|Wed 29th Mar 2017|
Dubai Challenge Cup
Yesterday, Tuesday 28 February, the Semi Finals of the Dubai Challenge Cup were played at the Al Habtoor Polo Resort & Club.
In the first match of the day, Bin Drai appeared to have learnt from their mistakes made in their previous qualifying match against Mahra and put in a solid performance which secured them a place in the Final on Friday 31 March. Both teams were tied in the third chukka with a 6-6 score, but Bin Drai began to pull ahead and eventually defeated Mahra 13-10, with both Bin Drai’s Raúl Laplacette and Mahra’s Jerónimo del Carril named as top goal scorers, with 6 goals apiece.
The second match of the afternoon was lower scoring, but no less thrilling. Habtoor Polo, featuring young Brit Tommy Beresford, had a tough battle on their hands to defeat the tenacious Wolves and until the third chukka there was little activity on the scoreboard as both teams locked down their opposition’s attacks on goal. However, Habtoor built upon their marginal lead and by the final whistle led 8-4.
This result means that the 2017 finalists for The Dubai Challenge Cup will be exactly the same as the 2016 finalists which saw Bin Drai narrowly defeat Habtoor 8-7 – will Bin Drai be able to retain the trophy?
Dubai Challenge Cup Final Teams:
Bin Drai (18): Saeed Bin Drai (0), Gregorio Gelosi (4), Raúl Laplacette (6) & Fran Elizalde (8)
Habtoor (18): Mohammed Al Habtoor (0), Tommy Beresford (4), Juan Zubiaurre (5) & Nicolas Pieres (9)
Photograph: Bin Drai vs Mahra. By Gonzalo Etcheverry-DPGC2017
Tue 28th Mar 2017
Over the 24 – 25 March, Polo Wicklow hosted a SUPA Tri-Nations tournament, which saw England, Ireland and Scotland compete to take home the title. Polo Times heard from Alice Walsh, part of the SUPA England team, “The teams played against each other twice over the two days, adding pressure to each chukka. The level of polo was so clean that it meant the umpire only interrupted the game a couple of times per chukka. On the first day, Friday 24 March, England started the tournament against Scotland. There were plenty of tough ride-offs as the Scottish showed off their strong riding abilities, however we managed to win 4-½, setting us up nicely for the next day. Afterwards, we played Ireland and we won 4-1 in an open game with plenty of clean runs back and forth down the arena.
“On the second day, each team fought extremely hard and the level of polo stepped up even further. Our first game against Scotland was great to play, James Whiteford defended well shutting us down whenever we tried to get away. The Final between England and Ireland was incredibly tense. Ireland had a strong, well-rounded team that worked like clockwork and being on their home ground, the crowd was cheering them on. Two penalties executed beautifully by Jock Thompson, alongside three field goals brought the Irish up to a dangerous 5 goals against 6 with two minutes to go. It was a nail-biting experience, however I scored a penalty shot which was shortly followed by a lovely nearside backhand by Sam Boreham to secure the win for England, 7-6. Team England maintained a high level of effort which shone over the days.” Full team lists plus more details from the weekend will be included in the May issue of Polo Times.
Photograph: SUPA Tri-Nations at Polo Wicklow. Courtesy of SUPA
Mon 27th Mar 2017
USPA Gold Cup Win for Tournament Favourites
Valiente have performed strongly throughout the 26 goal tournament at International Polo Club Palm Beach and made short work of their opponents Orchard Hill in the Semi Finals; meanwhile Coca Cola narrowly defeated Audi in the Semi Finals to face the mighty and as yet undefeated Valiente for the Final on Sunday 26 March.
As the action commenced, Valiente’s dominance was well and truly questioned as Coca Cola came out with all guns blazing in the first chukka to secure a quick 2-0 lead. Coca Cola continued to do an effective job containing Matias Zavaleta up front and not allowing world number one Adolfo Cambiaso to be unmarked at any time, but foul trouble allowed Valiente to make their way back into the game, meaning they were still in the game 5-3 at half-time.
Valiente emerged from the break invigorated and systematically began to seize control as Cambiaso led the charge with his usual flamboyance scoring from the 60 yard line. Cavanagh, the leading goal scorer of the tournament, joined the attack notching up four goals and inching Valiente ahead. Quiet for most of the game, when it counted Zavaleta turned on the after burners to scorch past the entire Coca Cola team and score, giving Valiente a three goal lead that could not be eroded. So, after a thrilling Final, Valiente secured victory with a score of 9-6.
Valiente are therefore undefeated in the 26 goal this season. Having already won the C.V. Whitney and now the USPA Gold Cup, all eyes are on them to see if they can secure the US Open and with it the US Triple Crown. Can they make it a hat trick? Current form would suggest they can. To keep up with the action, follow the latest from Polo Times. Not a subscriber? Click here
USPA Gold Cup Final Teams:
Valiente (26): Bob Jornayvaz (2), Matias Torres Zavaleta (6), Adolfo Cambiaso (10) & Diego Cavanagh (8)
Coca Cola (26): Gillian Johnston (2), Julian de Lussaretta (7), Julio Arellano (8) & Miguel Novillo Astrada (9)
Photograph: Valiente secure victory of the USPA Gold Cup by defeating Coca Cola in a 9-6 victory. By ©David Lominska/IPC