“The main part of my job is scheduling all 36 tournaments played at Cowdray Park Polo Club throughout the season. The role involves a lot of liaising between players, patrons and managers.”
Matt Sim, Assistant Polo Manager at Cowdray Park Polo Club
- Can you describe your role as Assistant Polo Manager at Cowdray Park Polo Club?
The main part of my job is scheduling all 36 tournaments played at Cowdray Park Polo Club throughout the season. The role involves a lot of liaising between players, patrons and managers.
Then I’m often at polo helping make sure the matches run on time. We can have more than one game being played at the same time, or sometimes the games take place between Ambersham and Lawns. I also provide general support to Chris Bethell, the Polo Manager, and Mo de Villiers, the Match-Staff Supervisor.
- Where were you working prior to starting at Cowdray? And what attracted you to work at Cowdray?
I was at university in Chichester and for my last term I worked as a placement in the polo office. I originally started working in the polo office over the winter, but I couldn’t not stay on and experience the thrills and spills of the summer season!
When I was at university, I’d come to polo regularly particularly during the Gold Cup to watch the games. I thought Cowdray would be an interesting place to work as there are so many different aspects to the Estate.
- What are you most looking forward to during this season of polo?
The semi-finals day of the Gold Cup is my favourite day as you experience two fantastic matches of polo, and the atmosphere is electric.
Throughout the season, it’s always great to see good games of polo from the low goal all the way up to the high goal and we’ve already been treated to some incredible matches in the Duke of Sutherland Cup and the Dollar Cup this year.
- What has been your most memorable moment while you have been working here?
I’d have to say when the all English team of El Remanso won the Gold Cup in 2018.
They managed to beat one of the favourite teams to win the tournament in overtime in the semi-final, and then went on to win in the final with just seconds of normal time remaining.
- Have you always been passionate about polo? Do you play the game, or do you ride?
Not really! I grew up in Cheltenham and my parents were firmly anti-horses because of all the traffic race week brought to the area but we did go to watch a couple of polo matches in Cirencester, and thought it was exciting.
Then I came down to West Sussex for university and watched some Gold Cup games and I was hooked. Since I started at Cowdray, I’ve learnt to ride and play a little. I was out in Argentina for eight weeks riding and playing but I still mostly make a fool of myself whenever I’m on a horse!
- Summer must be the busiest time of year in the polo office. What preparations are being made for the Gold Cup?
We recently had the Gold Cup draw at Cowdray House which was a huge success. It was a larger affair than normal because of our association with Boeing Business Jets, and this year our playing members were also invited. We’ve had great feedback on the evening so far. Now that the draw has taken place Chris and I will sit down and work out the playing schedule; then it all gets going on 27th June.
- What are you most looking forward to on Golf Cup final day?
The final day is always a great display of what Cowdray can do and you get to see a fantastic game of polo on one of the best fields in the county.
- Do you know many of the players and patrons?
I do, due to the nature of my job. Although I’m not sure I’m the favourite contact in their phone when I end up calling them 10 times in a day!
- You love your dog Hibou. Tell us about her, and does she come to work with you?
She’s a little legend, she’s two and a half, was a lockdown pup and now comes to work with me every day. She’s a classic Labrador, eats anything she can, loves the water and her favourite places are Brooksfield or Ambersham Common.
- Where is your favourite place on the Estate?
Ambersham Common is one of my favourite places as you can walk for hours up there, and my dog loves it too.
- What do you like to do in your spare time?
When I manage to get away, skiing is my ultimate pastime but I’m also a keen sailor. I sail from Bosham in Chichester Harbour and it’s a stunning spot to get away to even just for a day. I’m also into squash but it’s getting towards too hot for squash now!
Written by Matilda ReidBack to News