Cup whilst the lows losses against both the Navy and the Army in the Duke of York and Sassoon Cup respectively.  New fixtures include the notable event put on by the HAC at Ham in September and two training matches at Druids.  The Cranwell Tournament saw a full 9 teams enter in early May with some of the only polo played in the rain swept Country.  This tournament was a great start to the season for all involved and goes from strength to strength each year.  We hope to see the Navy take part in 2013..

Training.  All potential members are encouraged to attend a beginners’ course either at Tidworth or Leadenham, all of which are now partly supported by the RAF Sports Lottery.  On top of this, the RAF organised a 3 day refresher course at Cranwell prior to the tournament which was opened to the Army opposition and proved a great success for all, adding to the excellent comraderie between the Services over the tournament.  Individual developing players benefitted from subsidised chukkas at Tidworth and Leadenham.  In order to improve the A team, the RAF entered tournaments at Druids under the tuition of Giles Ormerod, whilst the B team got together to attend several team training sessions at Greenpoint Polo.  These developments should stand the RAF in good stead for the 2013 Season.

Overseas Tour.  Following the success of the previous year’s tour to New Zealand, 5 members returned to Wanstead and Kihiki Polo Clubs for part of their winter.  The players’ game improved visibly from their time in the saddle there, although operational requirements kept them away for a large proportion of the UK Season.  Again, there should be better player availability for 2013.

Sponsorship and Support.  The RAF secured a sponsor for the Cranwell Tournament, former CSPA player Kris Bebbington and his family.  This will continue into the 2013 season.  The RAFPA would not function without the outstanding support from the RAF Sports Board, the CSPA, the Sports Lottery and Tidworth Polo Club, as well as the many clubs that support our individual players.  Our thanks to you all.  2012 should prove to be a good building block for the 2013 season.

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