Local players on top in polo tournament

The victorious NZ ladies polo team, from left, Harri McKelvie, Laura Harris-Malone, team captain Missy Browne holding the trophy and Susie Hamilton. Photo – Michael Jeans.

Cambridge’s very own John Paul Clarkin charged to victory in the Keyte Watson Memorial Polo Tournament in Leamington last weekend, riding with the Breakaway Realty team as the top players of the tournament.

Clarkin, one of the country’s best polo players, rode alongside Nina Clarkin, Nick Keyte and Ethan Wade to clinch victory 9 – 7 in the high goal final over Ag Biz Acconutants, made up of Cambridge Polo Club captain Kit Brooks along with Simon Keyte, Angus McKelvie and Arthur Morgenstern.

Fourteen teams sponsored by local businesses competed in the two-day event, which in keeping with tradition wrapped up with an international ladies polo match.

This year the Kiwis won the title over a visiting Australian team, redeeming themselves after losing to the English last year.

Captain of the NZ team and Cambridge local Missy Browne described it as a pretty tough game, given the Aussies were ranked higher, but also a lot of fun.

“We just snuck in there by one goal,” said Missy, after the team narrowly won 4 – 3.

A team of New Zealand’s elite female polo players took on an Australian team in an international ladies polo match at the Cambridge Polo Grounds last Sunday. Photo – Michael Jeans.

The Kiwis were down by one heading into the final chukka, but managed to score a couple of goals before the finish to secure victory.

“All four of (the Australian players) are very good at carrying the ball so you’ve got to shut them down early,” Missy explained.

Missy played alongside Susie Hamilton, who both represented the New Zealand team last year, along with Harri McKelvie and Laura Harris-Malone.

“We did all the right things,” said Missy. “It was a pretty good tough game.”

Missy’s horse Chardonnay also won champion pony for the match.

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