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Mon 25th Feb 2019

Local Boys Reign Supreme

Parfums de Marly Arena Gold Cup Final

As Saturday 23 February dawned, wall-to-wall sunshine, warm temperatures and the promise of a fantastic day of arena polo at The Royal County of Berkshire Polo Club, had spectators in high spirits.
Following the hotly contested Silver Cup Final, local boys Prisk 528 took to the arena against one of the season’s strongest teams, Regal Warriors. In the weeks leading up to the Final, two out of the Regal Warriors trio had had their handicaps raised, firstly Gaston Devrient from 4 to 5 goals and arena high goal stalwart Max Charlton had become the youngest British 10 goal arena player in history. So, with the Regal Warriors' total handicap now raised to 17 goals, Prisk 528 began their Parfums de Marly Arena Gold Cup battle with a huge 4 goal handicap advantage, one they were never willing to relinquish.
Richard Blake-Thomas began the game’s scoring for Prisk 528, quickly extending their lead to 5-0, then 6-2, with goals from Max Charlton and Raph Singh in response. The goal scoring was quick and frenetic throughout the hour’s play. By the end of first chukka, the scores read 7-4 still in Prisk 528’s favour, with Regal Warriors hot on their heels. Charlton, playing all of his 10 goals, began to break down the team plays from Richard Blake-Thomas, Royston Prisk and RCBPC Chairman Jamie Morrison in the second chukka; but with small mistakes starting to surface, Prisk’s team still led 13-8 going into the half-time break. The third chukka was the complete antithesis of the first two, with considerably more whistle and stilted play, as tensions began to mount. Morrison, with a superb two-pointer, extended Prisk 528’s lead to 15-11, followed by another well placed goal to make it 16-11, putting much needed space between the two teams, and ultimately ending the third 17-12. With the grandstand full to bursting, and the crowds cheering at the top of their lungs, the two teams burst into the fourth and final chukka. Charlton began proceedings with his trademark ball dribbling, circling the defensive line to score a 13th goal for Regal Warriors, but with four minutes left on the clock, Charlton missed a defended penalty. Aggressive play ensued and as the minutes ticked down, the possibility of Regal Warriors making up ground seemed like a pipe dream, despite a penalty one going in their favour in the closing minute. As Blake-Thomas secured another goal, worthy of his The Polo Magazine Most Valuable Player honours later awarded, local boys Prisk 528 secured the 2019 Parfums de Marly Arena Gold Cup. Morrison’s pony Jackie was named the Polo Times Best Playing Pony. A full report will follow in the next issue of Polo Times, so make sure your subscription if up to date here.
The Parfums de Marly Arena Gold Cup Final Teams:
Prisk 528 (15): Royston Prisk (4), Richard Blake-Thomas (5) & Jamie Morrison (6)
Regal Warriors (17): Raph Singh (2), Gaston Devreint (5) & Max Charlton (10)
Photograph: Local boys, Prisk 528, secured The Parfums de Marly Gold Cup honours. By Polo Times

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