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English Women take US Ladies to School

A talented US team fails to organize an effective attack in a 7-2 loss to a formidable English foursome.

Match Report by Alex Webbe
Images by Sheryel Aschfort




Team USA Women - 6

Melissa Ganzi - A
Tiffany Busch - 1.5
Sunny Hale - 3
Gillian Johnston
- 1.5


Team UK Women - 7

Hazel Jackson - 1
Sarah Wiseman - 1
Nina Clarkin - 4
Claire Donnelly - 1


The English women were clicking on all fronts Sunday afternoon at the Grand Champions Polo Club in Wellington as they rolled to a 7-2 win over a struggling U. S. team.

The team’s four-goal captain, Nina Clarkin, took command from the time she rode onto the field and led a well-coordinated charge for all four chukkers.

“The girls played very well today,” she offered after the match. “They did everything they were asked to do.”

England's Nina Clarkin gets off a shot on goal despite pressure from Sunny Hale, right, and Gillian Johnston, back, for Team USA.

Nina scored the first goal of the game on a long run followed by a goal from teammate Sarah Wiseman. The English were ferocious on defense, shutting out the Americans in the opening chukker for a 2-0 start.

“It felt quite comfortable with then on the field,” said Nina of her teammates. “For years the English women’s team was the same old lineup, but it was wonderful to play with three young and talented players,” she added.  

Claire Donnelly opened the second chukker with a goal from the field before Sunny Hale finally got the U. S. team on the scoreboard with a penalty conversion, but they trailed 3-1 and there was no let up by the English. Sarah Wiseman struck again with two more goals and the chukker ended with England riding a 5-1 lead.


Team USA, from left, Melissa Ganzi, Gillian Johnston, Sunny Hale and Tiffany Busch.

Penalties seemed to be the only offense that the U. S.  team could muster, with Sunny Hale converting another 30-yard penalty shot. Sarah Wiseman scored her fourth goal of the game to end the period with a four goal English advantage, 6-2. 

A disciplined English lineup continued to set the pace with Claire Donnelly scoring the final goal of the game in the 7-2 win.

Sarah Wiseman and Hazel Jackson spoke glowingly of the leadership of Clarkin on the field.

“She makes it so easy to do your job,” said Wiseman. “You know exactly what she wants and you do it.”

“After all, she’s four-goals,” Hazel added. “You had better listen to what she says,” she laughed.

Sarah Wiseman led all scoring with four goals (one on penalty shot) and received MVP honors for her efforts. Claire Donnelly added two goals and Nina Clarkin scored once.


Sunny Hale accounted for both of the U. S. goals in a losing effort.

Rapsodia, a six-year-old Bay mare played by Nina Clarkin and owned by Melissa Ganzi was named Best Playing Pony.     




 Grand Champions Polo Club