Horsing Around: University of St Andrews Charity Polo Tournament 2013


It was a stirringly British symphony at Strathtyrum on Sunday as Scottish weather and a quintessentially English event came together in the form of the University of St Andrews Charity Polo Tournament, brought to us courtesy of the University Polo Club.

As gazebos were cast asunder by wind and rain and your correspondent was turned a lobster pink by the ferocious sun which shone towards the end of the event an afternoon of chukkas was taking place in front of a very, very strong crowd of polo and Pimm’s enthusiasts alike.

The afternoon commenced with the Beginners taking to the field in their first polo match which was a valiant attempt. Having never taken in a polo match before I apprehensively approached the afternoon; would I be as notoriously inept at grasping a sport as Channel 5’s maiden football coverage of an England international in the 1990s? As the afternoon went on I managed to take hold of the reins.

Polo can go for long spells when it appears as though not much is happening with a squadron of horses and riders appearing to be stuck in the middle of the field for what seems an age. This is arguably the first test of the polo player as they attempt to find the optimum moment to break through and fashion an opportunity for their side. Patience however is apparently a virtue, not one that I am accustomed to anyway, and when a side does break forth it is spell binding and dramatic. As a friend mentioned on the afternoon, watching a horse is special anyway, watching a horse in full flight is truly majestic.

As the afternoon wound on with the dulcet and knowledgeable tones of Mervyn Fox-Pitt wafting through the air and we moved from Beginners to Novices, the grand finale approached. The varsity match between St Andrews and Oxford was a tetchy affair however one thing was certain throughout the tie, that being the quality of the team in blue and white. The final score line of St Andrews 6 Oxford 4.5 was testament to the quality of the team that that combined panache with the aforementioned patience to come away with the win.

It was yet another enjoyable outing in Fife, however amidst the revelry taking place on the side it is pertinent to comment that this was an excellent sporting event and one which has sparked this novice spectator’s interest.


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