Scottish Polo....an Established Event
The airport lounge is probably not the best place to write a blog, but that's where I find myself, heading home after a fabulous weekend of polo in Perthshire, Scotland. And who said it always rains in Scotland? The boots were left in the car and the raincoat rolled in the handbag while we enjoyed a sunny afternoon at Errol Park Polo Ground, with polo, Pimms and plates of scrumptious food.
Sunday the 10th September was the final of the Scottish Polo Tournament for the Alasdair Archibald Cup, raising awareness about dementia, a charity tournament. Alasdair Archibald had been captain of the Scottish National Polo team, a well respected professional polo player who sadly contracted dementia at an early age.
The first game of the day was for third place and Edinburgh, in their distinctive yellow shirts came in winners here.
Cars lined the field and picnics were set up. Georgina Coleman of Established Events had created a fine balance between a VIP area, where ticket sales went towards the charity, and general access to the barbecue lunch, strawberries and cream and bar. Lunch was leisurely, in keeping with the general atmosphere, but the focus was back on the field at 13:30 as two teams were piped in for the fight for first place.
Kinross Klein were to play Complete Pluming Solutions. Kinross Klein were serious about claiming the title and with Chris Kiesel playing an aggressive Nr3 and Thom Bell as a strong defender, they could set up Gillian Lockhart for some crowd pleasing runs. But Complete Pluming was the team that smashed it! Grant Collett had those spectacular strong passes and a team well practiced in picking them up and pressuring to goal. A deserved win for this team. The final game of the day had Team Stewarton defeating Team Isle of Man.
My reflections on Scottish polo? Well, apart form the piper, young Oscar Thomlyn, which was just so special, so iconic, I saw pony-lines of well-muscled mounts, players with friends and family all helping out in the pre-game prep, well-balanced teams of competent riders and game-savvy players. And it's just so social, so friendly .....
relaxed and easy with a dog or two as the accessory of choice.
I spoke to Georgina Coleman about her role in Scottish Polo and she explained that after watching a lot of polo while working in England, the first thing she did on moving back to Scotland was to find the nearest polo club. After getting in touch with Thom Bell at Kinross Polo Club and watching some of the games, she could see the potential and opportunity to put Scottish polo on the map, "bring in young blood, so to speak." Teaming up with Thom, who does the polo and field side of things, she decided to set up her own company and sort out everything else - ticketing, promotion, logistics, catering etc. Ticket sales start 3 months before the event and there's that nerve wracking wait for sales to kick off and hopefully spike 2 weeks before the tournament. It's a tense time but she just loves being part of the day. "It's lovely to see the polo, the people...such a fun day out." And what are her plans for the future? Well, she's very clear about that. "To turn Scottish Polo into something like the Blair Horse Trials - a full two day event." Locking arms with Thom Bell, she's certainly on track with that. If you haven't been a part of Scottish Polo either as spectator or player, it must be immediately added to the bucket list!
Scottish Polo with Established Events, raising the profile of polo in Scotland.
Crack on guys. You've got this!
Photo credit:- Victoria Adams Photography
Complete Pluming:- Grant Collett, Amy Nizolek, Charlie Vernon, Stuart Bainbotough
Kinross Klein:- Christopher Kiesel, Thom Bell, Gillian Lockhart, Cath Wilson
Edinburgh:- James Douglas, Katie Liddell, Freddie Archer/Mike Christopherson, Andrew Humphries.
MVP Katie Liddell
BPP Esperanza owned by Thom Bell and played by Gillian Lockhart