The History of Taunton Vale Polo Club
The following excerpt is taken from The Club Official Handbook -1939:
When two keen polo players find themselves in a district, no matter where it may be, in which polo is not played, one maybe sure that their first action is to try to get six or more others to join up, and then start their favourite game.
Thus, when Mr., J.C. de Las Casas, one of the well-known Tiverton team of brothers, and Major Jones Mortimer came to Taunton and met out hunting in the winter of 1910-1911 it was not long before a meeting was called to discuss the formation of a Polo Club, and in February, 1911, the Taunton Vale Polo Club originated. After careful examination of various localities, an old pasture field, situated at Orchard Portman, 2 miles from Taunton was selected, a small wooden hut was erected for the use of the players only, and a groundsman engaged for three afternoons a week at a salary of 10/-.
The Hon. H.B. Portman became the first President, and Mr. C. Leslie Fox the first secretary, shortly succeeded by Mr. F. Bradshaw. Some twenty playing members gave the Club a good start off, including five Officers from the Depot, Somerset Light Infantry.
Tournaments which were started in 1912 proved a great success and improved the quality of the local Polo; in 1913 the Taunton Vale Team was successful in the Ward Jackson Cup (Blackmore Vale), the Portman Challenge Cup, the Houldsworth Cub, and the West Somerset (Dunster) Junior Cup.
The War of course brought Polo to an end; but the Club was revived in 1920, and a second ground secured adjoining the first. The latter, in addition to its picturesque surroundings, and thanks to the unremitting care of Secretaries and groundsmen, has now become one of the best in England. Thanks to the mat of old grass it rarely becomes at all slippery and is also quickly drying after rain.
The Club has been exceptionally fortunate in the gentlemen who have so kindly acted as honourary Secretaries and who have directed their whole hearted attention to the enjoyment of players and spectators and the improvement of the ground.
To the regret of all, the Exeter Club this season is in abeyance owing to the mechanization of the Gunners there. Our relations with them have always been of the happiest, and for several years past, most enjoyable matches have been fought out between the two Clubs.
The Taunton Vale Polo Club, specially cares for players from abroad, who are always welcome, and in this connection we would like to mention several players from the Sudan who most sportingly, have come here on leave for the last two seasons.
Last summer a start was made in Ladies’ Polo, playing amongst themselves and great keenness was shown under qualified instructors, who kindly gave their services.
More Recent History:
When reading the 1939 excerpt it is striking how much is still true and how the Club has developed. We still play for the same TVPC cups, TVPC still attracts and welcomes visitors from abroad and our Ladies now form a very strong nucleus of players in "mixed" polo and in Ladies polo. The Club continues to be exceptionally fortunate in the gentlemen who have acted as officers of the Club. Sir Henry Farrington will be long remembered. In 2005 previous long serving Chairman Jeremy Barber and an equally long serving Polo Manager Anthony Trollope-Bellew were elected honourary Members.