Visiting the Oldest Polo Club in Europe
Treading on to the grounds of the Malta Polo Club gave me an immediate sense of awe, although the club doesn’t look too spectacular these days, it holds so much history that makes it a special place. It is the oldest Polo Club in Europe, even older than the Hurlingham club in England and the second oldest in the world after the first polo club was founded in India (check out a bit more polo history in this blog post).
Although the grounds are hard and more like an arena than a polo field, I still had a fun little runabout and stick and ball session with Martin, one of the pros and instructors from the Malta Polo Club.
The sport was first introduced to Malta circa 1868 by the British Army Officers who were stationed in Malta and those officers who were either on their way to or returning home from India. The Calvary regiments together with the officers of the Mediterranean fleet of the Royal Navy were the first teams to play on Maltese soil.
Several members within the Royal Family have played Polo in Malta. Most noteworthy: Edward VIII, when he was still Prince of Wales, the Duke of Edinburgh and Prince Charles himself. King Alfonso of Spain was also a famous player of the Malta Polo Club and presented the club with the King of Spain Cup in 1928. The King of Spain Cup is still played for annually.
I also had a moment to chat with two of the members, Caroline Lockwood and Matthew Brincat.
The Malta Polo Club currently relies on membership participation to promote and run the Club. The Committee is elected in an Annual General meeting when elections are held for eligible members to sit on the committee. The Committee meets frequently to discuss current issues, future projects and the general day to day running of the Club. The Argentinian “asado” steakhouse Chukkas contributes to running the club and attracts many locals.
Polo is Officially played between October and June on Wednesdays and Saturdays however the polo Academy is offering tuition and club chukkas 365 days a year. Pony Rentals can be organised with the Polo Academy. Thirteen Cups are played for annually ending up with the Cawnpore Cup which is played for by the eight members with the highest handicap.
Malta is a beautiful little island, with so much soul, culture and history, not to mention the 350+ days of sunshine per year, this little gem of an island is definitely worth a visit. The perfect place for a little weekend getaway, join their Saturday chukkers, have dinner at the Chukkas restaurant and chill out on Sunday. Sounds like the perfect weekend to me.