Women’s East Coast Handicap Polo Championship
On Saturday, June 30, Georgetown-based Boston Polo Club played in the final USPA match against Newport.
Photo by Joseph Salvatore Prezioso
The sound of thunder filled the air surround by oohs and ahhs as eight horses and riders battled on the field for possession of the ball. It was a polo championship match.
People tailgated around the polo field in Newport style. They were decked out in their best sports jackets, sun dresses, and Hawaiian shirts. There were plenty of cocktails and drinks going around too.
This past Saturday Beverly’s Mark Tashjian, 31, took his Georgetown-based Boston Polo Club to Newport to play in the final match of the United States Polo Association (USPA) Women’s East Coast Handicap Polo Championship against Newport.
Boston lost seven to four against the home team in the four chukka (a chukka is a period) match.
“I couldn’t be prouder,” says Boston Polo coach/manager Mark Tashjian. “When you have the home advantage, it’s like anything else, it’s a big help.”
One of the prominent players on Newport was Minnie Keating who kept Boston players under heavy pressure throughout the match. She kept control of the field and the score. “Minnie’s family runs Newport Polo here, so she pretty much knows this field like the back of her hand. She knows how to play the field,” says Tashjian.
“It was neck and neck, going into the last chukka; it was five to four,” says Tashjian. That’s where Newport took the lead and left Boston behind.
Boston Polo currently has 14 horses in its roster and they brought 11 to compete in the championship.
Boston Polo is a much newer team then the historic Newport Polo league, yet they still beat out the other older teams and made it to the final match.
Many Polo players travel the world to play for various teams and in different tournaments and now Boston Polo is attracting some of these players. Today’s team attracted players from Hawaii, Tiamo Hudspeth; and New York, Athena Malin, to play for Boston. The word is getting around.
“It’s a little lower play, we have a few beginners, but the coaching is so good, it’s still a great community,” says Boston Polo player Elizabeth Owen, 17, of Carlisle. “It’s really fun.” Owens is at Boston Polo in Georgetown practicing two to three times a week and even plays indoor arena polo in the winter.
“They (Newport) have been around a lot longer. This is the oldest polo club in the country and they have been continuously running for almost 30 years. The polo on the North Shore is just much newer. We haven’t been around anywhere near as long,” says Tashjian.
They are growing and have been running games and tournaments against other clubs in Georgetown for the past few years. Many college players from around the state have been taking part in the winter arena games held there.
This season Boston Polo has played Harvard, Newport, and Vermont, and held various fun event days to get people in the North Shore interested in the sport. From a winter ball to a Kentucky Derby day, Boston Polo is trying to be a relevant force in the North Shore.
Photos by Joseph Prezioso