|Sat 28th Oct 2017|
Chile and Argentina in Main Final
XI FIP World Polo Championships
Today Saturday 28 October, Polo Times were on the sidelines as the ’Super Saturday’ at Sydney Polo Club saw an epic four matches played to determine which teams would make it through to the Finals which are due to be played tomorrow.
Somewhat patchy weather in Sydney recently cleared today as the sun shone on the players, members of the public and the massive turnout of the Australian polo community who have descended on the Sydney Polo Club for the Championships. With over 270 horses being generously lent by a list reading like the ‘Who’s Who’ of Australian polo, the great and the good were out to see the amazing ponies being showcased, and to take up the rare opportunity to gather together and celebrate the sport.
The first match of the day was between New Zealand and India. The consensus from the sidelines was that India had improved with every game that they have played, and today they did not disappoint; well and truly ditching the ‘gentleman’s game’ they had come to the Championships with, to front up to New Zealand and give them a good run for their money. However, the kiwis held form and clinched the victory.
Second up, as the temperature rose, so did the action on the Supremo Field as Spain took on the USA. Despite valiant attempts to shake the American defence, Spain were unable to make or hold ground and ended up conceding defeat with a somewhat conclusive 15 to 9½scoreline. “The USA is a tough team and well organised” conceded the Spain Coach, Benjamin Araya, “…to win you have to be good for the full time and not just a couple of chukkas”.
Then it was over to the International Field where it was the time for the British team to take on reigning champions, Chile. Due to some FIP algorithms which seemed to have everybody baffled, England had to beat Chile by a margin of five goals to secure a place in the Final, however, win or lose Chile had a place in the Final.
As the game started, Peter Webb scored from a penalty, but despite this, England seemed to be somewhat slow to start. The game was heavily laden with whistle from the off which saw Satnam Dhillon yellow carded for umpire chat back due to team frustrations with the seemingly incessant whistle. Despite this, by the end of the second chukka, Dhillon had rediscovered his rhythm, scoring a spectacular goal and dominating the play with apparent ease. England woke up and were well into the game so that at half-time it was all to play for with England up 5 goals to Chile’s 4. So it continued into the second half, with England looking like they may be able even to stretch the lead to the necessary five goal margin, but as the bell sounded for the end of the fifth chukka the score was 7-5 to England. A great result, but bafflingly not enough to secure the Brits a place in the Final.
Then it was the turn of Australia to do battle with Argentina. As the crowds gathered, the USA team were (secretly) supporting the Australian team because if the Aussies won by a margin of more than three goals it would mean the Argentinians would be out of the Final and the USA would have a place. Confused? We all were, the Aussie polo cognoscenti were too…
And so to the last match of the day. Battling for the last place in the Final, Argentina (who due to a team change having a half goal advantage) displayed the play that had been so effective so far in the tournament, playing to the man and viewing the ball as a secondary concern. However, Australia came out on fire, well and truly ‘meet and greeting’ the Argentinians with great play in the first chukka. Of particular note was the young 22-year-old James Lester playing with verve and talent to score a spectacular goal in the second chukka. But his luck was not to last as he collided with the goal post and was unable to continue to play. He was substituted by Dan O’Leary, who seemed to be somewhat overawed by the occasion. Picking up a yellow card for over attendance to the brilliant Valentin Novillo Astrada he struggled to fill Lester’s boots, only finding his rhythm towards the end of the game when it was a case of too little too late. Despite such an encouraging start, Australia lost out to Argentina by a definitive 9-5½ margin.
After today’s frenetic multi-match polo action with algorithm goal margin and qualifier fun Finals Day, tomorrow, Sunday 29 October will see the culmination of the FIP World Championships with the following teams due to play
11am: England vs USA (InternationalField) – for third and fourth place
3pm: Chile vs Argentina (International Field) – for first and second place
XI FIP World Polo Championships Teams:
New Zealand (14): Adam Haworth (2), Guy Higginson (5), Glen Sheriff (5) & Jonny Jones (2)
India (14): HH Padmanabh Singh (2), Angad Kalaan (4), Col Ravi Rathore (5) & Siddant Sharma (3)
Spain (13): Jaime Serra Diez (2), Mario Gomez (4), Pelayo Berazadi Rozpide (5) & José Trenor (2)
USA (14): Matias Gonzalez (2), Jesse Bray (5), Felipe Viana (5) & Jimmy Wright (2)
Chile (14): Jose Ignacio Martinez (2), Jose Zegers (5), Andes Vial Pieres (3) & Jose Miguel Pereira Riesco (4)
England (14): Ed Banner Eve (2), Satnam Dhillon (5), Henry porter (2) & Peter Webb (5)
Argentina (15): Lucio Fernandez Ocampo (2), Hector Guerrero (5), Valentin Novillo Astrada (5) & Tomas Panelo (3)
Australia (14): James Lester (3), George Hill (2), Jack Archibald (5) & Jake Daniels (4)
Photograph: England defeated rivals Chile today with a score of 7-5, but it was not enough to secure them a place in tomorrow’s Final. Courtesy of FIP