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Member Welcome Pack 2016–17

Note from the Chairman

Welcome to Oxford University Polo Club (OUPC). I hope this will be the start of a long and successful relationship not only between yourself and OUPC, but also with polo in general. Polo is a very rewarding sport – and highly addictive. It provides you the opportunity to excel at a sport you may not have considered before and most importantly, it’s great fun, both on and off the pitch! This pack is a basic introduction to OUPC and polo – it provides information on the club, coaching, fixtures, socials, and also where you can go beyond this. I hope you find this to be of use. If you have any questions or comments, do not hesitate to contact me or any other committee members.

Issa Dasu Patel Chairman 2016–17

Club Contact Details email: web: facebook: twitter: instagram: @OUPoloClub @oxforduniversitypoloclub

Committee 2016–17 Senior Member Coach

Jim Hall II, Said Business School David Ashby

Chairman Captain Secretary Treasurer Polo Manager Fixtures Officer Social Secretary External Relations Officer Membership & Alumni Officer

Issa Dasu Patel, Lady Margaret Hall Louis Maddison, St Hugh’s College Martyna Zelek, Jesus College Aurelia Vandamme, Keble College James Coates, Oncology Department Charlie Hitchman, Magdalen College Heather Winsor, Brasenose College Sally Schwartz, St Catherine’s College Zihan Xu, Green Templeton College

Ball Presidents

Sarah White, St Catherine’s College & Martyna Zelek, Jesus College

About OUPC Oxford University Polo Club was founded in 1874, just three years after the introduction of polo to Britain, and it continues to be a thriving and successful university polo club, creating history in the polo world to this very day. Despite its prestigious history, OUPC is a relaxed and sociable club. We want to encourage students from all backgrounds to participate in the sport, whether they are complete beginners or seasoned professionals. We hold regular lessons throughout the year with David Ashby and his team at ‘Oxford Polo’, helping you to develop the basic skills necessary. During the ‘Arena Season’ (Michaelmas and Hilary) we are based at East End Farm in North Leigh and during the ‘Summer Season’ (Trinity) we are based at Kirtlington Park Polo Club. To help put the foundations you learn at our lessons in to practice, we organise both friendly and competitive matches and tournaments – at all levels – among OUPC members, with other universities, polo clubs, and professional teams. At OUPC, the highlight of the year is the annual Varsity Match against Cambridge, played on the grounds of Guards Polo Club during Trinity term. As well as our packed polo schedule, we hold regular and varied socials, gatherings, and events as a club, to which we invite guests with open arms, the highlight of which is our annual white-tie ball at Blenheim Palace.

Membership Membership fee for OUPC for 2016–17 is priced at: £35 for a full membership £20 for a social membership Please complete the online membership form and make payment to confirm your membership. Memberships are only open to Oxford University students, academic visitors, and members (i.e. all holders of a Bodleian card, except those with external reader’s cards)

• Benefits of OUPC social membership


Access to all OUPC socials Priority access and subsidised tickets to the annual white-tie ball at Blenheim Palace Priority access to La Martina Varsity match tickets Priority access and subsidised prices for OUPC’s exclusive La Martina stash

• Benefits of OUPC full membership All of the above plus…


Subsidised OUPC lessons with ‘Oxford Polo’ Full coverage of entry fees for fixtures Subsidised pony hire for fixtures Use of OUPC kit and equipment Invitations for selected OUPC trips Selection for squad for top players

Socials We all know the saying ‘work hard, play hard’ – this could not be truer for OUPC, organising a whole variety of events and parties. We feel comfortable in saying, OUPC is one of the most sociable and welcoming clubs in Oxford, with a strong social scene. This year, OUPC is delighted to announce a new partnership with Varsity Events. As a club member, this will give you a variety of perks: crewdates at The Varsity Club, queue jump at Bridge, Emporium, and Disco Stu’s and VIP treatment on polo nights out.

Some of the annual social highlights are: - Welcome Drinks - Christmas Dinner - Annual Dinner - Varsity after-party - Crewdates - Formal hall swaps

OUPC Ball Without a doubt a key highlight of the polo social scene, OUPC’s white-tie ball at Blenheim Palace is very much an annual fixture and set to return for 2016–17. Held towards the end of Hilary term each year, the OUPC ball sees members, polo players from across the country, and even ponies, gather inside the breath-taking Blenheim Place, ancestral home of Winston Churchill. OUPC is one of few sports clubs in Oxford to host its very own ball and previous OUPC Balls have seen the likes of Tatler, Town & Country, and Polo Times mingle with guests.


OUPC is delighted to have La Martina as its oďŹƒcial kit and equipment supplier, for both the Varsity match and club. OUPC members can expect priority access and subsidised pricing to some of the best stash in Oxford – polo shirts, whites, kit bags, caps, and more!

Coaching The club organises regular lessons and squad sessions with David Ashby and his team at ‘Oxford Polo’, who have worked with players ranging from beginners to pros for several years. As you progress with OUPC, lessons will also help you gain the knowledge, skills, and confidence to take part in competitive matches and tournaments.

• Divisions Lessons are grouped according to ability, to ensure you are learning with people who are of a similar level to you. If you are unsure as to where you fit in, please speak to our Coach at one of the lessons. Beginner: new to polo (started in 2016–17) Novice: 1+ year of experience (started in 2015–16) Intermediate: handicapped players

• Costs Group lessons for members cost £45/hour and must be paid for in cash or by card to ‘Oxford Polo’ on the day of your lesson. Lesson cost includes: coaching from a qualified instructor; pony hire (these are all reliable and safe polo ponies that are owned by Oxford Polo. Over time, you will get to know these ponies well and may even ride the same one regularly); insurance; and equipment use. If you are worried about the costs, note that you do not have to commit to lessons on a regular basis – some of our members play every week, whilst some play once a month!

• Signing up Weekly lessons are organised by the Polo Manager through Bookwhen and will be advertised in the Weekly Email.

• Transport There are several options for getting to and from polo: - Own car: if members have their own car in Oxford, they can drive the group down, with all passengers reimbursing the driver for fuel. - Zipcar: the club has a partnership with Zipcar (a rental service with several cars across Oxford), to which members can sign-up. The club will reimburse your Zipcar membership fee. The cost of each booking would be covered by the driver and other members riding with you then reimburse you for their share of the booking. The cost is usually £3-5 per person. - Taxis: these are generally costly, but may be used as a last resort. As stated in the declaration, you must pay your share of the transport cost to the driver / member who made the booking (whether riding in someone else's car, Zipcar, or any other form of transport). Please also note that responsibility for collecting payments from other members for transport (whether in your own car, Zipcar, or any other form of transport) lies with the driver / member who made the booking, with the club bearing no responsibility in the matter.

What do I need? When starting out, ‘Oxford Polo’ and OUPC will provide you with most of the equipment you will need and you do not need to worry about buying your own. As you start to play more regularly, you will need to invest in these: OUPC members, the committee, and Oxford Polo will happily provide guidance on this.

• Equipment not provided 1.

Boots When starting out, you can play in any boots that have a heel – this is to prevent your feet slipping through the stirrups when you ride. After a few lessons, we would advise you to buy full-length polo boots, as these offer more protection.

2. Whites When starting out, you can play in jodhpurs / comfortable jeans. As you start to play in fixtures you will have to wear white jeans – referred to in the polo world as ‘whites’.

• Equipment provided by Oxford Polo / OUPC 1.

Helmet When starting out, you can borrow a helmet from Oxford Polo. After a few lessons, we would ask you to buy your own for insurance purposes. If you are looking to buy your own, there are various options and it is up to you which you choose. The cheapest option is to buy a skull cap with / without silk covers: this will cost around £40-60. Alternatively you can buy a polo helmet. These vary in price. The most commonly used is the Charles Owen ‘Young Riders Polo’ which can be bought online or at stockists for £120. High-end helmets include those made by La Martina. These cost between £400-600 and are highly customisable. N.B. Please ensure that your helmet complies with SUPA regulation which states that all helmets must be 3- or 4-point linkage helmets and ‘BS Kite-marked’.

2. Mallet and Balls Polo mallets tend to range from 49-54 inches in length – the most commonly used length being a 52 inch stick. The specific mallet length is usually on the head of the mallet. The ball used differs. Arena balls are larger and lighter: they look similar to mini-footballs. Field balls are smaller and heavier: they look similar to hockey balls. 3.

Kneepads You will not need these for coaching, however when playing in chukkas and competitively they are vital for protection. OUPC can provide these if needed, though it is recommended that you buy your own, especially if you choose to play competitively.

• Other equipment 1.

Gloves You may notice that when playing for extended periods of time you may start to get blisters – this can be easily avoided with riding / polo gloves.

Squad For both the winter (Michaelmas and Hilary) and summer season (Trinity), a select number of OUPC’s top players are picked to be part of the squad. While the size of the squad is flexible, typically the winter squad consists of 9–10 players and the summer squad 11–12. The Varsity teams, along with teams for other intermediate fixtures, are selected from the squad.

• Selection OUPC no longer holds trials for squad selection, in order to allow for a fluid squad which can change as players progress. In order to be considered for the squad, please contact our Captain and speak to the Coach, who can keep an eye out on you in normal weekly lessons.

• Costs Subsidised squad lessons are back for 2016–17! All squad players are now entitled to a minimum of 10 subsidised squad lessons throughout the year at a price of £25/hour. An upfront payment for these 10 lessons (£250) to OUPC is mandatory for confirmation of your place in the squad and will be invoiced to you by the Treasurer.

Fixtures As noted earlier, we want to encourage students to participate fully in the sport, whether they are complete beginners or seasoned professionals. To help us do this, we have a dedicated Fixtures Officer position on the committee, who is responsible for organising fixtures at all levels. The club will aim to cover all entry fees for players for fixtures. Members wishing to partake will be required only to cover their pony hire costs (and transports costs, if applicable), which will be detailed for each fixture. Members must agree to the ‘Cancellation Policy’ form on the online membership form to be eligible to play.

• Varsity Match The Varsity Polo Match is an annual match between OUPC and Cambridge University Polo Club, played in teams of 4 players, and sponsored by leading polo and lifestyle brand, La Martina. Members of both teams are traditionally known as Blues, with Oxford playing in dark blue shirts and Cambridge in light blue. It it is usually held during the Trinity term (beginning of June) at Guards Polo Club. The Varsity Match was most recently contested in June 2016, and was won by Oxford with a historic score of 19-0. As of 2016, Oxford has won 61 times and Cambridge 57 times. The Varsity team is chosen by the Captain and Coach from the summer squad. Varsity players are awarded a Half Blue, and since 2016, one player may be awarded a Full Blue.

• Winter Varsity Match Inaugurated in 2015–2016, the Winter Varsity sees the Battle of the Blues take place in an arena during the winter season. In order to allow for players of various abilities to take place, there is a Winter Varsity B match too. The current tally stands in favour of Cambridge by 1-0.

• Atlantic Cup In 2002, the Yale University polo team invited Oxford and Cambridge to New Haven for an unprecedented transatlantic competition. Deemed a success, the competition initiated an annual tradition, now known as the Atlantic Cup. In 2016, after a 7 year break, the Atlantic Cup was relaunched with Oxford, Cambridge, and Guards Polo Club co-hosting the Cup. This new format of the Atlantic Cup started a new tradition with the addition of Harvard University. The Atlantic Cup 2016 was won by Oxford, with a substantial goal margin.

• Schools’ and Universities’ Polo Association The Schools’ and Universities’ Polo Association (SUPA) is the youth division of the Hurlingham Polo Association (HPA). They organise a regional league (launched this year) alongside two national tournaments for players of all levels. OUPC will enter teams for these, depending on the level of interest. Each team is made up of 3 players and plays selected number of chukkas. Members may also choose to ‘chukka share’ – dividing the chukkas with another player. To play in SUPA matches, each member needs to be registered with SUPA – membership lasts 12 months and costs £55. The membership will also provide you with insurance.

• Cuppers Cuppers is the term referring to intercollegiate sporting competitions. OUPC runs Winter Cuppers in Hilary and Summer Cuppers in Trinity. With polo being a small sport relative to others, the Polo Manager will help members form teams, with the rule that one guest from another college is allowed to be part of another college team. Cuppers is a great way to get involved in some competitive and fun polo, with teams often competing in dress as much as polo!

• Other Fixtures Aside from the above, our Fixtures Officer will aim to have approximately 4-5 fixtures (chukkas, matches, and tournaments) per term. Fixtures are organised according to ability (in the same way as lessons): beginner, novice, and intermediate / squad; this helps to ensure that you are playing with people at a similar level, helping you to excel.

• International Fixtures OUPC is a leading university team with a strong international presence and record. In the past, overseas trips have been held to India, playing against the Indian Cavalry, and to Dubai, with British Polo Day. For several years, OUPC have also been invited to play in Tianjin, China in the Metropolitan Intervarsity Tournament against Cambridge, ULU, and several Ivy League universities. In 2016, Oxford were crowned champions – the cherry atop the most successful season in OUPC history.

Beyond University Polo University polo can provide you with plenty of opportunities to play and enjoy the sport. It is ideal for a busy student as you can play as much or as little as you like. Once you take up the addictive sport, however, you may find yourself wanting to take it one step further by joining an HPA affiliated polo club and becoming a handicapped player. Polo handicaps start at -2 and go up to 10. Upon joining a club, players are ranked as ‘S' – this means that you are now able to play in chukkas and tournaments at your club. To play at other clubs you will need a handicap of -2 which can be gained by completing a simple ‘Rules Test’, based on the HPA Rules of Polo - OUPC puts on a rules test each Trinity, with the help of Oxford Polo, to accommodate for people wanting to be handicapped. If you would like to get even more involved in the polo world our local polo club is Kirtlington Park Polo Club, which holds regular tournaments and friendly ‘club chukkas’ during the Summer Season. OUPC can help you attain the discounted student membership with Kirtlington.

Our Partners - Oxford Polo - La Martina -

Guards Polo Club Kirtlington Park Polo Club Calcutta Polo Club Tianjin Goldin Metropolitan Club Cambridge University Polo Club University of London Polo Club

- Varsity Events - British Polo Gin - Polo Times - Tatler - Zipcar - Tilt - Cashew app

Useful Links -

Basics of Polo Official Rules of Polo Hurlingham Polo Association (HPA) Schools’ and Universities’ Polo Association (SUPA)

Appendix • Declaration - I do not have any medical condition(s) that could prevent or limit full and safe participation in equestrian sports. If this changes during the course of the membership year, I will notify the club of such condition(s). - I understand that there is an element of risk involved in equestrian sports and that the club can not accept any responsibility for injury / harm caused from participation. - I accept the risks of riding unfamiliar horses. - I agree to pay my share of the transport cost to the driver / member who made the booking (whether riding in someone else's car, Zipcar, or any other form of transport). - I understand that responsibility for collecting payments from other members for transport (whether in your own car, Zipcar, or any other form of transport) lies with the driver / member who made the booking, with the club bearing no responsibility in the matter. - I understand that club membership may be ceased immediately in the event of gross misconduct, with no refund of any membership fees payable. - I agree to the data collected on this form being kept by the club for the duration of membership. - I understand that such data may be distributed to committee members and external instructors, only so far as necessary for the running of the club. Other than where required in consultation with the University Sports Department and Sports Federation, the information on this form will not be supplied to any other third party.

• Cancellation Policy By becoming a member of Oxford University Polo Club (henceforth referred to as OUPC), I agree to abide by the following Cancellation Policy laid out by the OUPC Committee on behalf of OUPC. ‘Fixture(s)’ herein will refer to any chukkas, matches, or tournaments, either run by OUPC or any other external clubs and companies. ‘Charges’ herein will concern all pre-arranged fees and are payable to OUPC – these include, but are not limited to: entry fees, horse hire, and transportation costs. All pre-arranged fees will be laid out by the Fixtures Officer, Captain, or OUPC fixture organiser upon player selection. Charges will be made as follows: 1.

Cancellation before 72 hours of a fixture: no charge;


Cancellation within 72 hours of a fixture: charge of 50% of pre-arranged fees;


Cancellation within 24 hours of a fixture: charge of 100% of pre-arranged fees.

I understand that any exceptions to the above Cancellation Policy are to be determined at the discretion of the Fixtures Officer, Captain, or OUPC fixture organiser.

This document was produced by Issa Dasu Patel, Chairman 2016–17. With special thanks to Mehfuz Dasu Patel, ex-Chairman at the University of Manchester Polo Club. Please contact at for any comments and suggestions.

Member Pack 2016–17  

Want to become a member of one of the largest and most social sports club in Oxford? Read on to see what's in store!