Bajan squad win French Polo Open
Huntington/Apes Hill Ladies Polo team are winners of this year’s French Open Polo Tournament.
Following closely on the heels of another successful summer in the United Kingdom, the ladies made their way across the English Channel to Chantilly in France and won the prestigious French Open 5 – 3 on their first time competing on French soil.
The 16-goal handicap team was captained by Barbadian player Camilla Williams, granddaughter of construction magnate and long-time polo player, Sir Charles Williams. The squad included United Kingdom-based English players Lucy Taylor, Tamara Fox and Emma Bowers. Apes Hill were among the four teams entered in this year’s Open. The three other entrants were a strong German team and two other French teams.
The first match of the tournament started out on a rough note for the ladies. Two of their players took falls with another one continuing to play after receiving a hard knock to her head. This resulted in the team narrowly losing the match by one goal. After a few days of recovery, they bounced back strongly to win their next two matches in convincing style with scores of 8-3 and 6-2 respectively to advance to the grand final.
The final was played on September 18 in Chantilly against team Maryland. By the end of the third chukka the Apes Hill ladies led the hosts 5 – 3. It was an advantage that they never relinquished by the end of the fourth and final chukka.
It was a dream come true for Camilla and her team Huntington/Apes Hill to be crowned the 2016 winners of the French Open.
Not only did they win the tournament, but they also came away with the MVP (Lucy Taylor) and Best Playing Pony (Tamara Fox) awards.
Throughout the summer in the United Kingdom, Apes Hill Polo Club teamed up with the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. (BTMI) and Huntington House to compete in some of the best-known tournaments across the United Kingdom.
As a result the sports tourism aspect as it relates to top level polo between the two countries was brought to the fore everywhere the Apes Hill team played.
In one of the early matches in the Apes Hill Tournament at Knepp Castle Polo Club, the Barbadian duo of Damian Luke and Camilla Williams teamed up with John Bunn (a huge supporter of Barbados and Barbados’ polo) along with Jonny Coddington, a top professional from New Zealand who competes annually in Barbados, and made it all the way to the semi-finals.
One of the most popular polo events in the United Kingdom season is the eight-goal tournament at Guards Polo Club and Cowdray Polo Club. More than 15 teams enter annually to battle it out for the top prizes.
Team Apes Hill Barbados made a great run against some of the best players in England. To complete the 2016 United Kingdom Season, the Apes Hill Barbados team made it to the semi-finals in the competitive six-goal tournament at the home of British polo, Cowdray Park Polo Club, with Camilla Williams, Lucy Taylor, Nick Pepper and Jonny Coddington making up the squad.