Battle of the best at Hickstead
Two of the highest-rated players in the world will battle it out at Hickstead in the annual International Arena Polo Test Match on Saturday 1 March 2014.
England will once again take on a team from the USA, whom they beat during their last clash home at Hickstead in 2012 as well as the away fixture in 2013. The England team has enjoyed an unbeaten run on home soil dating back to the first international test match 2008, with wins against South Africa, Scotland, and Argentina as well as the USA. The home team also came out victorious in last year’s match at Hickstead, which saw England take on a team from the rest of the British Isles.
But this year they face a big challenge from the USA – Tommy Biddle has a 10-goal handicap rating, which is the highest level a player can reach. Tommy will be joined by Patrick Uretz (5-goals) and Will Tankard (4-goals).
England will be captained once again by Chris Hyde, who at 9-goals is Britain’s highest rated arena polo player. His team mates for the match are still to be confirmed.
AEPC Hickstead Chairman John Bunn said: “This is going to be an incredible game of Arena polo. USA not only want to chalk up their first win at Hickstead, they also want revenge for England’s win in USA in January 2013, and have rolled out their number one big gun – 10-goaler Tommy Biddle!”
The day’s action will kick off with the Hickstead 12-Goal Challenge, where Black Eagles will take on the Wales Polo Team. This means visitors will get to witness two thrilling games of arena polo for just £5 per ticket.
There’s also a three-course lunch following the match, held in the Beethoven Suite overlooking Hickstead’s famous International Showjumping Arena, where you can dine in style surrounded by polo players and enthusiasts. Tickets for the post-match luncheon are £45.
Hickstead, although synonymous with showjumping, has played host to arena polo since 2006. Unlike summer polo, there are only three members per team instead of four, and the game is played with a larger and softer ball. The arena is also boarded throughout so shots and angles can be played off the sides of the arena, which is much smaller than in the summer version of the game. At the All England Polo Club, the Clubhouse and bar overlook the arena, so visitors are guaranteed a superb view of the action.
The All England Polo Club has fixtures nearly every weekend from November to March, and most are completely free of charge to spectators. Players can also come for lessons – whether they are experienced players or completely new to riding. Livery and pony hire is also available.
Tickets for the arena test match at Hickstead can be bought online at: http://www.hickstead.co.uk/polo/the-arena-polo-test-match.aspx and will also be available to purchase on the gate on the day of the match.
Win a VIP Test Match Experience!
One lucky winner will get to enjoy an overnight stay at the Hickstead Hotel for two people on Friday 28 February, including dinner, bed and breakfast. The following day they will have admission to the Test Match and a reservation for two at the post-match luncheon. The prize is courtesy of the Hickstead Hotel, the Hurlingham Polo Association and the All England Polo Club. To enter go to: www.hickstead.co.uk/win