Winter Nationals ( equivalent for most sports of BUSC) is held at Onley grounds equestrian centre in February of each year. This year UWE sent five teams of different levels to Nationals to compete against hundreds of other teams and universities at the biggest university polo event of the year.  By Victoria Borrill.

Our first team is our Beginner team, these guys are all new to polo and only joined the club in September. Our second team is Novice 1a, these guys have been playing for a few years. Our third team (my team) is Novice 1, we too have been playing for a couple of years. Our fourth team is Lower intermediate consisting of players that have been playing as little as 2 years and as long as 5(ish) and our last team is the Open which included the president of our club Maimie Powell.

Lets begin with Thursday and our beginner team, a rocky start with an unfortunate loss, there were some unlucky plays with ponies managing to kick the ball in the opposite direction to the way they were scoring, despite this the play was very strong and a genuinely unlucky result for a valiant effort.
Our second team to play on Thursday was the Novice 1a team who fought well for a glorious win. They were closely followed into the arena by our Novice 1 team who also won their first match. That concluded Thursdays Chukkas for UWE and after a long day all turned in early ready for an early (well for students) start.
Friday was a fantastic day with all UWE teams that played winning their matches. The evening was then enjoyed having a meal with some of the other universities at our hotel followed by drinks and some friendly antics. Despite all efforts we weren’t able to injure the other teams by encouraging them to participate in a game involving a cardboard box that had to be picked up using your mouth. The entire day was very successful despite the terrible wind and rain and the celebrations continued well into the night.
Saturday morning came with a slight hangover but despite this once again UWE went out strong and won or drew all of their matches, three of our teams had now qualified for the finals and would be fighting it out for 1st or 2nd place the following day.
Saturday evening is the evening of the infamous fancy dress party held at the grounds, all the players and spectators are invited to dance the night away in the now extended clubhouse. The party was a massive success especially with our theme of Madagascar characters. I am proud to say that UWE were on their best behavior and had no casualties or embarrassing moments unlike some of the other universities.
Sunday morning arrived very quickly for many of us who had a slight lack of sleep due the amount of fun being had on Saturday night. All of our teams played incredibly well with our beginner team being placed 3rd, our Novice 1a team and the open team being placed 2nd and the Novice 1 and intermediate teams winning their divisions. Overall a fantastic if a little exhausting weekend with lots of thrill and not half as many spills.
Everyone left the weekend tired but happy and quite a lot heavier with the small amount of silver wear we managed to collect. The last congratulation go to Freddie in the open team who was the only faller from UWE with his rather elegant dismount from his steed. Thank god it wasn’t me, I’m not sure I would have been able to get back on my horse.
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