The Autumn Challenge took place on the 11th and 12th of September at a new venue of the Meadows in Priors Norton, Gloucestershire, kindly hosted by the Whitehead Family. Pony Club and UK Polocrosse Association Members came from around the country to take part in two days of highly competitive play and they all seemed to go away delighted with the event. The prizes were kindly sponsored by Polocrosse Extreme and Bombers Equestrian Equipment, with the Whitehead family kindly sponsored the Best Horse prizes.
The pitches played very well and the weather was kind, as players as young as 8 years old took part in various grades for different ages and abilities. As well as the grade results the competition saw the awarding of the Bomber’s Trophies for Best Male and Best Female players. These are awarded each year to players who not only demonstrate great play and horsemanship on the pitch but also are an excellent ambassador for the sport and for the Pony Club. Jess Clark of the United Pack won the Bombers Best Female Trophy (and the accompanying Bombers Racquet) while Josh Smith of the Ledbury won the same prizes for Best Male.
The Minis division (Players 12 years and under and ponies under 13.2hh) was played in mixed teams, with the members getting to switch round and play with different team mates in each match to help them develop their skills and play in different positions. There was some brilliant play from these young players over the weekend; Oliver Hayes of the North Warwickshire and Maggie Clark of the United Pack took away the best male and best female prizes for the grade, while Jasper, ridden by Oliver, won best pony.
The Juniors saw a win for the United Pack team of Jess Clark, Niamh Morris and Alice Leeke, after a very close final between them and the second placed Dragons team made up of Abigail Davies (Amman Valley), Daisy Stone (Flint and Denbigh) and Leia Lloyd Williams (Flint and Denbigh). The United Pack just came out on top 5 goals to 4 after both teams had been undefeated for the rest of the weekend. Abigail Davies won best female player in the grade, with James Dawson of Arden winning best male. Lottie Wilson Fitzgerald of the Oakley Hunt West Branch got awarded a special Chairman’s award for her play over the weekend, as she played in the open Juniors grade at 11 years old and competed very well against much older members. Her horse Bowie also won Best Junior Horse.
There was also success for Pony Club members in the Senior Grades, with the Area 2 team of Millie Da Costs Evans, Amalie Mason and Katy Dixon finishing fourth in the Low Goal and winning best Pony Club section. The Low Goal competition was won by the Limemere UKPA Club section, which included North Warwickshire’s long term polocrosse manager Gill James (who won best female player in the Low Goal)!
There was lots of Pony Club members in the lower half of the Medium Goal competition, with the winning team of Celden featuring Keegan Jacobs of the Dinas Powys and Abigail Phillips of the Swansea and District. They combined with Alyson Bater (who is a former member of the LLangeinor) to win the grade but the best overall Pony Club section was the second placed team of Katy Davies (Flint and Denbigh), Maisie Slight (Croome Hunt) and Kate Tranter (Cheshire Hunt North). Keegan Jacobs won best male while Alyson Bater won best female. Maisie Slight’s horse Tally won best horse.
The UKPA Club Arden won both the High Goal and the High Medium Goal. The High Medium Goal team featured Boy Wilson Fitzgerald and Millie Wilson Fitzgerald of the Oakley Hunt West, who won the best male and best female prizes for the grade, while the Arden High Goal team was made up of three Pony Club members, with Katie Loutsiou and Danny Woodward of the North Warwickshire combining excellently with Stuart Dyson of the Rockwood Harriers. The Kent team who finished second in the High Goal was also made up of Pony Club members, with Alex and Jack Brown of the Romney Marsh combining with Izzy Baker-Cresswell of the Percy Hunt. Jack Brown won the best male prize while Katie Loutsiou won best female and her horse marmite won best horse.
Overall it was a brilliant weekend and our thanks go to all our wonderful volunteers for making it happen and our amazing hosts and sponsors! We look forwards to doing it all again next year!
Full Results of the Autumn Challenge 2021
Bombers Prize for Best Female: Jess Clark (United Pack)
Bombers Prize for Best Male: Josh Smith (Ledbury)
Best Female: Maggie Clark (United Pack)
Best Male: Oliver Hayes (North Warwickshire)
Best Pony: Jasper (Oliver Hayes)
|Archie Wasdell (West Warwickshire)||Maggie Clark (United Pack)||Isla Oliver Byrne (North Warwickshire)||Fraser Lowdon King (North Northumberland)|
|Austin Hayes (North Warwickshire)||Oliver Hayes (North Warwickshire)||Riley Duhig|
Best Female: Abigail Davies
Best Male: James Dawson
Best Horse: Bowie (Lottie Wilson Fitzgerald)
Chairman’s Special Award: Lottie Wilson Fitzgerald
|1st||United Pack||Alice Leeke, Niamh Morris and Jess Clark|
|2nd||Dragons||Daisy Stone (Flint and Denbigh), Abigail Davies (Amman Valley) and Leia Lloyd Williams ( Flint and Denbigh).|
|3rd||Ardenmere||Lottie Wilson Fitzgerald (Oakley Hunt West), James Dawson and Keeley Rock (North Warwickshire)|
|4th||North Warwickshire||Jayda Williams, Archie Peckham and Monty Peckham|
|5th||Area 2||Talua Mason (North Northumberland), Jasmine Ford (North Northumberland) and Nina Lowden-King (North Northumberland)|
Best Female: Gill James
Best Male: Phil Henshaw
Highest Placed Pony Club Section: Area 2
|1st||Limemere Lions||Gill James, Timothy Batchelor and Shanna Rawbone|
|2nd||Cotswold||Cara Williams, Laura Scott and Becky Porter|
|3rd||Kentlyn||Amanda Wasdell, Neil Hinkson and Rachel Tranter|
|4th||Area 2||Ama Mason(North Northumberland), Katy Dixon (North Northumberland) and Millie Dacosta Evans (South Northumberland)|
|5th||Arden||Phil Henshaw, Tanis Loustiou and Jane Mason|
|6th||Limemere Lions||Ella Jade Behan, Gill James and Jack Lockwood|
Low Medium Goal
Best Female: Alyson Bater
Best Male: Keegan Jacobs (Dinas Powys)
Best Horse: Tally (Maisie Slight)
Highest Placed Pony Club Section: Arlyn
|1st||Celden||Keegan Jacobs (Dina Powys), Abigail Phillips (Swansea and District) and Alyson Bater|
|2nd||Arlyn||Kate Tranter (Cheshire Hunt North), Katie Davies (Flint and Denbigh) and Maisie Slight (Croome Hunt)|
|3rd||Cotswold||Vickie Rudge, Eloise Stanford and Heather Kelly|
Best Female: Mille Wilson Fitzgerald (Oakley Hunt West)
Best Male: Boy Wilson Fitzgerald (Oakley Hunt West)
|1st||Arden||Boy Wilson Fitzgerald (Oakley Hunt West), Millie Wilson Fitzgerald (Oakley Hunt West) and Amy Harper|
|2nd||Limemere||Alex Scott, Tim James and James Oliver Byre|
|3rd||Cotswold Thorns||Lewis Parr, Matt Hale and Hayley Marsh|
|4th||Cotswold Roses||Dan Kelly, Alex Vickers and Zoe Williams|
Best Female: Katie Loutsiou (North Warwickshire)
Best Male: Jack Brown (Romney Marsh)
Best Horse: Marmite (Katie Loutsiou)
|1st||Arden||Katie Loutsiou (North Warwickshire), Danny Woodward (North Warwickshire) and Stuart Dyson (Rockwood Harriers)|
|2nd||Kent||Izzy Baker-Creswell (Percy Hunt), Alex Brown and Jack Brown (Romney Marsh)|
|3rd||Cotswold All Stars||Teegan Bristow (North Warwickshire), Rachael Duhig and Layla Sics|
|4th||Cotswold Aces||Josh Smith (Ledbury), Sophia Harpin (Llangeinor) and Theo Cornforth (North Warwickshire).|