The death of Dick Hobson at the age of 93 marks the passing of another distinguished pre-war player. He joined the 12th Lancers in Egypt in 1930, having won The Saddle at Sandhurst, and soon made his mark on the polo field.
Such was the competition in those days that the mental team arrived separately, wearing dark glasses and stretched out in the back of a shooting brake, driven by another officer to avoid the stress of a crowded street. The stress, which was considerable, came later on the polo field.
On return to England, the 12th Lancers with Hobson, Dick McCreery, later to be Gen Sir Richard, Andrew Horsburgh-Porter, and George Kidston won the inter-regimental in 1936. After the war, Dick Hobson transferred to command the 3rd Hussars based at Bielefeld in Germany.
He, with Tony Sangar, late PAVO, were the leading players at the time and pretty terrifying he was too. Newly joined subalterns were shouted at or mown down: you learned quickly in that school.
Hobson continued his involvement in Army polo when stationed at Tidworth coaching a highly successful Queen’s Own Hussars team to many inter-regimental victories; their only setback being a surprise defeat by 3 RHA.
After a distinguished career in the Army, Dick became an instructor in riding and polo in the States and then finally retired to Yorkshire. It was entirely appropriate that he was invited to write The Game of Polo in the series of riders’ guides published by JA Allen as he always maintained that good riding was the first and most essential ingredient for any player. The book which he brought up to date was republished in 1993.
His death marks another milestone along a path which has shaped the modern game but not perhaps in the way he envisaged. He was one of the old school.