|Fri 27th Nov 2015|
England Miss Out on Manipur Final
Home-side India to Play USA
The England team have missed out on a spot in the Final of the 9th Manipur Polo International after a mixed bag of results throughout their games. The Final will be played on Saturday 29 November at the historic ground in Imphal, between the home team India and the USA. England’s first game was on Tuesday against Australia who they defeated with a close score of 9-7, however their second game was less triumphant as India defeated them with a cricket score of 12-3 the following day. On Thursday 26 November, the line-up of Mikey Howe (4), Dave Allen (4), Marcus Hancock (2) and Jack Aldridge (-2) took on and triumphed against Thailand with a final score of 9-2, but their last game in the tournament ended in a draw against the 10 goal USA team.
All of the teams have been mounted by the Manipur Horse Riding & Polo Association, which was set up in 1977 to revive polo so as to aid the ponies' survival. Therefore, all teams have been playing on Manipuri ponies, for which the International aimed to increase awareness for the plight of the tremendously tough indigenous breed. Typically standing between 11hh and 13hh they are now struggling to survive against the decrease of their natural habitats, due to rapid urbanisation, with numbers as low as only 400 ponies. To find out more about the Manipuri ponies click here to join their Facebook group.
Photograph: Last year the England team were presented with commemorative stamps depicting polo at the Imphal grounds
Thu 26th Nov 2015
Camera de Diputados
British Talent in Prestigious Argentinean Tournament
On Tuesday 24 November the first matches of the Camera de Diputados Cup took place. Outside of the Triple Crown this tournament is one of the most important fixtures in the Argentine polo calendar, with 19 teams made up of Argentina’s most promising players battling it out for the trophy in fast-paced polo. This year, the Argentines will be joined by a record number of British players, with Mark and Luke Tomlinson accompanied by Ollie Cudmore for team La Quinta, and Matt Perry (substituting for the injured Charlie Hanbury, who is back in England recovering from a broken ankle) playing for El Remanso alongside Rodrigo Andrade, Ignacio Du Plessis and Francisco Bensadon, in what could be one of the strongest teams in the tournament. Max Charlton is also making his debut this year, telling Polo Times, “I’m really excited; this has been an ambition for a few years now.” Max is playing for La Cañada Black Hound with Alfredo Bigatti, Juan Britos and Mariano Obregón.
The qualifying matches proved a mixed bag for the Brits. Both Perry and Charlton won their matches, with La Cañada Black Hound defeating Namuncurá, 14-11, and El Remanso beating Power Horse by 14 goals to 10, putting them in a strong position for the following challenges. However, La Quinta could not overcome Cuatro Vientos and lost by one goal, 12-11.
The qualifiers continue Friday 27 November in what should be more action packed and exciting matches.
Photograph: Matt Perry blasts past the competition to goal for El Remanso. By Katie Vickery
Thu 26th Nov 2015
Day Two of the Argentine Open
Wins for Ellerstina and La Aguada Las Monjitas
As the Zone B matches got underway at the HSBC Argentine Open, spectators were treated to two exciting matches one after the other on Tuesday 24 November. First up, newcomers to the competition Washington Ghantoot played the more experienced Ellerstina. Despite a strong start from the enthusiastic Washington side, Ellerstina’s patience and experience won out, ultimately winning them the game. Washington, having come out all guns blazing, were up 7-6 at half-time having led throughout, breaking through the Ellerstina defence. However by the sixth chukka, pony power came in to play and it was clear that Washington just couldn’t keep up with the superiority of their opposition’s mounts. Ellerstina caught up quickly before taking the lead and eventually winning the game 14-10. Despite the win, the tough match was costly to Gonzalo Pieres whose fall in the fifth chukka resulted in a suspected collarbone fracture. Despite apparent pain and being grounded for several minutes he carried on, only to have his mare Future la Karateka injured in the last chukka just minutes before the end of the game, leaving the field lame on the right fore. Tears were shed by the 10 goaler, fearing the worst, but like all world-class athletes, the show went on and he played the final few minutes of the match helping to bring his team to victory. The extent of the injuries to both horse and rider are, as yet, undisclosed.
Next up was a match that made history. Chapaleufú rode out on to Ground One of Palermo for the first time since 1999, marking 30 years of Argentine Opens for Alberto Jnr. and brother Eduardo Heguy, who first took part in the prestigious tournament in 1985. Sadly victory was not to be for the widely respected all-Heguy team, who were defeated by La Aguada Las Monjitas in the final stages of a close and exciting match. Neck and neck right to the end, the game was fast and open and could have been anyone’s. Two last-minute goals sealed the deal and saw La Aguada Las Monjitas ride off victorious from their first Argentine Open match of 2015.
The unpredictable weather forecasts will determine whether weekend matches remain on schedule or if further postponements will lead to more disruption.
Photograph: Facundo Pieres goes for a big hook. By Matias Callejo