History

Devereux Milburn
America's Secretary of Defense

In 1909 Devereux Milburn played in his first international match with Harry Payne Whitney, Lawrence Waterbury and Monte Waterbury on what would come to be known as the Big Four.

They beat the British for the first time in 1909, returning the Westchester Cup to America for the first time in history. This foursome would go on to defend the cup in 1911 and 1913, never losing a game. More importantly, the interaction between Whitney and Milburn on the field introduced a revolutionary style of play, which made the game more exciting for players and spectators alike.

No longer would the back play deep in his own end of the field. Milburn and Whitney interchanged the back and No. 3 positions with regularity as the back often carried the ball through on attack as the No. 3 covered the back position. Considered the normal practice today, the concept changed the game. The practice was carried over to the other players and positions, freeing up the game and allowing for a flow that allowed players to be consistently moving and interchanging positions throughout the game.

His introduction of the nearside backhand shot was only surpassed by his ability to drive the ball deeply into the opponent’s end of the field in a single shot from either side of his horse, and his knowledge of the game was unsurpassed.

When he retired from international competition in 1927, following his seventh appearance in Westchester Cup competition and another successful defense of the cup, his record in international play stood at 12-2.


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