British Forces Foundation polo team – the sport's equivalent of
cricket’s Lord Taverners – were triumphant in this year’s
Chapple Cup Series.
They thrashed the Combined Services Polo Association side at the Hackett
Rundle Cup Day at Tidworth, and then repeated the feat, albeit in a
much closer game, at Berenberg Bank Finals Day at Guards Polo Club,
24 hours later.
The BFF polo team evolved from Mark Cann’s ‘Leopards’
team playing very badly at the turn of the century. The players get
together in aid of the Charity and have included the likes of Hollywood
legend Tommy Lee Jones, rock stars Mike Rutherford from Genesis and
Kenny Jones (The Who and Small Faces), HRH The Prince of Wales, Prince
William, Prince Harry, George Milford Haven and polo greats like the
Englishmen Howard and Julian Hipwood, Adam Snow, plus Gabrielle Donoso,
and the amazing Argentine Nachos Figueras.
The team come together for a few matches a year, raising money for the
Foundation in both America and the UK. The BFF Polo Trophy is competed
for every year at different and wonderfully varying venues such as Houston,
Richmond Virginia, Palm Beach and Tidworth and has been won by some
illustrious teams like Isla Carrol and Gololphin.
Earlier this year they were soundly beaten by England Ladies at the
BFF Polo Day at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. But it was a very
different affair when the team – Pedro Lopez–Valido 1, The
Hon Tristan Phillimore 1, Ben Vestey 3 and Mark Cann 0 – squared
up against the CSPA at Tidworth for the ICOA Trophy. They dominated
from the start and relentlessly increased their stranglehold on the
game, snuffing out any hopes that the CSPA may have had of making a
comeback. The final score 9 goals to 4_.
The next day at Guards Polo Club, with the United Services Cup up for
grabs and the overall Chapple Cup Series, The BFF faced an even stronger
CSPA side determined to share the honours. However, in an excellent
spectacle, it was the unchanged Charity team who ran out victors by
10 goals to 7.
This is the second time The BFF team has competed in the Chapple Cup
Series – the first was six years ago in 2002. HRH Prince William
played for BFF that year, but it was the CSPA who were victorious. In
2003, the team played for the ICOA Trophy only, again with William but
also Harry and The Prince of Wales and a terrified Mark Cann. They won
in the dying seconds by half a goal thanks to Prince William's composure.
Hackett Rundle Cup Day: Click
Berenberg Bank Finals Day: Click for photos