Text written by Alicia Hutton

At the end of May the Tang Polo Club’s outdoor polo season kicked off with the 4th Annual Beijing Friendship Polo Tournament. Held at the beautiful Tang Polo Club, it was hosted by Horsemanship Magazine and sponsored by Land Rover. In the finals team Tang Polo won with 4-2 against Team I Do.

This annual tournament brings together Chinese amateur players from all over China. The main purpose is to encourage China’s amateur players to come together and play with other Chinese players, with no international or professional help of any kind. All patrons and players were exclusively Chinese. Players from Beijing, Shanghai and Southern China came to the Tang Polo Club to take part in the event. As this is the fourth tournament of its kind, it was clearly evident the increasing level of polo amongst the Chinese players, showing the growing talent and enthusiasm of the players and the industry as a whole.

The tournament was played out between four teams: Tang Polo, Horsemanship Magazine, I Do and HuoGang. The event took place over two days with eight chukkas played each day. Day one was the preliminary rounds to determine who would make it through to the finals on day two, and who would be playing for third and fourth place.

Day one was a bit challenging with the prevailing rainstorms all afternoon, but it didn’t stop the teams. The first four chukkas were played between HuoGang and Tang Polo, with Tang Polo Club’s youngest player Norman stealing the spotlight. At only 14 years old Norman scored the first goal within the first 30 seconds. Throughout the first, second and third chukkas the score was tied all the way through, resulting in a three all tie by the end of the third chukka. In the fourth chukka Tang Polo stepped up their game, scoring three more goals resulting in a score of 6-3, which would bring them through to the finals.

The second match was played between the Horsemanship Team and the I Do team. The I Do team stayed in the lead throughout all the four chukkas, scoring two goals in the first, second and third chukkas. The Horsemanship team scored one goal in each of the four chukkas, ending the game with a score of 6 to I Do and 4 to Horsemanship. The preliminary rounds came to an end with Horsemanship and HuoGang going through to play for third and fourth place, and Tang and I Do making it through to the finals.

It was a beautiful setting at the Tang Polo Club on the final day, with beautiful blue skies and sunshine. The newly opened clubhouse allowed spectators to watch the matches from the second floor open roof terrace. The teams were eager and ready to battle it out for the third and fourth place matches. It was a tight match from start to finish for the Horsemanship and HuoGang teams, resulting in an 8-7 win for the Horsemanship Magazine team.

The much awaited finals between the I Do and Tang Polo Team was definitely something to watch. Both teams were neck on neck, with 14 years old Norman again stealing the spotlight scoring 3 of the 4 goals. The four chukkas ended with a 4-2 win for the Tang Polo Club team. Norman won the most improved player prize and his horse the best pony. He is definitely someone to watch out for on the Chinese polo circuit. Although the polo had finished, the day carried on with Mongolian performances and a lovely Argentinean Asado BBQ around the newly opened outdoor swimming pool at the clubhouse.