Players from both teams prepare for the ball to land after another player hit the ball higher than expected.
By Amelia Tarallo
Hometown Weekly Staff
It was a big day for sports on Sunday, September 8. The Patriots played their first official game of the season in the evening, and in the early afternoon, the Norfolk Hunt Club hosted its annual event and polo game, Polo in the Country, at the Norfolk Hunt Steeplechase Course. Players representing the Norfolk Hunt Club wore green as they played against the yellow-shirted Dedham Polo Club. The annual event raises money to support the maintenance and protection of open spaces in Medfield, Sherborn, and Dover.
The match began at 1:00, with four players representing each team sitting on horses, each with a long mallet in hand. The goal: to score as many times as possible during the six seven-minute chukkas. Within seconds of the start, the ball was hit down the field, clacking as it hit players mallets. Norfolk Hunt Club’s players scored first, sending the ball flying through the goalposts. The final score of the contest was 8-5 in favor of the Norfolk team.
Just as fun as the polo game were the entertaining tailgates set up around the perimeter of the field. Many polo lovers reserved a space to create their own themed area to watch the match. With the match just steps away and prizes being given out for best tailgate, it’s no shock that these viewers came with a competitive edge themselves. “They get very creative every year,” said one observer about the attendees. One tailgate was reminiscent of Cape Cod, with a shrunk-down light house, fishing-cages, and ocean-themed food to match.
One of the most meticulously planned tailgates was designed by members of Full Circle Stables in Sherborn. Themed around a circus, the tailgate included a popcorn machine and other carnival-esque foods, a circus ring, and a red and white tent. Attendees of the tailgate dressed for the theme: a leopard, a ringmaster, a mime, a couple of clowns, and even a trusty canine assistant populated the area. The favorite feature of the tailgate was Taz, the miniature pony. No child at the event could resist Taz’s charm and came running over to see the pony.
The Garden Party, hosted by Ruth Lawler, was just another one of great tailgates. For her, the annual polo match is a great way to reunite with old friends from all different times in her life. “I have more friends come each year,” she said. With everyone dressed in floral designs, dozens of bouquets in vases, and classic garden party food, Lawler’s party was a success.
Other activities of the day included a good old-fashioned candy toss that had kids jumping for joy as candy was thrown about the field. “The husbands love the candy toss. They love to throw the candy for the kids,” said Lawler.
Others enjoyed watching riders parade fox hounds around the field during an exciting half-time event. “They’re so cute,” remarked one excited attendee at just the prospect of seeing the dogs.
This year’s polo match once again proved to be not only a great example of sportsmanship and community, but also a huge amount of fun for attendees and tailgaters. Though it is unknown whether any attendees were inspired enough to take up the sport of polo themselves, it is certain that they did have a fantastic time.