Simon Arber’s Four Quarters Orange, a name familiar for several seasons on the British polo scene, captured the prestigious Royal Windsor Cup at Guards Polo Club with a golden goal in extra time, defeating White Crane 10-9 on the Duke’s Ground.  It was the third time they had won the tournament, previous victories being in 2014 and 2016.  This season Arber recruited the young British player, 4-goal Jack Hyde, together with the 11-goal combination of Ignacio Negri and Felipe Dabas.

First time entrants White Crane, whose patron is Alexie Calvert-Ansari, consisted of three more young British players: James Harper (7-goals), Tom Brodie and Andrew Blake Thomas, both of whom play off 4-goals, supported by Jasmine Calvert-Ansari (0).

Celebrating its sixty-fifth year as the oldest tournament at Guards, the Royal Windsor Cup, once again sponsored by Out-Sourcing! Inc, is regarded as Great Britain’s premier trophy at 15-goal level.  The inaugural final in 1955, the year of the club’s foundation, was won by the legendary Rao Raja Hanut Singh’s Ratanada.

Eleven teams entered the latest edition of the Royal Windsor, although the holders, Sheika Maitha bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s UAE, did not return to defend their title. Alan Fall’s Mad Dogs, last year’s runners-up, were back, reaching the subsidiary final in which they defeated Casa La Vista Ibiza 9-5.  In common with all polo tournaments held this year, coronavirus restrictions meant that no spectators were allowed onto the grounds.  Of particular interest were Andras Tombor’s Bardon Polo, based around young cousins Poroto Cambiaso and Bartolito Castagnola. The previous month, 14-year-old Poroto, playing with his father, Adolfo, in Next Generation colours, had become the youngest player ever to win the British Open Championship at Cowdray Park.

Bardon were victorious in all their qualifying games,  albeit in two cases by only half a goal. They won their quarter-final against Polo Performance by a resounding 13-4½, so gaining a place in the second semi-final, only to lose by half a goal to Four Quarters Orange,7 ½-7.

The first of the semi-finals had seen White Crane ride out victorious, 9-6, over Spencer McCarthy’s Emlor Red, based around 6-goaler Max Charlton and the 5-goal Earl of Tyrone, a member of the celebrated Beresford polo dynasty.  Lord Tyrone’s cousin, Tommy Beresford, had helped Thai Polo

to reach the semi-finals of this year’s Queen’s Cup at Guards.  Their great-uncle, Major Lord Patrick Beresford, who died in March at the age of eighty-five, was vice-president and longest-serving committee member of  the club, having also been its first polo manager.  A 5-goal player at the height of his career, his victories included the British Open Championship, the Warwickshire Cup and, at Guards, the Queen’s Cup and the Royal Windsor.  Having served in the Royal Horse Guards and, later, the Guards Parachute Company and the SAS, Lord Patrick was  from 1985 to 1992 chef d’equipe of the British eventing team.

The final of the Royal Windsor was an extremely close encounter from the initial throw-in. White Crane, determined to succeed in their first attempt at the trophy, dominated the first half, and were leading 6-4 at half-time. Four Quarters Orange, equally determined to complete a Royal Windsor hat-trick, fought back with a will in the fourth chukka, equalising 7-7. Two more goals apiece in the fifth made extra time inevitable and it was Ignacio Negri who sent through the deciding goal. Jack Hyde was named Most Valuable Player and received a Kabuto helmet from Andrew Bentley of Out-Sourcing! Inc. The helmet is of the type worn traditionally by Japanese samurai warriors. Best Playing Pony was Negri’s nine-year-old gelding Forestero, played by him during the fourth chukka.

Four Quarters Orange

Jack Hyde4
Ignacio Negri6
Simon Arber0
Felipe Dabas5

White Crane

Jasmine Calvert-Ansari0
Tom Brodie4
Andrew Blake Thomas4
James Harper7

Photography by : Tony Ramirez | imagesofpolo.com

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