31st March 2018 | Sydney
Two matches unfold at the Windsor Polo Club By: Indranil Halder
The beautiful Sydney weather was matched by Windsor Polo Club organizing an international Polo event. It was a match between the two rival nations, Australia and New Zealand. Australia and New Zealand are two nations who stood beside each other through good and bad times and always bring the best in any sporting contest such as rugby, cricket or polo. So, when I got the invitation to watch a polo match between Australia and New Zealand, without much hesitation, I headed to Windsor Polo Club in Richmond, New South Wales, Australia. It was not long ago that Richmond was the location for 2017 World Polo Championship, which featured several international teams including India.
Just like myself, lots of Sydneysiders also came to Windsor Polo Club to enjoy a day of polo during the Easter long weekend.
Crowd cheered on.
The opening match was played between Country Colts and City Colts for the inaugural Royal Salute International Day at Windsor Polo Club. The Country Colts included ( 15 years old Anna Dowling, 17 years old Hamish Dowling and 20 years old Monty Campbell and 18 yr old Lachie Gilmore) while the City Colts featured (13 years old Jack Grimes, 16 years old Dylan Jones, 17 years old Enzo Mascart and 18 years old Blacke Reid). The Country Colts, later on, won with a 5-2 margin to take home the prestigious Ken Austin Trophy.
Before, I knew, the inaugural Royal Salute Ladies International Polo Cup between the two evenly sided 14 goal Australia and New Zealand ladies teams had started. I kept my eye on our favorite polo player Julie McIntosh who is also a member of the Windsor Polo Club. At this moment, I was introduced to our Indian visitor Lt Gen Arun Kumar Sahni by Australian polo veteran John Wayland. Mr Sahni was watching the ladies teams battling out the inaugural Royal Salute Ladies International Polo Cup while attending to his granddaughter and socializing at the same time As we watched marvelous polo being played, our topic of discussion turned to Delhi Polo Club and then to Manipur Polo Club. Delhi Polo Club is definitely India's most favorite polo club as polo teams across India play not just to showcase outstanding sportsmanship but also encourage both civilians and military personals to play polo in Delhi and maintain India's polo heritage.
This grand Indian polo history and heritage is also maintained by Manipur Polo Club. Manipur Polo Club which is now back in international polo limelight is hosting international teams including Australia for it annual event. This club reminds polo lovers across the globe that Manipur is the birthplace of modern polo. And it continues the tradition. As the afternoon rolled on and our conversation continued, It was time for the prize-giving ceremony. Female polo players both Australian and New Zealanders, gathered together for a group photo with their shinning trophies and bright smiles. A great polo moment was celebrated.
At this moment, Lt Gen Arun Kumar Sahni and myself were both greeted by Mr Mahiraj Singh. Mahiraj he is a great polo player who introduced us to his father senior Mr Singh(veteran Indian polo player and ex-Captain of Calcutta Polo team).
It was an incredible moment to meet two visiting veteran polo players from India under the same canopy of trees from where I have been watching Australian polo players playing brilliant polo for over a decade. Meeting ex-Captain of the Calcutta Polo team, reminded me of my Calcutta city where I was born and where polo has been the social heartbeat for centuries. It was a such a delight to meet someone who played for the Calcutta Polo Club and could share stories. The name of the Calcutta Polo Club itself, flooded back memories both for senior Mr Singh and myself. Senior Mr Singh remembered many decades ago , his father in law to be told him to start playing polo so he could marry his daughter. For me, talking about Calcutta Polo Club definitely brought memories of polo in Calcutta. I used to watch members of Calcutta polo Club playing at the backdrop of the majestic and grand Victoria Memorial. Senior Mr Singh who now resides in Jodhpur, India, mentioned about fantastic polo being played in Jodhpur polo ground. Several years back on a winter Jodhpur holiday with my dad, I witnessed the same. I was thrilled to learn His Highness Maharaja of Jodhpur Gaj Singh II being a great patron of the game and he continues to maintain the very essence of Indian polo tradition in Jodhpur. Jodhpur is the city which had another polo connection with Australia. Australian veteran polo player Mr Sinclair Hill learned to play polo in Jodhpur. He was sitting not far from us, watching the Men's International polo teams from Australian and New Zealand competed for his Sinclair Hill Trophy that was on offer at Windsor Polo Club on the Easter long weekend.
Attending polo at Windsor Polo Club, we only had one choice. And the choice was to watch Australian polo and to remember Indian polo heritage. While I left the Windsor Polo Club ground for the day, players competed and crowds watched on. All I could wish was to keep coming back to Richmond to watch excellent polo and listen to Indian polo heritage stories and also for Australia to defeat New Zealand in Men's International polo to win Sinclair Hill Trophy, 2018. Final score: Austalia vs New Zealand: 8-6 Alec White: Most Valuable Player