The Arena Challenge returned for the first time in two years and saw some amazing play from members and their ponies, who had travelled from throughout the United Kingdom to compete. The event took place over two days in the spectacular super arena at Dallas Burston Polo Club and it saw a new record high of entries with 63 players playing across the five grades. The event was kindly sponsored by Arden Polocrosse Club, Bombers Equestrian Equipment, PolyPads and Polocrosse Extreme, and was also supported by the UKPA Open squad who came along to help with umpiring, along with a number of other volunteer umpires and officials.
While there was lots of highly competitive games the weekend was overwhelming one of friendliness and a chance for members and their parents to get together and have some fun, while they certainly seemed to do. It was brilliant to see just how much members and their ponies have continued to improve over the winter, particularly in the juniors grades where a number of players were just stepping up from the Minis and were on new horses. The standard of play was very high throughout all the grades and no players looked like they were struggling, despite many having made a significant step up.
It was also brilliant to see the number of new players who were there, including some who were playing in their first competitive tournament. As always they were very well supported by not only volunteers, umpires and parents but also by other teams, who made sure they had fun in their matches and learnt more about the sport.
As well as the team prizes and the individual prizes within each grade there was an overall prize for best lady and best male player across all the grades, based on the performance of the players within their own grades. The best overall lady player went to Alice Power of Ashford Valley, for her performances in helping her team win the Open Juniors and best male player went to Max Lewis of the North Down, who helped his team win the Novice Juniors on a borrowed horse that he had not ridden before the weekend.
In the Seniors grade it was a competition between four mixed teams and it was the Sharks (made up on Harry Horton Barr (North Warwickshire), Izzy Baker-Cresswell (Percy Hunt) and Amalie Mason (North Northumberland)) who emerged victorious, after winning all three of their matches over the weekend. Best lady player for the weekend went to Seona McCredie of Essex and Suffolk with Harry Horton-Barr of North Warwickshire winning best male player. Best horse in the seniors went to Sabre, ridden by Millie Wilson Fitzgerald, who also won best number 3. Maisie Slight (Worcestershire Hunt) won best number 1 and Amalie Mason won best number 2.
In the Open Juniors it was a win for the mixed team of Kent & Essex, which was made up of Alice Power (Ashford Valley), Rosie Webb (Romney Marsh) and Kiki Flower (Essex Hunt North). They overcame the Flint and Denbigh team of Isabella Stone, Daisy Stone and Leia Lloyd Williams. Isabella Stone’s horse Chuna won best Junior horse, while Tilly Threlfall of the Percy Hunt won best lady player and Alifie Vollans of the Llangeinor won best male. Rosie Webb won best number 1, Kiki Flower won best number 2 and Keeley Rock of the North Warwickshire won best number 3.
In the Novice Juniors the mixed team of North Essex and Burghley, made up of Ollie Rowbotham (Essex Hunt North), Zara Stafford (Burghley) and Max Lewis (North Down) claimed first place, after a hard fought final match against another mixed team of Monty and Archie Peckham of the North Warwickshire and Will Thompson of the Percy Hunt. Ollie Rowbotham was awarded best male and best number 1 while Abbey Wallace (North Down) was awarded best lady player. Best Number 2 went to Zara Stafford and Best number 3 went to Will Thompson.
In the Open Minis it was a win for the mixed Essex and Burghley team, which was made up of Perdy Gale (Burghley), Maggie Flower (Essex Hunt North) and Sammy Westerling (Essex and Suffolk). The United Pack team of Charlotte Gee, Maggie Clark and Grace Hockley finished second. Best number 1 went to Perdy Gale, Best number 2 to Grace Hockley and Best number 3 went to Charlotte Gee. Perdy and Charlottee were jointly awarded best lady while Oliver Hayes of North Warwickshire won best male.
In the Novice Minis the winning team was made up of Clarry Gale and Ava Lambert of the Burghley and Violet Bates of Arden, with the Area 6 Wildcats team of Zara Battle, Amelia Bennet and Olivia Sharp in second place. Clarry Gale won best lady player, with Archie Wasdell (West Warwickshire) winning best male. Ava Lambert won best number 1, Lily Charles (Pytchley Hunt) won best number 2 and Lola Flower (Essex Hunt North) won best number 3. Daisy, ridden by Olivia Sharp, won best Minis pony.
Overall it was a brilliant weekend and we are incredibly grateful to all our wonderful volunteers and umpires who came along to help us run the weekend. We were very lucky to have a number of members of the UK Polocrosse Association Open squad come along and help with umpiring over the weekend. Thank you to all of them for their help and we wish them all the best in South Africa in a couple of months time!
Bombers Prize for Best Female: Alice Power (Ashford Valley)
Bombers Prize for Best Male: Max Lewis (North Down)
Best Pony: Daisy (Olivia Sharp)
Best Male: Archie Wasdell Best Lady: Clarry Gale
Best 1: Ava Lambert Best 2: Lily Charles Best 3: Lola Flower
|1st||BurghArden||Ava Lambert (Burghley), Clarry Gale (Burghley) and Violet Bates (Arden)|
|2nd||Area 6 Wild Cats||Zara Battle, Amelia Bennet and Olivia Sharp|
|3rd||West Pytchley and Essexshire||Lily Charles (Pytchley), Archie Wasdell (West Warwickshire) and Lola Flower (Essex Hunt North)|
|4th||North Warwickshire||Joshua Holliwell, Alice Storey and May Chance|
Best 1: Perdy Gale Best 2: Grace Hockley Best 3: Charlotte Gee
Best Male: Oliver Hayes Best Ladies: Charlotte Gee and Perdy Gale
|1st||Essex and Burghley||Perdy Gale (Burghley), Maggie Flower (Essex Hunt North) and Sammy Westerling (Essex and Suffolk)|
|2nd||United Pack||Maggie Clark, Grace Hockley and Charlotte Gee|
|3rd||North Warwickshire||Oliver Hayes, Austin Hayes and Isla Oliver- Bryne|
Best Pony: Chuna
Best Male: Ollie Rowbotham Best Lady: Abbey Wallace
Best 1: Ollie Rowbotham Best 2: Zara Stafford Best 3: Will Thompson
|1st||North Essex and Burghley||Max Lewis, Zara Stafford and Ollie Rowbotham (Essex Hunt North)|
|2nd||North Percy||Monty Peckham (North Warwickshire), Archie Peckham (North Warwickshire) and Will Thompson (Percy Hunt)|
|3rd||North Down||Abbey Wallace, Eloise Keers and Bailey McGuile|
|4th||Area 2 Avengers||Ethan Campbell (Morpeth Hunt), Bibi Mason (North Northumberland) and Anya Tate (Morpeth Hunt)|
Best Male: Alfie Vollans Best Lady: Tilly Threlfall
Best 1: Rosie Webb Best 2: Kiki Flower Best 3: Keeley Rock
|1st||Kent and Essex||Rosie Webb (Romney Marsh), Alice Power (Ashford Valley) and Kiki Flower (Essex Hunt North)|
|2nd||Flint and Denbigh||Leia Lloyd-Williams, Isabella Stone and Daisy Stone|
|3rd||Essex and Suffolk||Taryn Tinker, Eloise Kirkham and Olivia Kirkham|
|4th||Area 2 Angels||Millie Dacosta- Evans (South Northumberland), Tilly Threlfall (Percy Hunt) and Talula Mason (North Northumberland)|
|5th||North Warwickshire||Issac Flint, Keeley Rock and Jayda Williams|
|6th||South LlanArdenLand||Lottie Wilson Fitzgerald (Arden), Alfie Vollans (Llangeinor) and Sarah White (South Northumberland)|
Best Pony: Sabre – Millie Wilson Fitzgerald
Best Male: Harry Horton Barr Best Lady: Seona McCredie
Best 1: Maisie Slight Best 2: Amalie Mason Best 3: Millie Wilson Fitzgerald
|1st||Sharks||Izzy Baker- Creswell (Percy Hunt), Amalie Mason (North Northumberland) and Harry Horton Barr (North Warwickshire)|
|2nd||Panthers||Alyson Bater (Arden), Seona McCredie (Essex and Suffolk) and Hannah Davitt (Deanswood EC)|
|3rd||Tigers||Jess Clark (United Pack), Alice Leeke (United Pack) and Maisie Slight (Worcester Hunt)|
|4th||Pumas||Ajay Howitt (Romney Marsh), Millie Wilson Fitzgerald (Arden) and Katy Dixon (North Northumberland)|