THE GAUCHO INTERNATIONAL POLO
On 24th February, BSF had the pleasure of being invited by Pommery Champagne to The Gaucho International Polo at the o2 arena. We are not very knowledgeable about polo but we are always happy to try new things, so went to the o2 with a very open mind. We were slightly puzzled when we were told that polo would be played in the o2, as we thought that polo was an outdoor event. However, when we arrived, the o2 had been transformed into a huge polo arena with 535 tonnes of sand imported in. It’s surreal that only the previous week for the Brit Awards that A list celebrities and musicians were sitting where this giant sandpit now lay. This was the first time a polo event was being held at the o2, and is testimant to the growing popularity of polo within the UK. Looking around the atmosphere was extremely family friendly with the young, the old, and polo lovers from all over the globe packed out the 5000 seater arena to watch 4 of the highest calibre polo matches.
The master of ceremonies gave the audience a brief run down of the rules of indoor polo. It differs from outdoor Polo as it is played with 3 rather than 4 players per side, and is made up of four, 6.5 minute ‘chukkas’ which makes for a faster pace game. We were treated to two warm up matches featuring an Oxford Vs Cambridge battle, and a celebrity special featuring Kenny Logan, Mike Bushell, Liz McClarnon and Charlotte Christodoulou in aid of the British Forces Foundation. These matches served as a good introduction to Polo and the commentator over the arena tannoy was giving the audience a detailed description of what was happening, so by the time the 2 main events were ready to start, we were much more clued up on the rules. Scotland took the field to play South Africa for The Ambassadors Cup, which was won by Scotland to massive cheers.
However, I got the feeling that this match was meerly to whet the appetite for the marquee event, England Vs Argentina. Arguably the two biggest Polo playing nations going head to head in a clash of the titans. England were led out by the hugely popular Chris ‘The Big Dog’ Hyde, and Argentina by the ladies man Nacho Figueras, who happens to model for Ralph Lauren in his spare time. The atmosphere in the arena was electric from the first whistle with both sets of players showing why they are considered the best in the world. In the end, England were victorious and the crowd were in raptors. The event was then followed by the traditional after party hosted by Pommery, where revellers were given the chance to meet the players and dance the night away until the early hours. Needless to say that Pommery had the champagne flowing and ensure that a marvellous time was had by all.
Considering we had never attended a Polo event before, we thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience and will be first in line for the next Polo event hosted by Pommery and would urge any sports lovers to come along and experience the spectacle.