The Trophies of Brandywine:
Brandywine Polo Club has a very rich tradition of high quality polo. We hold many matches and tournaments throughout the year which culminate in our two historic tournaments the Gerald Balding and the Polo Ponies Memorial. These two tournaments are traditionally held in late August to early September on back to back weeks so North East teams can spend a couple of weeks at Brandywine on their way to Aiken and Florida for the winter season.
The Gerald Balding Trophy
The Gerald Balding Tournament dates back to 1958, and is eponymously named for the great English player of early 20th century. Gerald Balding was born in 1909 and was the last British 10 goal player. He captained the British national polo team in 1936 and 1938. Gerald and his two brothers, Ivor and Barney, played in the United States throughout the golden age of polo in the 1920’s and 30’s, mostly at the famous Meadowbrook Polo Club on Long Island. The Gerald Balding tournament has traditionally been our most difficult trophy to win. A list of past winners can be found here and makes very interesting reading as it includes a large number of the great players and teams at Brandywine and the East Coast.
The Polo Ponies Memorial Trophy
On a hot, sunny afternoon in 1966, lightning struck the elegant clubhouse and lit it ablaze. From there two nearby stables containing 27 horses also caught fire. Bob Connors, the manager of the club at the time, went into the barns and managed to bring 9 horses out safely. Another seven were seriously burned and required treatment at nearby New Bolton Center but tragically 18 horses perished. The community banded together to support Brandywine Polo in the weeks after the fire and on July 17 over 5,000 people came to watch the inaugural "Polo Ponies Memorial" match. The cars were bumper to bumper going up the drive to see the fast-paced action. Proceeds from this polo match helped the club rebuild the barns, this time out of fire resistant concrete cinder block. The success of this first match led to the start of the Polo Ponies Memorial Tournament which for the past 48 years has attracted teams from up and down the East Coast to come to Brandywine Polo in August to compete for the silver trophy donated in memory of the ponies that perished in the fire. Sadly a list of the past winners of this trophy no longer exists.