Cheshire Polo Club can claim through a ‘direct line of succession’ to be the oldest polo club in England. It has been under its present name only since 1957 – a brief period in polo terms – but is actually an amalgamation of three much older clubs; Manchester (founded in 1872), Wirral (1885) and Bowdon (1891). Manchester, one of the very first in the British Isles, was founded by the Cholmondeley family, more recent representatives of whom were leading English players. In 1877, the Club moved to Trafford Park, Manchester, following a revival by the 18th Hussars, and came back into the county of Cheshire – to grounds at Ashley – in 1906. The annual subscription in those days, it might be noted was ten guineas.
At Ashley, Manchester Polo Club amalgamated with Bowdon and in 1939, having transferred to Oulton, Little Budworth, grounds joined forces with Wirral Polo Club. The name of Manchester Polo Club, as the oldest of three, was retained. That final amalgamation came to the start of the last season before the outbreak of the Second World War. Post-war austerity and other factors painted a gloomy picture for the survival of polo but, thanks to enthusiasts such as the late Micky Moseley and Francis Spiegelberg, the club was revived under its present name in time for the 1951 season. It now has five grounds – at Little Budworth and on the estate of the patron, Sebastian de Ferranti at Henbury.
Many links with the past are retained and valued at Cheshire Polo Club. One of the top trophies is the Cheshire Champion Cup, presented originally to Liverpool Club, by lady members, in 1911. Cheshire is also the home of the Junior County Cup, first presented by Blackmore Vale Polo Club in 1905 and now one of the oldest surviving civilian tournaments. There are also links, through Wirral Polo Club, with one of the greatest pre-war dynasties, the Locketts. Colonel Vivian Lockett (1880 – 1962), was a 10 goal player and a member of the celebrated ’Big Four’ 17th 21st Lancers team. He was four times a member of the England team contesting the Westchester Cup, including 1914, our last victory until 1997.
Cheshire Polo Club today has over 75 playing members and is a well known playground for the rich and famous, in the months from May to September, sportsmen and women from around the world head to England to play the summer season.