Ham Polo Club

Ham Polo Club is a Hurlingham Polo Association polo club[1] situated in Richmond in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames, south-west London, England. It is one of the oldest polo clubs in the United Kingdom and the last surviving club in London. The club occupies a location between Richmond Park and the River Thames overlooked by Ham House, eight miles from Hyde Park Corner.[2] The club's facilities include three polo fields (two boarded), a stick and ball field, an exercise track, livery service, coaching and a members' clubhouse with a restaurant and bar which is managed by Blue Strawberry Group.[3] Polo is played at Ham Polo Club between May and September. The club has around 70 playing members and several hundred social members.

HistoryEdit

Ham Polo Club is the last remaining of the many clubs that existed as satellites to London's 'Big Three' – Ranelagh, Hurlingham and Roehampton. The club began life as the Ham Common Polo Club in 1926, with one full sized ground and two smaller rounds. The first ground was next door to Brown Gates House, Church Road, Ham Common, home of the first chairman, Loftus Storey.[4]

The full-sized ground lay between Richmond Gates and Sheen and a regular coach there was Johnny Traill, the first Argentine 10 goaler, who lived at nearby Roehampton. Ham Common Polo Club, together with Stoke d'Abernon and clubs such as Worcester Park, Kingsbury and Crystal Palace, was ideal for Londoners who did not compete in the major tournaments at the 'Big Three' but who played for the fun of the game. The 1939 season was necessarily the last for the next six years.

Ham was revived in 1946 by William "Billy" Francis Walsh (1907–1992). On returning from service in the Army, Walsh found that Captain Tom Brigg, the owner of the stables where he had worked, had died and the stables were on the market. Using his gratuity Walsh bought the stables and revived Ham Polo Club under HPA rules. It is widely believed that Lord Cowdray, Arthur Lucas and Billy Walsh were the trio who rescued polo in the United Kingdom after the war.[citation needed]

The first post-war English polo tournament was held at Roehampton in 1947 and the Ham Polo Club team carried off the premier trophy the Roehampton Cup (now played for at Ham). Three years later the club began using a field adjacent to Ham House for matches. Then in 1954, George Stevens, The Dysart families' tenant at Ham House Farm' agreed to turn the Ham House orchard into a polo field for the club.

The first president of the club was Major Archie David the patron of the Friars Park team. The Autumn cup which he presented is still played for annually at Ham. Johnny Traill became a familiar figure at the club and Edward Tauchert Rescued the Roehampton Trophy from the Roehampton Golf Club.

In 1970, thanks largely to the efforts of the then President Sir David Brown, the club purchased the freehold of the land. Sixteen years later land adjacent was purchased and the club gained another ground. In 1982, at the age of seventy, Billy Walsh retired as manager of the club to become President. He was succeeded by two further generations managing Ham Polo Club, Peggy, his daughter and Tim, his grandson.

The club continues to play polo between May and September,[5] managed by Will Healy. The current President is Col. Geoffrey Godbold OBE TD DL. The club's Chairman is Howard Davis.[6]

Flagship tournamentsEdit

A number of tournaments run throughout the season at Ham Polo Club. The flagship tournaments are the Summer tournament (0–4 goal), The Roehampton Trophy (6 goal) and the Billy Walsh Tournament (0–2 goal).[7]

MembershipEdit

The number of playing members is limited and applicants must be interviewed by the committee. Social membership entitles individuals or families to use the clubhouse facilities on match days as well as being invited to the club's social functions. Academy membership is also available and a Junior category for young players.[8]

CharityEdit

 
Laureus Sporting Foundation Presentation with Boris Becker
 
Chakravarty Cup Presentation: Paul Barry, Vichai Raksriaksorn, HRH Prince William, Adolfo Cambiaso and Martin Valent

Ham Polo Club has helped raise almost £2 million for charity over the last few years. Several main charitable events are run each year.[9]

ChildLine Sundown Polo Challenge

On a Saturday evening in June each year a polo match, dinner and charity auction is held to raise funds for the ChildLine organisation. Patron of the charity Esther Rantzen is always present alongside a host of celebrity guests.[10]

Laureus Sport for Good Foundation[11]

The Laureus Sport for Good Foundation works with millions of underprivileged children worldwide. An event takes place annually, this year a number of Laureus ambassadors were in attendance including Edwin Moses, Hugo Porta, Sean Fitzpatrick, Daley Thompson and Boris Becker.[12]

Chakravarty Cup[13]

For many years the Chakravarty cup was held at Ham Polo Club.[citation needed] The event, started in 1997, raises funds for the charities and foundations supported by The Royal Family. The Prince of Wales took part in the match for nine years; now he has retired, his sons The Duke of Cambridge and The Duke of Sussex take part.[14]

Notable membersEdit

ChairmenEdit

  • Loftus Storey 1937–1938
  • Polo ceased during World War II 1939–1945
  • Loftus Storey 1947–1950
  • Major S.C. Deed 1950–1954
  • Edward Tauchert 1955–56
  • C.J. Busby 1957–1965
  • R.W.Addie 1966
  • C.J. Busby 1967
  • C.J.Harrison 1968–1971
  • Col Gerald Critchley 1972–1979
  • P.Adams/G.Godbold 1979–1984
  • G.E.Godbold OBE TD 1979–1995
  • N.Colquhoun-Denvers 1995–2018
  • H. Davis 2018–

PresidentsEdit

  • Major Archie David 1957–1970
  • Sir David Brown 1971–1979
  • Doug Riley-Smith 1980
  • post vacant 1981–1982
  • Geoffrey Lawson 1983–1986
  • Billy Walsh 1987–1992
  • Bryan Morrison 1993–1996
  • Douglas Brown DFC 1997–2000
  • J.W.M. (Buff) Crisp 2001–2003
  • Saeed Ali Albwardy 2004–2007
  • Vichai Raksriaksorn 2008–2012
  • Steven Lamprell 2013–2016
  • Mohammed S Almarzooqi 2017–2020
  • Col. Geoffrey Godbold OBE TD DL 2021-

Polo managersEdit

  • Billy Walsh 1946–1986
  • Peggy Healy 1987–2000
  • Tim Healy 2001
  • James Lange 2002–2003
  • Tom Benson 2004–2005
  • David Leach 2006
  • Daniel Devrient Kidd 2007
  • Adolfo Casabal 2008–2011
  • William Healy 2011–

TrophiesEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ [1] Archived July 16, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ "Google Maps". Retrieved 24 September 2015.
  3. ^ "Blue Strawberry Group wins 4m contract with". 21 November 2019.
  4. ^ "Nostalgia: Polo's glamorous survivor in Ham". Richmond and Twickenham Times. 4 September 2008. Retrieved 1 November 2020.
  5. ^ "Calendar".
  6. ^ https://www.hampoloclub.com/team. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  7. ^ "Tournaments".
  8. ^ "New Page".
  9. ^ "Welcome to Ham Polo Club". Archived from the original on 25 September 2015. Retrieved 24 September 2015.
  10. ^ [2] Archived July 24, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20110712231854/http://www.hurlinghammedia.com/polo_news.php?nid=425. Archived from the original on 12 July 2011. Retrieved 2 November 2010. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  12. ^ "Laureus". Laureus.com. Retrieved 24 September 2015.
  13. ^ Ian Johnston (7 June 2009). "Princes William and Harry take to the polo field". Telegraph.co.uk. Archived from the original on 11 June 2009. Retrieved 24 September 2015.
  14. ^ "chakravartycup". Archived from the original on 25 September 2015. Retrieved 24 September 2015.
  15. ^ "Welcome to Ham Polo Club". Archived from the original on 25 September 2015. Retrieved 24 September 2015.
  16. ^ Gerald Critchley Trophy, Wikimedia Commons.
  17. ^ Dubai Trophy winners 2009, Wikimedia Commons.

External linksEdit

Coordinates: 51°26′42″N 0°18′36″W / 51.445131°N 0.310034°W / 51.445131; -0.310034