Saturday 15th June sees the return of Elemis Polo at The Manor. We are sure most of you are looking forward to this spectacular event to be held at the beautiful Celtic Manor Resort. But before the festivities kick off, we thought it might be a good idea to give you a brief history of the sport.
Polo is played on horseback with the objective of scoring goals. A long-handled mallet is used to drive the ball through the goals. Each team traditionally consists of four players on ponies. A traditional polo field is 300 yards by 150 yards but Polo at the Manor has a bespoke playing surface of 220 yards by 100 yards. Matches are divided into periods of play called chukkas.
Polo, often referred to as "The Sport of Kings", has been around since the 1st Century AD, making it the oldest team sport in recorded history. Invented in Persia, it was originally a sport used for military training and by the Middle Ages was played across Asia from Constantinople to Japan. The modern game was popularised in India and brought to Britain by two British soldiers. Captain Robert Stewart and Lieutenant (later Major General) Joe Sherer were responsible for starting the first ever polo club called the Calcutta Polo Club, in 1862. The sport found its way to Britain with returning soldiers and the first club to be established on these shores was actually the Monmouthshire Polo Club in 1872.
The game is started once the ball is thrown in by the umpire at the beginning of each chukka and after a goal is scored. As the game is played at great speeds, it required that the player change his polo pony at regular intervals. A tradition of the sport is to allow the spectators on the field at half time to partake in what is known as “treading the divots”. Players are ranked on a score of -2 to 10 goals and depending on the total rank the team is then handicapped. The most important rule to be aware of is the “line of the ball” – an imaginary line created by the ball as it travels. The player that hits the ball has the right of way and no other player may cross the line (unless in a non-dangerous situation). Players have to ride either side of the line of the ball, with an infringement resulting in a foul or a penalty.
The Celtic Manor Resort is proud to be hosting such a prestigious event as Elemis Polo at the Manor and has plenty of entertainment in store for all who attend.