Tough Mudder 2015
Cotswold TV came to Tough Mudder 2015 held in Cirencester Park…
Cirencester Park Polo Club was founded in 1894 under the 7th Earl Bathurst and remains within the heart of The Bathurst Estate with arguably the finest scenic back drops in the sport. The present 9th Earl Bathurst remains as the Club’s President.
It is the oldest polo club in the country and started modestly with just two grounds. It was not until 1909 that Lord Bathurst gave permission for the world famous Ivy Lodge grounds to be ‘boarded’, with another ground shortly being added, making four. In 2008 such was the demand and need, another three grounds were built and the Club now has an enviable seven grounds on which to enjoy the magnificent game.
The early history of the club shows many differences between polo then and the experience we are familiar with today. Ponies were loaned between players and Cirencester was regarded as the Senior Club in the country, an accolade it still enjoys to this day, and at the turn of the century enthusiasm for the game really took hold and Cirencester held many of the most popular tournaments.
Polo was abandoned during the two Great Wars, the club’s history books refer to the outbreak of the First World War. In the summer of 1914 it was agreed that the Open Tournament would need a public viewing stand and one was agreed upon. However, immediately below the announcement in the Club minutes, the following terse lines were entered: ‘Four days after the above meeting, viz August 4th 1914, England declared war on Germany and the Great European War began in real earnest and members of the Polo Club of military age rushed to join their various regiments – the tournament being immediately abandoned and military duties at once entered upon’.
Polo was resumed in earnest after the First World War with many leading players such as The Prince of Wales taking enthusiastic part. During the 1939-45 conflict the Ivy Lodge grounds were ploughed up for the war effort and it was not until 1952 when The Earl Bathurst and his brother, The Honourable George Bathurst called a meeting and the club was reformed under the name of Cirencester Park Polo Club.
Cirencester has hosted the best players in the world, and playing members of The Royal Family have all played an enormously important part in the Club’s history. In the 1920’s The Prince of Wales, later King Edward VIII was a regular visitor, His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales (Prince Charles) hugely enjoyed the game here until he retired from the sport – and Prince William and Prince Harry play regularly in charity matches each season. Many foreign dignitaries have also played, including The Maharaja of Jaipur and The Sultan of Brunei.
The club has gone from strength to strength in recent decades and today many top tournaments are fiercely contested including The Gerald Balding Cup, The County Cup, The Queen Mother Trophy and of course The Warwickshire Cup, commonly regarded as one of the tournaments in the Polo Season.
The Warwickshire Cup is arguably the most exciting of the season, hotly contested by teams from around the world. The tournament traditionally starts in late July and runs through to the thrilling final in August – a sight to be seen! The club itself has a large contingent of both playing and non-playing members and matches are played nearly every day in The Park during the season. The polo club has excellent facilities with a Clubhouse Bar and Restaurant, changing rooms and grandstands within the Members enclosure. For non-members the game provides a wonderful day out for the family, with the ability to bring a picnic and to enjoy this magnificent game in the stunning setting of Cirencester Park.
And if you are looking for the perfect setting in which to entertain your guests, the Club has excellent opportunities for corporate entertainment. The Dorchester Hotel and Ladbrokes, as well as many local companies are regular visitors to The Park where clients, friends and guests can enjoy a superb day watching polo, drinking champagne and soaking up the atmosphere.
For more information about Cirencester Polo Club, Membership and Day Passes, as well as corporate entertainment please visit the Polo Club Website