" Cirencester Park is the oldest Polo Club in England, and also where the present Royal Highness' Prince's Charles, William and Harry are members and players. In the start to the English polo season the club hosts a 0-40 Goal Open Tournament at its infamous Ivy Lodge grounds of Cirencester Park in Gloucestershire.
This years winners of a two week long tournament for the first time were the Indian backed Red Lion's Polo Team, a team set up by the young reclusive property multi-millionaire Kumar Ajitsingh Medtia, playing with Kuldeep Dhillon, Satnam Dhillon and Oliver Taylor.
Medtia who comes from the former princely state of Idar and the town of Jamla in Gujarat, and is a descendant of the Rathore rajputs from Jodhpur, has been successfully established in the United Kingdom in the commercial property world. His marriage in 1995 to Princess Shruti Kumari from Karauli, in Jaipur, was featured in the National Geographical Magazine and widely reported in the UK press and he has been enthused by the "Sport of Kings" from a young age. He said after the tournament that "it was a dream come true".
After their hard fought games in the quarter finals and the semi-finals where they beat teams with higher Polo handicaps their achievements are all the more notable, as in their wake they left behind some of the biggest names in the English Polo scene, players who play for England like Jamie Le Hardy, Oliver Hipwood, Jason Dixon, James Beim, Roddy Williams, James Harper all fought hard against the Red Lions to no veil.
With thrilling end-to-end matches on glorious polo grounds at Cirencester, described as the best grounds in the world, the team battled as under dogs in their games.
In brilliant summer sunshine the Red Lion's team pivoted around Oliver Taylor probably the best 5 Goal playing professional in England and the talented Satnam Dhillon a British-Indian 5 Goal player, the team played to scale new heights each round of the tournament never letting their heads down.
The semi-final on Friday proved a gigantic struggle with Red Lion's beating Oliver Twist,one of the favourites by only half a goal being 4 behind on handicap. Playing against a top flight trio of Jamie Le Hardy, Jason Dixon and Guy Watson the South African professional. Both Ajit and Kuldeep stuck to the tasks of marking their men and defending in line outs and set plays, committing vertually no fouls in a hard fought and brusing encounter. "That was one of the toughest bad tempered games I've played in" commented Medtia after the game.
The final brought with it good fortune and truly a day to be proud of our Indian trio and our honourary Indian Oliver Taylor, who has been playing in India for the last 3 seasons. The first two chukkas saw the Red Lions playing Eastington in the final surge forward and go in with a 3 goal lead at half time, but their luck started to run out in the 3rd chukka, as technical fouls were awarded against them and the Argentine professional Guillermo Cuitino proved why many of the worlds best players come from Argentina as he pulled his team to within a one goal difference.
Tense moments were abound in the final chukka, with end to end action at the famous Ivy Lodge Ground with spectators neutral and local giving support to the under dog Indian Team. The Eastington 6 Goaler Roddy Williams was now becoming a huge force in the midfield as the game got to 9-8 to Red Lions.
With 4 minutes left from the line out with 8 horses crowded, sweating and pushing each other, Medtia managed to push his stick and pass the ball literally 20 yards, and with a blistering pace of speed from his best pony Oliver Taylor took the ball from the half way line, with Satnam and Kuldeep charging down the defenders either side of Taylor not allowing anyone to get near him, Taylor tapped the ball in the air at high speed and scored a match winning goal. It was team play like this all fortnight that made Red Lions victorious, as they cruised home in the end by 11-8 against a higher handicapped team.
The prize presentations were carried out by Major Nicholas Musgrave and D.Brown Esq. and Princess Shruti Kumari Medtia from the former princely state of Karauli, Rajasthan wife of Ajitsingh, the Major who commented how well mannered and sporting the Red Lions team had been throughout the tournament, also noted "it had been a long time since we had an Indian win".