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Bayley’s Savile Cup

Story Provided by Gae Parrott

Bayley’s Savile Cup, a national polo tournament played once a year, will be held in Kihikihi, commencing on Tuesday 9th March with the finals on Sunday 14 March.

Sixteen teams will contest the low Goal section for the Riddiford Levin Cup and just three for the high goal section with a handicap ceiling of 18 as against 4 for the Junior section.

Six teams will vie for the Waipa district Council Hamish Wilson Cup, with two of those made up of Kihikihi Polo Club players.

Almost all the high goal players are at Kerry Packer’s Elleston 18 and 16 goal tournament in Australia and Cody Forsythe, recognised as NZ’s longest high goaler in NZ, once on 8 and now 7, pulled out two hours before the entries closed due to lack of horses.

Auckland "Morningstar" won the Savile last year with ring-ins, JP Clarkin and Simon Keyte from Cambridge supporting patron, Arthur Morgenstern.

Will Lucas, the Englishman, based in Rangitikei, will be the only 7 handicapper in the High Goal and his team won the Kihikihi 10 goal tournament a month ago and look capable of winning the 114 Year old Savile Cup.

Cambridge however with 2 five goalers, Robert Watson and Allan Browne, and 4 goalers, Paul Clarkin and James Watson, look a very evenly balanced team and will give Rangitikei a run for their money.

Waimai, on 15 goals will miss Thomas Wilson, the 7 goaler, but his brother Craig on 5 and long time team members Baden Broughton and Alex Parrott won the Savile Cup in 2002 and first time in 1994, 95, 96 and 97. They will be joined by Bud Sorby on 3 who has worked the Parrott ponies for quite a number of years.

Kihikihi will field two Intermediate teams in the Intermediate section for the Savile Cup, each team of 10 goals with Auckland, Cambridge, Poverty Bay and Wanstead. All those games will be at the Kihikihi Domain as will the 3 high goal games which start on Wednesday at 3.30 between Cambridge A and Rangitikei A .

The Low goal section will be played off at Cambridge and Morrinsville from Tuesday through Thursday with a rest day for all teams on Friday except for high goal match between Rangitikei and Waimai at 3.30, probably at Nga Rakau grounds. They will have a rest day on Saturday. The two teams with the most points after round robin play will be the Open finalists on Sunday.

Kihikihi last won the Intermediate Section in 2001 at Rangitikei.

Mr Archie Kay noted that it was 42 years ago when Kihikihi last won the Savile Cup in Waikato and all those players are alive today. There were three Kays’, Archie, Tony and Brian and the eldest, Allan Elliot, still farming at Wharepuhunga. Their ages would add up to 314 years.