On a cold morning last week, our Polo team (Tabby, Rishi and Shugo) took part in SUPA’s Senior Schools’ National Arena Championship Here, Shugo gives his account of the day:
“Having mostly played amongst ourselves, we welcomed the challenge that the SUPA would present.
“Post arrival, we were taken aback by the number of schools that were present. Prior to our first game, we entered the practice arena where we first came across our first opponents of the day, Stowe School. We won our first chukka (match) by 3-1. However, by the second chukka, they warmed up and began to work well as a team. Also, the horse I was riding was hit in a fast head-on collision. This resulted in a game having to be stopped momentarily to check the severity of the injury but Papilla was given the all-clear. Due to the fact that they scored at the beginning of the chukka, we did not have the time to at least equalise. To our dismay, we were drawn with Stowe overall. Due to the stringent timing at which chukkas took place, the umpires decided who would advance to the next round by sudden-death penalty shootout without horses. In the first round, they all scored, which made us feel like it would have been disappointing to come back home before lunchtime. Their captain became complacent and surprisingly he missed. Groans echoed in the stadium. d’Overbroeck’s team launched the ball, going into the goal questionably. Although it was quite close, we proceeded to the next stage; Shrewsbury.
“Prior to this match, we briefly introduced ourselves to each other at the preparation arena. Observing the fluency of the Shrewsbury team’s riding, we knew that this game will be challenging. The first chukka in particular went quickly, leading to a loss (1-2). We trotted back to the stable, determined to win the next chukka especially d’Overbroeck’s team member Rishi, who was unnaturally optimistic in the face of uncertainty. As this was the final chukka of the day, we had gathered quite an audience. As the ball landed on the floor, everything outside the arena became focused for us. In this chukka, Tabby quickly scored two goals in quick succession and I scored a further goal. Overall, we managed to draw. For the second time that day, we faced an unconventional penalty shoot-out. After two players from each team had taken their shots, the score was equal. Surprisingly, the third hitter from Shrewsbury narrowly missed. Rishi then walked up the ball, composed. The championship depended on his shot. The ball reassuringly hit the goal. The announcement of the umpire decided our victory.
“VENI VIDI VICI”