JERSEY’S FIRST BEACH POLO TOURNAMENT IS
Story Alex Webbe Photography Tony Ramirez
The inaugural Jersey Beach Polo tournament held yesterday in the stunning St. Brelades Bay, was a huge success with over 2,000 spectators. Thirty ponies arrived in the Island on Tuesday and for a beach practice Tuesday evening, and the matches were set for Wednesday afternoon.
As the tide went out the arena was built in glorious sunshine and at 3pm the polo started.
There were four teams competing. Banjo team captain was Andrew Hine, local Jersey player Ian Tait and Alec Banner-Eve; Team Spar was captained by Stirling McGregor with Mike Revell and Matias Carrique; Team Newton, team captain Charlie Wood, Richard le Poer and Caroline Mair; and Zolfo Cooper, team captain Tarquin Southwell, Peter Saville and Danny Muriel.
The final match between Banjo and Zolfo Cooper was hotly contested, and was all even at 4-4 in the final chukker with Banjo scored the final goal for the 5-4 win.
“The players thoroughly enjoyed playing on the beach,” said event manager Tony Ramirez. “Now that we’ve managed to get through the first one, everyone is very excited about next year’s tournament,” he added.
Ramirez admitted that there were a number of proverbial hoops to jump through to get the tournament approved.
“Robert Jones had the law changed to allow horses on the beach outside the curfew times set for September,” Ramirez admitted, “and once the law was changed I put a budget together, brought sponsors in and got to work on the event process.”
No short cuts were taken in the preparation of the teams and mounts. Former English team captain Andrew Hine was brought in to organize the players, ship in the horses and set the rules of play. Hine’s played in over 26 country over the years and has played on winning teams in the Queen’s Cup, Gold Cup, Westchester Cup and Coronation Cup.
The London-based investment company, Newton, was the first sponsor followed by Zolfo Cooper, an investment management group, another London-based company.
“Zolfo Cooper came aboard when they saw some of the publicity we were generating,” said Ramirez. “They thought it would be a good idea to bring some of their clients to Jersey,” he added.
Spar is a local Jersey convenience food chain and Banjo is a new restaurant and bar that was scheduled to open in November. They filled out the field.
“It was great seeing the amount of local support that was offered,” said Ramirez. “We’ve gotten a great number of inquiries from both players and sponsors, and we’re looking forward to returning next year.”