On Saturday 23 April, herds of St Andrews students assembled at Errol Park Estate for the 2016 Charity Polo Tournament. Held in support of Help For Heroes, a British charity for wounded veterans, the event appealed to both the local polo community and the average uni student. Featuring a good cause, abundant alcohol, and exceptionally well-dressed attendees, the polo tournament encapsulated the ideal St Andrean afternoon.
The day began with the Harviestoun Brewery Beginner’s cup, featuring teams from Aberdeen, Durham, Stirling, as well as from St Andrews. Attendees, particularly those less familiar with the sport, were kept up-to-speed throughout the match by an engaging commentator. The afternoon featured the Bouvet Ladubay Novice Cup, with teams participating from St Andrews, Aberdeen and Newcastle. The St Andrews Polo Team also played the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, with the army team winning 3-2 in a gripping match. Finally, the Engel & Volkers team won the closing exhibition game against the Old Course Hotel.
The divot-stomping between these matches allowed for attendees to engage with the players as they invaded the field to pet the horses: drinks in-hand, numerous selfies were taken with both the players and their ponies. While the riveting polo matches were the primary source of entertainment throughout the day, the event also featured DJ Chris MacRae, as well as The Other Guys, who kept the polo-goers amused between matches.
Those lucky enough to have secured a VVIP ticket enjoyed unlimited Bouvet-Ladubay, as well as an assortment of refreshments. The VIP and standard ticket-holders were not disappointed, however, as there was ample champagne flowing throughout the day. An impressive amount of food trucks were available, serving a variety of different event-favourites (ice cream, bratwurst, Blackhorn). Well-fed and with constant access to alcohol, polo-goers’ spirits were high amidst the spells of cold weather. Though some of last year’s crowd pleasers — such as the Jo Malone hand-massages — were absent from the tournament, there was not a displeased attendee in sight.
With a committee of only nineteen, the tournament organisers exceeded expectations with a flawlessly executed event: To describe the polo as perfection would not be an understatement. The tournament committee has yet again proven to the St Andrews community that they can organise an event like no other, carving The Polo into the long list of outstanding St Andrean events. Having set such a high bar with multiple flawless events, one can only imagine what is in store for next year’s polo.