Hedgerow Richardson makes a statement for England

Richardson makes a statement for England

Alex Webbe

It was sometime after the fifth chukker that Jack
Richardson picked up his American sobriquet. 
An English 20-goal team was on the grounds of the Grand Champions Polo
club in Wellington, Florida preparing for a Sunday showdown with a 19-goal
American side.  The teams were heading
toward the south end of the field at a full gallop.  The goal posts were fast approaching backed
up by a long line of twenty-foot bushes, some forty feet beyond the goal line.  The final shot at the goal went wide and
Richardson continued riding.  The bushes
got closer and closer until Jack disappeared into and through them,
disappearing onto the other side.

“That’s a first,” bellowed American 8-goaler Nic Roldan.  “I’ve never seen that done before.”

“An absolute legend,” came a shout from the small
gathering of spectators.  “”Hedgerow
Richardson”, sounded another voice, and the tag was applied.

The feat was noteworthy only by the fact that it
punctuated a rather choppy round-robin that had the English team (Jack
Richardson, Richard Le Poer, Tom Morley and Jack Routledge) facing a select US
team (Marc Ganzi, Carlitos Gracida, Nic Roldan and Jeff Hall) and a third team
(Jason Crowder, Kris Kampsen, Tommy Biddle and Ruben Gracida) thrown together
to give the visitors some practice chukkers before playing for the
International Cup on Sunday.

Neither national team showed any star power, although
both Roldan and Hall scored impressive goals in the competition.

“You don’t want to show too much of what you have,”
offered Le Poer when asked about the unimpressive showing on the field.  “You don’t want to let them see all of your
game plan.”

Although no score was kept, the American team left the
field satisfied with their performance while the English played a bit longer
amongst themselves.

“We’re still evaluating the horses,” said former English
team captain Andrew Hine.  “We want to
make sure we have them organized in the proper order and allotted to the right

Hine was flown over to coach the four English youngsters
as they embark on a mission of keeping the streak alive.  The English (James Beim, Mark Tomlinson,
Eduardo Astrada and Luke Tomlinson) downed the United States (Jeff Blake, Jeff
Hall, Adam snow and Nic Roldan) 10-9 in the 2009 Westchester Cup (a defense of
their 1997 victory) and then an English squad (Oliver Cudmore, Malcolm Borwick,
James Beim and Luke Tomlinson) scored an 11-10.5 win over a USA foursome (Marc
Ganzi, Paul Pieres, Nic Roldan and Jeff Hall) in the St. Regis International
Cup in May.  The United States were
betting that the current lineup would be able to bring a halt to the one-sided
victories in hopes of a 2013 Westchester Cup match in England.

“We have a rather young team,” Hine admitted, “but I am
comfortable that there is a lot of talent on the team, and that it is very
capable of winning the match.”

Hine’s coaching talents have assisted English teams in a
number of international victories, and his time spent as captain of the English
side have added playing experience to his rather impressive resume.

Whether his young charges will be up to the task is yet
to be seen.

The England vs. USA match for the International Cup is
slated to be played at 3pm on Sunday at the Grand Champions Polo Club.  A 1pm match featuring an English women’s team
(Sarah Wiseman, Hazel Jackson, Clair Donnelly and Nina Clarkin) against a
picked USA team (Melissa Ganzi, Tiffany Busch, Sunny Hale and Gillian Johnston)
will precede the men’s showdown.