BUMPER crowds flocked to Sandbanks yesterday for the start of the two-day Asahi British Beach Polo Championships.

The event, now in its seventh year, attracts star players from the British polo circuit and has fast become a summer favourite on Poole’s sporting and social calendar.

Gates opened at 1pm with the first polo match starting two hours later.

Ahead of the champ-ionships, organiser Johnny Wheeler told the Echo: “The high-light this year is the highest standard of teams that has ever been in a beach polo competition.”

Team Scotland is being captained by Chris Hyde, Europe’s best arena player.

Jack Kidd, supported by his sister Jodie – who is currently on our television screens fighting for the culinary title of celebrity masterchef champion – is also playing at Sandbanks again this year.

He said: “The polo is insanely competitive, the audience is great and the beach parties are simply the best.”

To celebrate its fifth year at the event, the Oakley International Beach Volleyball will see Team GB play the Australian Olympians in a two match series, concluding with the second match at 4.30pm today.

Polo players competing in teams representing England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales will go head-to-head again today, before the aftershow party wraps things up tonight.

Guests have been able to enjoy the popular Sandpolo Hospitality tent, a fashion show and food village so far.

Today’s events not only include more polo and beach volleyball, but also a pony versus an Audi 4x4 charity race and ‘have-a-go polo’ in the arena.