History Uncovered Women’s Polo

Women’s polo: When the war was over, women became a common presence as players. In 1964, Claire Lucas (Tomlinson) played in the Oxford versus Cambridge Varsity Polo Match as the first female player. In 1966 the club had entered her as “Mr Lucas”.  Claire Tomlinson and Lavinia Black lead the crusade to change the way women played polo. Claire’s handicap was higher than many of the men that participated and Lord (John) Cowdray suggested to her that she collect signatures from men to show their support and then request the HPA to consider letting women play in high goal matches.  Claire Tomlinson became the first woman to win the County Cup (1972) and the Queen’s Cup (1979).

When Lavinia Black and Claire Tomlinson, went to Argentina in the 1970s, many men had never even seen a woman play polo!!! In 1991, Claire captained the English team who won the first ever worldwide Ladies‘ International Polo Tournament. She was the highest rated woman polo player in the world at +5-goals and was England’s team coach from 2001-2008. Today of the 765 female polo members registered with the HPA only 20 have a handicap of 1 or above.

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