07/28/2003 at 12:00 AM EDT
Prince Harry took another step forward in his athletic career this weekend at the prestigious Cartier International Polo event in Windsor by leading a victory for the Prince of Wales team -- named for his father.
Harry's team squared off against Hurlingham in the Golden Jubilee Trophy at the event. Though this was considered a warmup for the internationally regarded Coronation Cup that was held later in the day, the match was a high-spirited affair with the 18-year-old Harry playing on the field for the first time.
"It was the first step for him into this particular world," says Jim Hilston, Cartier polo commentator for the last 10 years. "His polo has improved enormously in the past year or two. He's getting into very competitive polo. But he's not afraid of big events."
Harry scored a key goal for his side as the team went into the final period with a nail-biting 8-8 tie in the final seconds -- before Hurlingham managed to have two consecutive umpire calls against them that led to open goal penalty shots.
The first went wide, but the second ended it with a victory for the Prince of Wales side -- leading many in the stands to grumble good-naturedly that the royal fix was on.
"No, absolutely not" Hilston said emphatically. "Believe me if Harry ever felt that, he would be incensed."
At that point little was left to do but head off to a champagne lunch and talk of matters polo-related and not. "I don't know the first thing about the game," socialite (and obvious Harry fan) Tara Palmer-Tomkinson tells PEOPLE. "But he's just lovely, don't you think?"