Polo Players Edition


Polo Players' Edition is the official publication of the U.S. Polo Association. Dedicated to the sport of polo, it features player profiles, game strategy, horse care, playing tips, polo club news and tournament results.

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Page 64 of 67

POLO P L A Y E R S E D I T I O N 63 in a really close-knit team." The RNPA Bluejackets competed all over the world in the '30s, standing out at bigtime tournaments like Hurlingham and excelling in the inter-regimental tournament against the long-established Army team. Twice they won the Ranelagh Cup. When stationed at Malta, Mountbatten was a fixture at the famed Marsa, where he was also a patron. It was then he passed on the game to Prince Philip, who was stationed there with the Royal Navy after he wed then Princess Elizabeth. He also established an Adsdean team, which often competed at Cowdray Park. The man who received the sword of surrender from Imperial Japan and was awarded the Order of the Garter regard- ed his 110 polo Trophies among his prized possessions. Robert Neville, his teammate on the Royal Navy Polo Team once recalled, "He was the perfect captain, both on and off the field ... He inspired his teammates ... On the field he never got rattled or bad- tempered. And no matter how silly one was he was always forgiving and encour- aging ..." Mountbatten was awarded a patent for the RNPA head, an oval-shaped polo mal- let, that enhanced one's strike. In typical Mountbatten fashion he describes its con- struction and virtues in detail, explaining that the tapered head forms an axis in the direction of the strike, providing a truer hit "and a decided improvement in trajectory at a ratio of 25 to 10." He also saw the need for a standard- ized set of rules for all polo-playing nations. With that in mind he penned a unified set of rules and organized a con- ference in 1939, only to have it interrupt- ed by war. The ideas he codified on paper would later become the Hurlingham Polo Rules and were likewise adopted as the Argentine standard. The international blue book was originally the brainchild of Mountbatten. Lord Mountbatten's life was sadly struck down by an IRA bomb in 1979, but his polo heritage lives on. Guard's Polo Club, founded by Prince Philip, established the Mountbatten Cup to hon- or his legacy. "We founded the cup to recognize [Lord Mountbatten's] immense contribu- tion to the sport," said Guards spokesper- son Diana Butler. "Although it is 40 years since his death, Mountbatten continues to influence the game [of polo]." Lord Mountbatten passed down his knowledge and passion fervor for polo not only to Philip, a 5-handicap player, but also to Prince Charles who called him a surrogate grandfather. His great- nephew, George Mountbatten and his wife Clare, the Marquis and Marchioness of Milford-Haven, are also avid polo play- ers, playing all over the world and win- ning multiple awards. "We always feel proud that the Mount- batten name lives on today through the sport," said Lady Milford-Haven, who has won tournaments all over the world since 1999. "Winning the Mountbatten Cup was very special for me. Both my hus- band and I have won … on separate occa- sions. It's an honor to continue his lega- cy. I wish I had met him. People ought to remember Lord Mountbatten's passion and enthusiasm for the sport … 'An Intro- duction to Polo' …became the bible of the sport for many years." Lt. Cdr. Lord Louis Mountbatten, second from right, with The Bluejackets team. The team competed all over the world in the 1930s, twice winning the Ranelagh Cup. Mountbatten's book on polo fundamentals Mountbatten's patent for the oval-shaped RNPA mallet head.

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