As we are now well into the season of spring, the St Andrews Polo Club held their annual Charity Polo Match this past Saturday. The event, held on Errol Park Estate, was a perfect escape from the bubble and a good way to celebrate the end of coursework deadlines. I have not been to a polo match before; however, after hearing great things of the last few tournaments I thought I would give it a shot. I can honestly say I have never been to or experienced an event like it.
My start to the event was rather confusing, as our bus got lost, which meant we needed to walk just a little under a quarter of a mile to the venue. Honestly, I enjoyed the ‘pilgrimage’ to the venue as I felt it gave me time to experience the surroundings of the estate.
Once we entered the venue, it was very notable how much effort and thought the committee had put into the set-up. Upon entering you experience the standard section providing all guests access to a mini food village, a polo mini store, bar, a good look at a Tesla car, picnic tables and an information booth of the charity they are supporting. The mini food village was filled with a variety of different food options from the classic St Andrews Black Horn to Alpen Dumplings and Goulash–there was something for everyone. People sat on picnic tables and blankets by the field watching the polo whilst enjoying food and the company of their friends. I was pleasantly surprised by how lovely the set-up was, with lots of space that eased my fear of overcrowding.
I took a wander around the VIP section, which was a bit more lively than the standard section…maybe this is because VIP guests had access to much more free Bouvet-Ladubay? The section was quite different compared to standard. Unfortunately, I was not given access to the VVIP section, but I have heard only good things about it. With basically more than a bottle of Bouvet-Ladubay per guest and a full Afternoon Tea Service included in the price of the ticket, I believe that guests were shown a good time.
One of the things I truly enjoy about St Andrews’ events is the fashion. The students of St Andrews take fashion to the next level. Although, it was a nippy afternoon, many ladies still took this opportunity to slip on their spring time dresses and boys attended in their blazers and coloured chinos. All in all the colour scheme of the event seemed to be pastels.
The standard, VIP and VVIP sections were all given pitch-side views, which allowed for a very pleasant afternoon. I found myself engrossed in the game and at the edge of my seat. One of the most captivating matches for me was between St Andrews and the Dragoon Guards who were there representing the Army. Unfortunately, St Andrews Polo team were defeated by the Dragoon Guards in this high pressure match. Each year St Andrews Polo team and the Dragoon Guards play for the Hayward and Stott cup. Both teams played well, however, so it was an enjoyable watch.
The one problem I have with a number of St Andrews Charity events is that they often do not emphasise the Charity that they are supporting. I think Polo did an admirable job of indicating that they were supporting Help For Heroes. They had a stand by the entrance of the event, which had Help For Heroes volunteers who were very informative. There was also an army tank parked in one of the corners of the venues, on top of which guests were allowed to take pictures. Army veterans actually comprised one of the teams taking part. In between a set of matches, a helicopter landed in the middle of the pitch, which was a lovely surprise given that many rehabilitated veterans who were injured in action are trained by the charity to become helicopter pilots.
My first Polo match was extremely enjoyable. The event was well-organised and ran very smoothly. If it were not my last year in St Andrews I would definitely go again next year. Definitely add Polo to your list of events to attend in St Andrews!