PRINCE OF WALES TROPHY - SATURDAY 20TH MAY 2017

THE 2017 SPRING MEMBERS' EVENT AT THE Royal County of Berkshire Polo

The Sincura Group are delighted to partner with Royal County of Berkshire Polo and invite our members and guests to The Prince of Wales Trophy, the first high goal tournament in the UK which marks the start of the 2017 season.

ABOUT THE PRINCE OF WALES TROPHY (17-22 Goal)

The jewel in the “Berkshire’s” crown, held under the patronage of H.R.H. Prince of Wales. This tournament first played in 1986 continues to be one of the four major tournaments in the English polo season. Attracting the world’s best teams and players, this tournament has a unique history & goes from strength to strength.

Invitations will be sent to our members at the start of May.

royal berkshire polo prince of wales trophy 2017 May 20

Previous Winners:

2015 Valiente, 2014 La Indiana, 2013 Emlor, 2012 Les Lions, 2011 El Remanso, 2010 Emlor, 2009 Talandracas, 2008 Broncos, 2007 Cadenza, 2006 Dubai, 2005 Azzurra, 2004 Azzurra, 2003 Buzzee Bees, 2002 Dubai 2001 FCT, 2000 Royal Pahang, 1999 Ellerston, 1998 Jerudong Park, 1997 Geebung, 1996 Alcatel, 1995 Alcatel, 1994 Cowdray Park, 1993 Maple Leafs, 1992 Ellerston White, 1991 Munnipore, 1990 Tramontana, 1989 Tramontana, 1988 Hildon House, 1987 Southfield, 1986 Kennelo

The Game of Polo

The Ground: It is 300 yards long by 200 yards wide although if it is boarded it need only be 160 yards wide. The goalposts, open at the top, are 8 yards apart.

Duration of Play: There are 4 to 6 'chukkas' in a match and each one lasts for 7 minutes of actual play. At present, though due to change, when the ball goes out of play, or the whistle is blown, the clock is stopped and only restarted when the umpire calls 'Play'. At the end of the period a bell goes to signify that the 7 minutes are up, however there is a further 30 seconds of play unless the whistle is blown, the ball hits the boards, or the ball goes out of play. This extra 30 seconds does not apply to the last chukka unless the scores are equal. Should a match be drawn a 'sudden death' (i.e. first to score) chukka maybe played, and if still a draw at the end of that chukka, another one is played with the goalposts widened. There is an interval of 3 minutes between chukkas but 5 minutes at half time when traditionally spectators are invited to tread in the divots. 

The Start: Play starts with the umpire throwing in the ball between the two teams lined up in front of him. In the same way play is restarted after a goal is scored or if the ball goes out over the side boards. If the ball goes over the back line there is a hit-in by the defenders. There is no offside in polo nor is there a corner, instead a 60 yd hit from the back line is taken by the attacking side opposite where the ball went out of play. 

Goals: Polo is probably the only game in which the teams change ends when a goal is scored, thus equalling out any ground or weather advantage.

Equipment: A polo player must have a helmet, with or without a visor, knee guards, and a polo stick. The ball is hit with the side of the stick not the end of the mallet as in croquet. The stick is pliable and hits of up to 100 - 150 yards are not unknown. 

The Ball: The ball is no longer made of bamboo except in certain parts of India. It is now made of plastic and is 3.5 inches in diameter and weighs 4.5 ounces, still remarkably hard if it hits you.

Challenging: A player may challenge an opposing player by riding him off whether he is about to hit the ball or not. He may also hook the opponent's stick just as they are about to hit the ball, providing it is done on the same side as the ball. In riding off, a player can prevent an opponent taking an active part, however the angle of the 'bump' must not be dangerous to either player or pony. 

Control of the Game: Two mounted umpires control the game. After they have blown their whistle for an infringement they often consult each other on the severity of the foul. Should they disagree they can seek the opinion of the referee or 'third man' as he is often known in the stands.

The Rules

Safety: Polo is a fast and often dangerous game and the rules are designed for the safety of both the players and their ponies. The three main aspects are:

The Right of Way: The main rule in polo is that the player on the line of the ball, or the imaginary line along which the ball travels, has the right of way and may only be challenged by being ridden off, or having his stick hooked. A player riding along the line of the ball in the opposite direction may, if it is not dangerous, hit the ball provided it is the corresponding forehand or backhand as the original player. This rule can generally be compared with a dual carriageway with the central reservation being the line of the ball. There are strict rules covering the entry into that right of way and the severity of any infringement governs the severity of the penalty awarded.

The Polo Team; A polo team consists of four players. Each player is handicapped from -2 to 10 (the best). The sum of the player's handicaps is the team handicap and the difference (a complicated calculation) can mean a handicap goal advantage to one team. The standard of matches is found by the team handicaps, and the usual number of chukkas per match is as follows: Normally the No l is the attacker, No 2 is also an attacker but is the stronger player, No 3 is a mid field player and the best player on whom the team revolves and No 4 is the back and main defender. You will often see the No 3 or 4 attacking through the field to score a goal. Players must play right-handed.

The Polo Pony: There used to be a height restriction which is why they are still called ponies, however the average height is between 15 and 16 hands. Some of the best polo ponies come from the Argentine where the Criollo breed's qualities excel for speed, stamina, and agility. Polo ponies are now bred throughout the world although many still prefer the argentine and thoroughbred. The good polo pony must be able to stop and turn 'on a sixpence'' and most players consider their success is greatly due to the ability of their ponies. The ideal situation is to have a pony for each chukka, and this is frequently the case in the high goal matches. Originally there were 8 chukkas in a match and therefore the phrase 'a string of polo ponies' meant that you had 8. In low goal matches many players manage on 2 or 3 ponies which they 'double chukka' however they do have to give them a rest of at least one chukka in between. Players may ride off to change their pony at any time, and play is not automatically stopped unless there is some fault with the saddlery when continuing play would be dangerous.