A Haddington woman was celebrating as she was named Most Valuable Player and guided her team to a World Cup victory. . . in elephant polo!

Samantha Prentice scored all 27 goals and secured a triumph for her team, the Tigresses, at the tournament at Tiger Tops, Nepal, last month.

The 45-year-old was in outstanding form as she was named the tournament’s MVP, and Samantha’s success represents the culmination of many years of hard work to win the top prize.

She finished third in 2013 and second the previous year, but has now claimed the title.

The unusual sport largely follows the same rules as polo, but sees competitiors swap horses for elephants, with the sides swapping animals at half-time to ensure victory is not decided by who has the better elephant.

And Samantha’s success is the second in the family – her husband Peter is a former world champion, while he is also the current chairman of the World Elephant Polo Association.

And Peter was keen to pay tribute to the efforts of both finalists, as well as the companies involved with the competition.

He told the Courier: “We would like to thank Tiger Tops, Equestrio and EFG Bank for their support of the World Elephant Polo Association (WEPA), and for their sponsorship of Sam and the Tigresses team.

“Credit to the Magpies Ladies team from Australia, who were very tough competitors [in the final] and played out of their skin. They were worthy finalists, having beaten James Manclark and myself in the semi-finals.” Meanwhile, Samantha was quick to praise the efforts of her team-mates and keen to share the success with them.

She told the Courier: “I am a bit embarrassed really because they [team-mates] are all good friends and great team-mates. I am in a lucky position that I get to score the goals but it was a real team effort.” And the 45-year-old explained her reasons for getting involved in the sport, which has strong ties with East Lothian, with one of the founding members living in the county.

James Manclark is a former Team GB Winter Olympian, competing in the luge in the 1968 Games in Grenoble, and only announced his retirement from elephant polo this year, at the impressive age of 75.

The sport has raised more than £600,000 for elephant welfare charities, and the elephants competing in the World Cup remain in their natural environment.

For more information about Elephant Polo, search ‘World Elephant Polo Association’ on Facebook, or visit www.elephantpolo.com