Date: Tuesday, October 13, 2020
Four teams of top contenders descended on Newport to compete for one of the oldest arena polo trophies in the U.S. on a spectacular, mild Autumn weekend, October 10-11, 2020. On the dais was the illustrious 86 year-old George C. Sherman perpetual trophy, inaugurated in 1934 to honor the father of arena polo, plus new prize money, laurels & recognitions. Avalon Farm defeated TD Greengos in the Semi's to advance to a berth in the championship round, going on to beat the host team, Newport, in the Final to earn its place in US polo history as the 2020 champions.
"It's a great honor to host this historic tournament for the fourth consecutive year," commented Dan Keating, Westchester Polo Club (Newport Polo) president and Club Delegate to the United States Polo Association (USPA). "As the first polo club in America, we share George Sherman's pioneering spirit, and were priveleged to keep the flame burning bright this year as well."
Day One featured single elimination Semi-Final competition to earn a place in the Championship round. Team matchups were made by random draw, pitting returning contender Avalon Farm (Margaux Buchanan, Amanda Poor Roberts, Eugenio Ferrari and Katie Mitcham) against TD Greengos (Clark Curtis, Megan Schultz and Rory Torrey), in which Avalon Farm deftly subdued the biggest threat and handily outscored its rival 14-8 to stand out as a favorite for the Championship round. Next up, in a rematch of last year's Final, returning runner up Newport (Roger Souto, Tim Day and Dan Keating) faced defending champs Westchester (Mia Purdom, Luke Merrick and Minnie Keating) in the second Semi-Final match. The defending champs led through the first half, but Newport's third period rally turned the tide for a 15-13 opening round victory.
Day two competition brought TD and Westchester to play for the bronze finish. Again Westchester led the first half in scoring, but a torrent unleashed by TD ushered the team into the lead by the end of the third chukker and continued outpacing Westchester for an exciting 3rd place finish, 12-10. Then, it was on to the final event when Avalon Farm suited up against Newport to achieve ultimate glory. Tied after the first period, Avalon Farm pulled away in the 2nd chukker with Newport on the ropes, but Newport came out swinging in the 4th period with a battery of goals to tie the score, allowing a single goal at the buzzer to trail by a 1 point, but the 4th chukker came down to arena technique where Avalon Farm had the upper hand to earn the laurels of victory as the new reigning champions.
Following the Championship Round, the Host Tournament Committee's Amy Garrison presented the George C. Sherman Memorial trophy and the $2500 prize purse to Avalon Farm's Katie Mitcham, Amanda Poor Roberts, Eugenio Ferrari and Margaux Buchanan. By unanimous vote of the consolation team captains, Amanda Poor Roberts was awarded MVP, and Maverick, owned/played by Dan Keating in the 3rd chukker was named Best Playing Pony.
Photo by: Michel and Stephen Almeida Photography. View the full album on Facebook.
Newport Polo thanks the United States Polo Association for this historic opportunity and great honor, and support from the USPA Tournament Stimulous Program, including USPA Umpire Horton Schwartz, as well as its tournament staff & volunteers, Umpire Patrick Quigley, on Call Vet and official Club Veterinarian Dr. Margaux Buchanan from Southshore Equine Clinic, Equine Welfare Official Rory Torrey, WTR horse handlers from Newport Polo's interscholastic and intercollegiate programs, and Host Tournament Committee.
The National Sherman Memorial Tournament, inaugurated in 1935, is played to honor one of the giants of arena polo and is one of the oldest arena polo tournaments in the United States Polo Association. (See the complete list of past winners, p. 247 'Historical Tournament Results' published by The Museum of Polo and Hall of Fame.) Known as the “father of indoor polo”, Hall of Famer George C. Sherman, Sr. was almost single-handedly responsible for organizing and refining this now-popular variation of the sport. He introduced the inflatable ball, redesigned the standard polo equipment for the arena game’s specific needs and modified the rules of outdoor play for arena use. He was the founder & first president of the Indoor Polo Association (from 1915 to 1926), which merged with the USPA in 1956. He was zealous in bringing young players into the sport, presenting the Interscholastic Cup in 1928. Since all Intercollegiate and Interscholastic polo is now played in the arena, he may be said to have sired this invaluable training ground as well. His son, George C. Sherman, Jr., was also an arena high-goaler and made important contributions to the sport as a USPA Chairman and one of the founding spirits of the Museum of Polo. (Research information provided by Museum of Polo & Hall of Fame).
About Newport Polo: Newport Polo is the home of the Westchester Polo Club, America’s first polo club est. 1876, and founding member of the United States Polo Association, offering club member services for outdoor (grass) & arena polo, and polo instruction. The founding members, who hailed mostly from Westchester County, NY, established the club's summer headquarters and polo grounds in Newport, RI where its members annually convened for summer recreation. The original club in Newport remained active until 1929 and is credited for organizing the first international polo competition, the Westchester Cup. The Westchester Polo Club was revived in 1992 by President and delegate, Dan Keating. Colloquially know today as Newport Polo, the Club supports a vibrant polo training program continually introducing newcomers to the sport. It is home to the Brown University Polo Team and Roger Williams University teams, and Newport Interscholastic Polo teams. Newport Polo also hosts the Newport International Polo Series, a popular 18-week summer exhibition series.
Newport, Rhode Island: For more than 375 years, Newport has been welcoming visitors from near and far to its charming New England coastal harbor, earning its reputation as America’s First Resort. Evolving from its origins for religious freedom to prominent colonial port to Gilded Age playground to today - a destination ripe with sport, culture, history, art, entertainment and scenic beauty, distinctive shops, renowned restaurants, diverse accommodations and world-class events, its past, present, and future make this international resort uniquely legendary. also hosts the Newport International Polo Series, a popular 18-week summer exhibition series.