Jul 27, 2021 8:08 PM
Taking advantage of the Tournament Stimulus Package (TSP), NWA Polo Club (Gravette, Arkansas) hosted the Great Plains Circuit Arena Amateur Cup the weekend of July 10 and 11, 2021. A total of five teams competed for the 0- to 3-goal trophy including a mix of players from across the Great Plains circuit as well as Dallas' Legends Polo Club (Kaufman, Texas).
NWA Polo Club features a unique arena with a well-manicured turf surface and open ends. The club has been working with USPA umpires to combine some arena and outdoor polo rules for a fun and fast stadium polo experience for players and fans. A stadium polo ball was used in the place of a traditional inflated arena ball.
In Sunday’s final, Tulsa Polo Club (William Massart, Don Gruntmeir, Greg Summers) faced Legends Polo Club (Nacho Estrada, Don English Jr., Verity Cameron). The first chukker although low scoring was intense, with Legends’ English capitalizing on a penalty conversion which was followed up by Cameron. “Both Don [English] and Nacho [Estrada] are very strong players, particularly in the arena, and playing with them is a joy,” Cameron said. “They have both been instrumental in my progression as a player.” Although kept off the scoreboard in the opening chukker, Tulsa Polo Club received two goals on handicap so both teams remained tied 2-all. Dominating the scoreboard for Legends, English and Estrada scored the majority of goals for their team while Summers added two goals for Tulsa. Extending their lead with strong team play, Legends Polo Club claimed victory with a final score of 12-4.
"Our first opponent was our toughest competition of the weekend," Estrada said. "Having such a strong start set us up to go into each game giving it our all and ultimately win the final." “The level of trust between the three of us allows us to move into the right positions to receive passes and take the ball to goal,” NWA Polo Club Vice President Cameron chimed in.
“We restated our roles at the beginning of each chukker and each had clearly defined objectives, something that is key for a -1-goaler like me.” – NWA Polo Club Vice President Verity Cameron.
Legends’ English was awarded Most Valuable Player. “It was humbling to receive the MVP award and the horses also played very well,” English said.
Meeting during a fall polo match in 2020, English and Cameron are engaged and enjoy playing together and sharing a love for the sport. “Playing with Verity [Cameron] is so much fun!” English shared. “She is an excellent horsewoman and has a strong background in outdoor polo but she had not played much arena polo until we met. I have enjoyed watching her arena game develop this year."
“It’s fulfilling to have a partner who is also interested in polo — there are always plenty of topics to discuss on our road trips to tournaments.” – Don English.
“There is nothing I love more than playing on the same team as my fiancé,” Cameron echoed. “He [Don English] is so encouraging, and his ability to read the game and call out plays and warnings helped our team stay fluid at all times. Winning with him makes victory that much sweeter. We travel as much as possible together with our strings and our communication is a priority both on and off the field.”
Also sharing horses between their two strings, English and Cameron have the added benefit of mixing and matching depending on the tournament. “There is a lot of fluidity in our strings,” English said. “We switch up our horse rosters often depending on the tournament conditions.”
Best Playing Pony honors were presented to Lolita, played by Greg Summers and owned by his daughter Tori Summers.
All photos courtesy of ©Monika Haebich.
Effective Date: Saturday, May 16, 2020
The suspension of USPA Tournaments and Events will be lifted for USPA Member Clubs in locales where hosting polo matches and tournaments is permitted under applicable state and local laws, executive orders and similar decrees. The USPA Member Clubs in these locales are encouraged to follow all such requirements of their state and local authorities with respect to polo operations. In addition, we also encourage all USPA Member Clubs to take the precautions recommended by the CDC. We are preparing a detailed list of best practices for USPA Member Clubs as they return to hosting USPA Tournaments and Events and plan to circulate these guidelines within the next week. We will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation closely and will notify you if we determine a different course of action is necessary.Read More