Last weekend the NUPC Novice first team saw in their derby day as they faced Durham University Polo Club at White Rose Polo ground, North Yorkshire.
The match was the final clash of the newly established Northern League, and the winners were set to progress through to the national finals in a showdown with the victors of the southern league.
214 mile round trip for NUPC
The match was very close from the off as both teams were evenly matched, having both received trained from Tony Welshe, a top trainer of the northern universities. Newcastle took an early lead, scoring three successive goals and storming ahead.
Not to be outdone, Durham came back with a strong counter attack to level the score to three a piece. There were some impressive displays of intricate plays on both sides, especially from the Newcastle squad who boasted 0 goaler, Raunqaq Cavet. Their defence was similarly on point, with Ryan Letley putting in a shift to mark his opposition out of the game.
“Newcastle took an early lead, scoring three successive goals, and storming ahead”
After the seven minute chukka was concluded the score board was level at five goals each. After playing out stoppage time, the only way to settle the score was a sudden death penalty shoot out. This was a difficult decision taken by the White Rose referee, and not the usual way to conclude a league match. However, with so much riding on the game there was nothing else to be done. Unfortunately, Newcastle were the first to miss a shot and so lost the match on penalties. Such a tough way to go.
Nonetheless, both teams showed skill and good sportsmanship to uphold the good manners inherent to the game, despite tensions running high due to the high pressure of the final match and the local universities being very competitive between each other.
“Newcastle were the first to miss a shot and so lost the match on penalties”
NUPC Novice Captain Ryan Letley commented on his team’s performance, ‘I was very impressed with how everyone played today. It was a tough match for us as Durham always have strong players, and with this being the final and deciding league match they were sure to put their best foot forward, so to speak. But I really feel we played the best we ever have, and it was just unlucky that we lost out on penalties. I would like to wish Durham the best of luck in their league final.’
The NUPC team was riding high off the back of their impressive Guns and Horses ball. The annual event has quickly become a highlight of the social calendar which sees the polo club and the clay shooting club join force to host teams from across the country. This year teams from both shooting and polo travelled from as far north as St. Andrews and as far south as Oxford to attend. A testament to the reputation of both club’s social skills.
MVP: Raunqaq Cavet